Protecting Your Dog in Cold Weather

The weather has a profound effect on everyone, even animals that are covered in fur. While fur is a natural protection from the elements for dogs, it just isn’t enough to ensure your pet’s safety. There are some steps that you can take to ensure that your dog is safe and warm in cold conditions.

Shelter is a crucial aspect of your pet’s safety. If you have to put your pet outside on cold days, it is important to make the outings relatively brief. Those who keep their dogs outside all year long should create a very sturdy shelter for their pets to use to protect them from the elements.

Don’t underestimate the power of nature. Even dogs that are bred for colder climates require shelter during the winter months. Creating a well insulated doggie dwelling is the ideal approach for keeping outside dogs safe and comfortable during the cold months. While you may be tempted to create a very large doghouse, the most effective ones are just big enough for your dog to lie down, stand and turn around in comfort.

Food and water are also crucial aspects of the wellbeing of an outside dog in the winter months. Even indoor pets require extra attention in this realm during the cold months. Well-fed, well-watered pets are more apt to hold up to cold conditions than ones that are running on empty.

Never rely on snow for hydrating your pet. This may seem like common sense but some people actually think that a dog can survive just fine by ingesting snow. However, the snow works in reverse. The pet’s thirst will increase and his body temperature will drop dramatically as he eats more and more snow.

The water also needs to be fresh. Letting the water’s temperature fall too much will put your pet at risk of hypothermia, just as eating snow will. Pets require a lot of attention when it comes to proper hydration in the colder months. A fresh supply of water should always be in quick access for your pet.

Get exercise. This may come as a big surprise to some who think that pets just want to curl up to stay warm. Activity is a great way to raise your pet’s core temperature. Proper winter exercise is a wonderful way to help your animal stay healthy and comfortable in cold temperatures.

Quick Tips

Take care of your pet’s paws. Many may not recognize the dangers posed by snow and ice on their pets’ feet. Ice balls can form between the pads on their paws, making walking painful, especially for dogs that have a lot of hair between their pads. Another consideration to make is cutting the excess hair away to keep the ice balls from forming.

Chemical de-icing can pose problems for paws, too. These elements can make a pet’s paw’s dry and chapped. Severe chapping can lead to bleeding and significant discomfort. Unfortunately, this leads to the natural tendency for the dog to lick his damaged paws. He can ingest too much of the chemical, causing nausea and internal irritation.

Never use heat lamps or space heaters to keep your dog warm. Not only is this a potential fire hazard, it also can burn your pet as well. There are heated mats designed specifically for keeping doghouse pets warm and comfortable in safety.

It can be very easy to underestimate the dangers of leaving a pet outside in cold weather. Taking the proper steps to ensure your dog’s comfort and safety is a very important step in having a healthy pet.

Written by Jake Peterson from Oh My Dog Supplies - new dog steps added this week.

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