Pet dogs are an integral part of our family. Taking care of them during intense and dry winters is equally important. Even if your dog is covered with thick, heavy fur, it might be affected by winters as it doesn’t cover all body parts. They may get frostbite, trench foot, or hypothermia. It’s natural to focus on your warmth, food, and skincare but dog care during winters is also a major concern.
This article will cover the six most powerful tips about how to protect your dog during the winter season?
1. Lessen outdoor time:
Most dogs prefer to play outside than inside but protect them from the harms of cold weather, limit their outdoor time or take them out during sunshine. It is advisable to keep them indoors when the temperature drops below 7°c. Their paws and tails are prone to frostbite and hypothermia if kept for a long time in the cold. Play interesting indoor games with them like hiding and seek, tug of war to entertain them and keep them indoors for a longer time. Provide them warm shelter against cold winds and easy access to food and water, so they don’t have to roam outside for food. Keep them away from heaters and heat lamps to avoid the risk of burns.
2. Provide cozy bedding:
As the winter gets intense, dogs like to spend most of their time near warm places. There is a misconception that due to thick fur, dogs don’t need blankets and cozy beds. Their fur isn’t enough to keep them warm as ears, paws, and tails remain bare. Don’t let your pets sleep on a cold floor. Arrange a cozy bed with an extra blanket for them that should be off the ground. To make it more comfy and warm, place heating pads and discs in their beds. Position their beds in your bedroom and living room away from heaters.
3. Protect them from poisons:
Antifreeze and rock salt poisoning are common among pets in winter. As the temperature decreases, many people use antifreeze in their homes or car. Antifreeze is a fatal poison, but due to its sweet taste, it is appealing to dogs. Keep the antifreeze pills out of their reach and if they ingest them, immediately contact your veteran.
Rock salt is commonly used on roads in winter to prevent the building up of snow. Rocksalt enters into their body when they lick their paws and causes poisoning. Wipe your dog paws quite often, especially after a walk. Immediately contact the veterinarian in case of any anti-freezing symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures.
4. Food for winters:
In trying to keep themselves warm in winters, they burn more calories than they do in summers. Therefore they feel more hungry. Giving a well-balanced diet is vital in maintaining weight as overweight dogs face many health problems like arthritis, diabetes, and respiratory infections. Instead of spoiling your pets by giving them extra treats, add a little more healthy food to their diet during winters. Keep monitoring how much you are feeding according to their needs so that they don’t become overweight. Winters always bring dry chilly winds, so the dogs are at a greater risk of dehydration. Make sure to always keep a water bowl near them.
5. Treat with arthritis:
Like humans, dogs’ bones are also covered by cartilage that, due to everyday wear and tear, results in inflammation and pain, especially in old dogs. To prevent arthritis, cover their legs with a blanket in intense weather and provide a warm environment. Massage them to relieve inflammation and pain. Stretching and strengthening exercises help in building strong muscles and lessens the progression of arthritis. Add supplements like glucosamine and joint care powder to the diet for a speedy recovery. Being overweight is another reason for developing arthritis, so avoid overfeeding them. Do consult your veterinarian in case of severe pain and inflammation.
6. Winter grooming:
Avoid cutting or trimming their hair during winters as long hair protects them from cold. Brush their hair often to eliminate mats and tangles. Trim the hair between toes and paws to avoid sticking poisons and dirt into them, as it can cause poisoning when dogs lick their paws. Rub down regularly if they get wet by playing in the snow or rain as damp skin is more susceptible to cold.
If your dog has dry skin, apply dog moisturizing shampoo with every bath and take dietary supplements like omega -3 and omega -6 fatty acids that help replenish natural oils to the skin. They don’t often need a wash in the intense cold; however, if needed, use warm water and dry them completely after giving a bath.