Not all dogs are born winter-ready. Spending long periods of time outdoors on cool, crisp days may be uncomfortable and unsafe for your pet, as well.
But dogs just want to have fun. And routine exercise doesn’t stop despite the weather. If you’re not planning to use dog boarding this winter, putting proper safety precautions into place before the holiday season begins, will make it more enjoyable for you and your four-legged friend.
Below, The Barking Lot discusses a few tips to help your dog maintain a fit, healthy lifestyle, while protecting him from the elements in the process.
How Well Does Your Pet Handle the Cold?
First, it’s important to remember that different breeds tolerate cold temperatures differently. Dogs like Chow Chows and Huskies are bred to withstand the snow. These pets usually have more body fat, allowing them to retain and conserve heat better.
Chows love the outdoors and are bred for the cold. Huskies are also great outdoor pets as they’re built to endure lower temps as well. The Alaskan Malamute originates from Alaska, while the Keeshond hound has a thick, downy undercoat that keeps him nice and warm.
On the other hand, smaller short-haired dogs are most susceptible to hyperthermia and other conditions when left outside too long in the cold. Breeds like Chihuahuas and Toy Poodles are best kept inside when frigid temps persist. Even larger pets like the Greyhound, have almost zero body fat and very little insulation against the cold.
You can keep your dog warm this winter by:
Only letting him stay outdoors long enough to get in a good walk or a moderate amount of exercise on chilly, wintry days.
Remembering that once you’ve had enough of the cold, that’s probably a good indication your pet has, too. If you have an outside dog, be sure that you provide him with an insulated dog house or warm structure to sleep in. Give your pet thick, comfortable bedding and plenty of food and water.
Keeping him away from frozen puddles and thin ice. While they may look solid, that might not always be the case. Drowning is a very real hazard when walking on frigid bodies of water. Slips and falls are also common when navigating thin ice.
Keeping antifreeze out of the reach of your pet. Ingested in small amounts, this chemical can be toxic to dogs.
Considering your pet’s health and condition before he heads out in the cold. Some medical diagnosis like diabetes or heart disease can interrupt the ability to regulate body heat. If you have a pet with a medical condition, it’s best to ask your vet how long your pet is able to safely stay outside.