Living in hot rooms and eating warm foods may an exciting component of cold weather. If you are fond of cuddling with your lovely furry friend, you can have plenty of time and environment for doing so. But besides the perks of cold weather, there are some severe issues of cold you have to deal with. Dogs have much more capacity to survive in colds than humans. But after a certain drop in temperature, you need to take care of your pet to protect him from the cold.
So, sit back! This article will educate you about the consequences of cold weather and tips to protect your dog from cold and start your pet cold management journey.
How to Tell if Your Dog is Cold?
Dogs are warm-blooded mammals, and they can regulate their body temperature according to the outside environment. However, in harsh environments, they need extra care to regulate their body temperature. If you want to know whether your dog is feeling cold or not, there are some obvious signs.
- 1.Your dog will express shivering, and his body will be in a hunched posture. The dog will try to decrease the body surface area as much as he can.
- 2.Your furry friend will feel anxious, barks more frequently, and seek places for shelter.
If the temperature goes down for prolong period, your furry friend may experience hypothermia. Its signs are as follows.
- 1.Your furry friend will experience weakness, lethargy, and muscle weakness. Its metabolism will be decreased, and there will be a lack of mental alertness.
- 2.Pupils will dilate and remain in the dilated state, and there will be a loss of conscience.
How Cold is Too Cold for Dogs?
Dogs can survive the cold temperature more than humans do. This is because their thick skin coat with plenty of hair make them more adapted to cold temperature. As a result, they don’t need a coat or sweater at or above 45°F. However, at a temperature below 45°F, your dog starts feeling uncomfortable and needs protection.
As the temperature starts decreasing from 45°F and reaches 32°F, you need to protect your furry friend from cold using a sweater or coat. At or below 32°F, your dog may express signs of cold or hypothermia. Therefore, at these lowered temperatures, you need to follow the guidelines I will describe in this article to protect your beloved furry friend from the cold.
Consequences of the Cold
Cold temperature may have severe complications to the extent that it may lead to death. At first, cold temperature leads to discomfort and joint stiffness, which impairs regular movement and activities. It increases the risk of slipping/falling and exposure to toxins. Temperature management in older dogs becomes compromised.
Decreased temperature increases the risk of frostbite and potential skin infections. However, cold temperatures also affect the dog’s sense of smell. Dogs find their way by smell, and in case of cold, when everything is covered with snow, they become disoriented.
How to Keep Your Dog Warm?
Now you are aware of how essential it is to keep your dog warm. Here are the tips to keep your furry friend’s temperature in normal ranges.
Each dog breed has its behavioral pattern, and your response should be according to its behavioral pattern. For example, some dog breeds love spending time outside, while some breeds don’t. However, if your dog loves spending time inside the home, you should follow these tips to keep him warm.
- Heated mats and bedding
Warm bedding is the foremost essential requirement for a dog in winter. You should have warm and comfortable bedding for your dog. Or it is good to have heated mats if your dog is a bed chewer.
- Raise the dog bed
Floors are too cold in winters, and there will be no benefit of warm bedding if you put it on the floor. So instead, you should raise your furry friend’s bedding above the floor so that your buddy does not feel cold.
Your furry buddy’s bed must be cozy. Blankets can do the job; the bedding should be above the floor, warm, and comprised of warm blankets to protect your dog from getting cold. You should cover your dog completely like a donut to be no chance of cold getting inside the blanket. Remember, warmth during the night is far more essential than warmth during the day.
- A dog nesting bed is a good choice
If you don’t want to build a bed for your dog, you can buy one. Dog nesting beds are available that keeps your dog warm and prevent them from the slightest of cold. If your dog loves to burrow under your bed covers, your dog is the type that will love dog nesting beds.
It is important during the daytime to protect your dog by putting them in warm clothing. If your dog has a long hairy coat or not, your will be feeling cold. So, you should manage the cold by putting them in warm clothes. You can choose a sweater/dog coat for winter and warm pajamas. Yeah, it may feel a little awkward hearing about pajamas but believe me, they exist and give a good deal against the cold.
- Grass patches
Some dog breeds don’t like going and spending time outside in the cold. If you have such a dog and he is used to peeing outside, you should have grass patches inside your home to make them feel comfortable. You can place a tray under the grass patches and your dog will comfortable peeing on the grass.
Protecting your dog from cold inside the home is as important as protecting your dog from the outside cold. If your dog is fond of wandering outside, you should be careful and follow all the necessary tips on keeping your dog warm out to protect him from cold.
- Stay inside
It is best to keep your dog inside the home during the hours of extreme cold. It doesn’t matter how much you cover your dog to protect it from cold, and it is always better to keep your buddy inside the home. However, if you want to, you should take your furry outside only during the hours of increased temperature.
- Dress up
If your dog is comfortable with a short coat, you should put him long dog coat for winter. In addition, you should have more than one dog coat for winter to replace every time your dog comes from the outdoor visit. Your dog’s coat can become wet outside and does not protect him from cold. It is good to put on his pajamas and booties along with fleece dog coats to protect your furry buddy fully.
- Clean paws
You should frequently clean your dog’s paws if you see any snow or dirt inside them. Mostly, there are antifreeze chemicals spread on the snow, and they can be a harmful irritant for your dog. When you return home, wipe down or wash your dog’s feet, legs, and abdomen, whenever you find any snow. You should not let your dog lick it; it may be poisonous.
- Collar and chip
Dogs remember the path with their sense of smell. However, if everything is covered with snow, they cannot smell and remember the path home. In this case, you should be precautious and use a collar with all the vital information written on it. Chips are also a good choice if you keep the registration up to date.
- Avoid ice
If there is a frozen pond, lake, or other water bodies, you should not let your dog go there. It can be very dangerous. It isn't easy to know whether the ice will support the weight of your dog or not. If somehow the ice breaks and your dog will be drowned; and it can be deadly.
- Recognize problems
If your dog starts whining, shivering, or becomes anxious and stops moving, starts finding someplace to burrow, get him back home immediately. These are the obvious signs of hypothermia, and you should consult your vet immediately.
My Dog Has Frostbite; What Should I Do?
Frostbite is a damaged tissue because of cold. Your first response should be to contact the veterinarian. However, you should do first aid till the vet come and see him.
- Don’t rub the affected area. If you are outside and can’t keep the dog warm till you see a veterinarian, you should not warm your dog.
- Take your dog inside a home in a warmer place. Treat the hypothermia by covering your dog in warm blankets/towels. It is better to use warm water bottles inside the blanket/towel.
- You can warm your dog by putting warm water (40-45°C). Don’t use direct heat, a heating pad, or a hairdryer.
How to Do Dog Walking in Winter?
First of all, you should follow all the outdoor tips to protect your walking dog in the cold. In addition, you should always use a dog leash to restrict the movement avoiding frozen ponds, lakes, etc. Finally, in winter, you should not let your dog spend much time outside.
Protection from cold is essential regardless of your breed. You should assume that a dog with a profuse hairy coat can survive cold on its own. You have to take care of him. Besides these winter protection tips, you should provide your dog healthy, warm diet to maintain the body’s energy and metabolism.
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