22 winter tips for your dog in the snow
Everything about dogs in the snow, the ice and other dangers of the winter cold for your dog
The winter wonderland is an amazing time for everyone! There is so much you can do with your dog at this time of the year, play in the snow slide on ice or enjoy the view during the walk. One would think that the only downside of this season is the cold. Unfortunately, this is not true and besides the low temperatures there are a number of other disadvantages and even dangers for your dog in the winter. Read this article to find 22 tips that will help your dog enjoy the winter.
Winter with your dog
The winter time looks different depending on your location, there can be snow, rain, ice and many more weather conditions. When a cold period arrives, we take all kinds of measures for ourselves to get through the winter as comfortably as possible. For the dogs we can of course do the same. Many dogs will benefit from this. In the tips below you can read how you can take care of your dog during the winter.
1. Coat care in the winter
Dogs with long and thick coat benefit from it during the winter. It is like a nice and warm jacket. There are dog breeds with a short coat and no undercoat, which can caused them experiencing the cold more. However, regardless of what kind of fur your dog has it will need care during the winter time. With a regular brushing you remove loose hairs and any tangles in the fur. This increases the amount of the air between the coat and the body. The temperature of your dog can be better regulated. Make sure that the coat is well maintained.
2. Feeding your dog
For most dogs, the food does not need to be adjusted in the winter. For dogs that move a lot, work hard and are often outside, this may be necessary. In order to continue to function well in the cold and to keep the body warm, because the dog consumes much more energy than usual. So if your dog spends time outside give him some extra fuel. Dogs that mainly stay indoors and do not practice active winter sports, extra food is not needed in the winter.
3. Water for your dog
In winter it is important to ensure that your dog always has fresh drinking water at his disposal. The humidity is low during a frost. The body of your dog needs more hydration than usual. Drinking an ice-cold water can cause your dog unpleasant stomach pain. Make sure that your dog drinks water whenever he is inside of the house. If your dog likes to drink outside, it is important to keep the drinking free from frost . A heated drinking bowl can also prevent the water from freezing.
4. Movement during the winter
Although the weather is not always inviting in the winter, it is important to keep moving with your dog. Often the dog’s obesity occurs during the winter. Exercise is healthy for your dog! It maintains a healthy weight and an outlet of the energy. When you walk in the cold or snow with your dog, it is important not to stand still for too long. By keep moving your dog will be warm. Be careful when walking on a slippery surface. This requires a lot of the body control and can be very stressful. By an unexpected movement your dog can slip and get a nasty injury.
5. Does your dog sleep inside or outside?
Dogs that stay inside the home will be warm in the dog bed, on the couch or on a soft dog cushion in front of the fireplace in the winter . There are also dogs that are outside in a dog kennel or outside during the year. If your dog stays outside and you are not able to take your dog indoor during the winter days, it is good to take a number of measures. Provide a well- insulated doghouse, dry and clean cover, such as a blanket or a cushion, and prevent drinking frozen water. Keep the room of your dog draft-free, offer your dog sufficient shelter from the frost and place, for example, a heated dog house where your dog can find a shelter from the cold. Make sure that your dog’s bed is off the ground. This protects your dog a bit more against the radiating cold from the ground.
6. Provide good protection for your dog
Your dog can use some extra protection just as you during the winter time. A good protection keeps your dog in balance during the winter. There are various, often natural, products available to keep the resistance of your dog in a good balance.
7. Let your dog be visible during the dark days
During the winter the days are shorter so you regularly walk with your dog in the dark. Make sure your dog stands out for other traffic and you do not lose him from your sight. Put on an illuminating collar or a special safety vest for dogs.
8. Prevent your dog from getting wet in the winter
When your dog gets wet while it is very cold outside, the risk of hypothermia is higher. Swimming at temperatures around the freezing point is definitely not recommended. Especially when the dog is long-coated, the snow gets between the hair and melts, wetting the dog. A wet coat isolates badly. After walking, carefully remove the snow from the fur and dry your dog well with a towel.
In the snow with your dog
Most dogs enjoy the snow. Together with other dogs running and jumping in the snow, making their way through thick packs of snow, rolling or having a snowball fight with the owner. The snow fun with dogs can be limitless. Unfortunately, snow also brings a number of drawbacks for your dog. When you and your dog are going to face the snow, it is good to take the following points into account.
9. Do not let your dog eat snow
Even without a snowball fight, most dogs are fond of snow, which they regularly grab a snack here and there and swallow. In small quantities this can not be harmful, but if your dog is a real snow-eater you have to be a little bit more careful. Your dog can get a nasty stomach and intestinal issues by eating snow and have abdominal pain, nausea and diarrhea. Choose to exchange the snowballs for a real ball for your dog.
10. Remove sticking snow clumps
Snow quickly sticks to the coat of your dog. As a solution, you can cut the longer hair around the feet, tail, ears and other parts of the body. There will then less surface for the snow to stick to your dog. Snow also quickly clumps between the paws off your dog. Snow between the paws will quickly irritate your dog’s skin and may cause ice burns. It is advisable to regularly check the paws of your dog while walking and remove the sticking snow immediately. Let the ice pieces melt away with your fingers, when you pull straight away you can hurt for your dog.
11. Protect your dog's paws
On winter days the legs of your dog have a lot to endure, especially the foot pads. When it is slippery, the ground is sprinkled with salt and your dog walks with the bare feet through all this. Snow also causes a lot of irritation around the feet of your dog. You can protect the feet of your dog against this with special dog shoes or paw protectors.
12. Prevent sore feet by rubbing them
Frozen snow can cause nasty wounds on your dog’s foot cushions. When you walk through the sated route with these wounds, your dog can get a lot of problems with the paws. Therefore, when you come home, rinse the feet of your dog with lukewarm water and then dry them thoroughly. To prevent all this trouble, you can rub the feet with special Paw Balm or Paw Wax before the walk. If your dog still has wounds to keep them safe with dog shoes. Also read how you can protect your dog’s feet with dog shoes.
13. Beware of injuries
In addition to the injuries on the foot pads, dogs also quickly suffer other injuries by playing in the snow. On the slippery surface, the risk of slipping is high, causing the muscles and tendons to endure a lot. Prevent your dog from having a long-term injury. For instance avoid icy paths.
14. Winter sports with your dog
When you go on a ski holiday, your dog can also join. If you want to go a bit further away, than you can fly with your dog, but it is also worth investigating the possibilities to take your dog by the car. Take the necessary precautions for dog holidays in the snow. With the typical winter dogs, it is very nice to do try dog sledding. You will immediately notice that your dog feels at home in this winter sport.
Take good care of your dog during winter cold and frost periods
To make the winter great with your dog it is good to occasionally be extra careful. Winter cold and frost periods bring a number of dangerous situations for your dog. Therefore, be careful and be extra alert.
17. Antifreeze is very tempting
You will regularly use antifreeze for your car in the winter. Be careful not to leave this around your dog unattended. The sweet smell of antifreeze is very tempting for your dog, but eating the antifreeze is poisonous and can even have fatal consequences. When your dog will consume antifreeze, you must immediately contact the veterinarian.
18. Do not leave your dog alone in the car
Leaving your dog in the car during heat can be fatal, but the dangers of freezing cold must also be taken seriously. During periods of frost, the temperature in a parked car drops quickly to below freezing point. Your dog can suffer hypothermia. So never leave your dog in the car, especially when your dog is wet from, for example, melting snow that is left in the fur.
19. Winter clothing for the dog
The lovely thick winter coats for the dog are certainly not just for the ornamental. Not all of the dogs are naturally protected from cold. So for some of them the winter coat is very beneficial. There are also special dog hats to protect the sensitive ears of your dog against the freezing cold. Do not be afraid or shy to walk around with a dressed up dog. You want to take care of your dog as much as possible.
20. Do not let your dog freeze!
Some parts of your dog’s body can easily freeze when it is very cold. This is also called frostbite. Keep an eye on this and protect your dog against this. Particularly body parts such as ears, paws and the tail are at risk. You notice this because your dog has pain in one of these parts of the body, they turn a bit gray or they feel very cold. If you do not spot it on time, certain parts can suffer necrosis. Massaging these parts can cause more damage, so warm up the frozen parts with warm water or reach for the vet’s help.
21. Keep an eye on vulnerable dogs
In particular, puppies and older dogs can quickly be bothered by the cold. Puppies often lack sufficient coat and fat to keep themselves warm. Older dogs get stiff faster when it is very cold. Also the breeds whose origin is in the warmer countries, dogs with a short coat, no undercoat or bald dogs have to be watched extra carefully when it is very cold outside. Is your dog shivering excessively? Then provide some extra warmth for your dog.
Your dog on the ice in the winter
Many people are enthusiastic about skating on frozen waters often it seems very nice to take the dog on the ice with you. Beware because frozen waters are perhaps the biggest dangers for the dog in winter.
20. Teach your dog not to walk on the ice
A dog can not judge whether the ice is thick and strong enough to go on it. In addition to the fact that ice is slippery and your dog can get some injuries, there is also a chance for the ice braking. Unfortunately dogs drown every year because they fall through a broken ice. Your dog will not be able to climb out of the ice water and your dog can even slide under the ice and panic, making it very difficult to save your dog.
21. Beware of drowning
To prevent a dog from drowning, it is advisable to keep your dog on a leash in areas where there is a lot of ice. Stay calm when your dog has fallen to the water, judge the situation and think about whether you can save your dog. If possible, get immediate help from the animal ambulance or the fireforce. When you have been able to rescue the dog from the water, make sure that the fluid can go away from the lungs by placing your dog slightly diagonally with the head downwards. Rub your dog dry. The rubbing is also good to get the blood circulation going again. Have a veterinarian check your dog as soon as possible. Resuscitation may be necessary if your dog is unconscious.
The average body temperature of a dog is between 100.5 and 102.5 degrees. The low temperatures or for instance falling into a frozen lake can cause hypothermia. Hypothermia is life-threatening and you should therefore help your dog as soon as possible to go back to the normal temperature. Symptoms that you will observe are the muscles will reacting by shivering excessively. You also often see that the coat is standing upright so that air can get in and provide an insulation layer. The parts of your dog feel cold because the blood circulation only focuses on the vital organs. The body will do everything to keep the brain, heart and lungs working for as long as possible. Your dog will become weaker with hypothermia and eventually become unconscious.
With the tips above, hypothermia in your dog is certainly preventable. Enjoy with your dog all the beautiful things that winter brings, but also be warned and take good care of your dog.
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