Keeping Your Pets Warm ... Even Inside
You may believe like many humans do, that dogs and other animals were blessed with God-given coats that keep them comfortable through any kind of weather. But unless you’re talking about an Alaskan Malamute or a Siberian Husky, you’re grossly underestimating just how chilly your little pup can get.
Unfortunately, your canine can’t tell you when he’s cold — at least not with words. The fact is that despite their natural fur coats, most medium-sized and small dogs do get cold in much the same way you do. When you feel a nip in the air, so does your trusty companion. Few breeds tolerate the cold and snow that come with the frigid winters in the north. And even those bred for the cold may not be ready if they’ve lived in a warm climate for a while.
Puppies and senior dogs are even less tolerant of low temperatures. They appreciate a human that prepares them for the outdoors with dog sweaters and coats. And don’t even think about leaving your pooch outside overnight in freezing temperatures. Not only is it illegal in some parts of the country, the consequences can be catastrophic.
It’s Right and It’s Your Job
Keeping your four-legged family members safe and secure is your responsibility. And just as you cover your two-legged children in down coats and sweatshirts, you should treat your dog likewise, with puffy coats or heavy, woolen dog sweaters.
Sure, various breeds can endure different temperatures, so take that into consideration when deciding how long your pup can tolerate the cold. Dogs with short coats don’t cope quite as well as double-coated breeds whose long fur coats shake off water easily. And if healthy, your doggie may not even need a dog sweater like this one until the snow falls. Then consider a snowsuit as an ideal alternative!
Health Matters First
A healthy dog is a happy dog, and happy dogs make for happy puppy parents. Cold weather for extended periods of time actually presents clear dangers to your pooch. Hypothermia is just as dangerous for dogs. It’s characterized by stiff muscles, a slow heat rate and deep breathing, and it ultimately can lead to death.
Another potential health risk of allowing your pup out in the cold for long is frostbite. This isn’t as prevalent for dogs, but can attack paws, tails and ears. Protect those precious limbs with fleece-lined, water-resistant snow booties.
Healthy dogs can usually tolerate the cold a little longer than pooches with prior problems. Ideally, you should take your canine to the vet before cold weather hits each year. Get a clean bill of health before you break out the dog sweaters to ensure puppy safety. Remember that older dogs and those with conditions like diabetes, heart disease or failing kidneys have a much harder time tolerating low temps.
Stay Warm Inside and Out
When you’re cranking up the thermostat, wrapping yourself in heated throws and wearing your fleece jammies, don’t forget that your pooch may be as chilled as you inside the house. That’s at least part of the reason dogs like to climb on your lap: it’s so warm there! Watch your pooch for signs of being uncomfortably cold. Dogs let you know something’s wrong by:
• Barking and whining
• Shaking and shivering
• Acting anxious
• Trying to find hiding places to avoid going out
• Looking for cubbies to crawl into to find some warmth
Well-Fed and Watered
If your breed is cold-weather-bred and lives for the outdoors in winter, he may prefer to spend a few hours outside each day. Keep in mind that he still needs water — water that isn’t frozen! Find a heated water bowl that serves the purpose when your doggie insists on being outside for longer than you. Otherwise, make sure you call him in regularly to warm up and have a drink.
Your dog’s diet also plays a role in staying healthy and warm in cold weather. Some tips include:
• A diet in high-fat provides a better chance of braving cold-winter walks.
• Chondroitin and glucosamine additives help to loosen stiff joints in winter.
• DGP supplements also add another layer of internal protection from the cold.
10 More Tips to Keep Your Dog Warm
Once you’ve taught your dog to wear booties outside in the snow and ice — much like you’ve learned to pull on your own high-heeled boots, consider a few more tips. Make winter an enjoyable time of year, instead of dreading the cold walks and cleanup. For example:
1. After drying your dog’s paws following a winter walk, splash a dash of baby powder on them to help them dry more thoroughly. This way, your pup won’t stay cold inside.
2. Avoid salted walkways, especially if your pooch is prone to licking his paws after being outside. Wash them well, with warm water, if you do end up walking through salt.
3. Freezing rain can be just as debilitating as snow and ice, so wrap up your pooch in a fleece-lined raincoat.
4. Don’t let your doggie make all the decisions. A brisk walk around the block is good for the both of you. Keep moving to prevent freezing joints — for your both!
5. Keep your little one warm when you travel with a wool carrier.
6. Don’t give up style for comfort either. Collect cashmere dog coats and sweaters. Warm winter fashions come in a multitude of colors and styles. Match your own outfit for a coordinated look that will draw stares of envy.
7. Maintain your canine’s coat with regular brushings. A well-combed coat provides better insulation.
8. Use a waterless shampoo to prevent chills.
9. Feed your dog about 10 percent more food in cold winter months to provide enough extra calories to produce sufficient energy to keep warm.
10. Prevent weight gain with healthy treats as part of a regular diet and when your pet’s been so good about going out in the cold.
Between the dog sweaters, regular checkups at the vet and a healthy` diet, your canine can thrive in the winter with little or no health issues. Keeping your pet warm in winter becomes a no-brainer when you take precautions and provide love and lovely accessories.