Winter can be a challenging time not just for pet owners but pets themselves. As the colder weather begins to settle in, we really need to be aware of how our pets are fairing outside when colder and often wetter temperatures begin to happen.
When it comes to our pets’ plush fur coats, we have to remember that as gorgeous as they may be, they aren’t the greatest when insulation comes into play and weather extremes can really take a toll. Wetness causes depleted insulation ability and nose, toes and ears can be very vulnerable in chilly temps.
In winter, dogs need a lot of protection from extreme temperatures and one key thing to note is if it’s too cold for you, it’s definitely too cold for your dog! Clothes and coats are absolutely essential keeping in mind that purchasing from reputable companies who ‘know’ the essentials of what actually protects from the cold would be best.
Something else to keep in mind is your pup’s pads. Salted sidewalks can really play a number so protective booties and socks wouldn’t be a bad thing to try out. It may take a bit of work to get them used to having something on but the benefits once they’ve become used to it are endless.
Walking your dog during darker days takes a bit of extra care, especially when your pet will be a little harder to see. Reflective collars, tags and leashes embedded with LED lights are great things to incorporate within your pet’s wardrobe.
If you own a dog that LOVES being outdoors and actually enjoys colder temps, having plenty of food and unfrozen water are essential. There are actual inexpensive warmers in the market that keep water from freezing.
Many dogs aren’t too crazy about pottying outdoors. How can this process be made easier and more comfortable? Here are few ways to do just that:
- Shovel a small area in the yard that’s clear of snow.
- Wear booties to avoid freezing and burning paws.
- Stay close to your pets when they’re outdoors so that you can let them indoors right away once they’re done.
- For more mature senior dogs, creating an indoor area may be necessary for the sake of comfort.
If your pet has been outdoors for too long and there’s a hypothermia concern, here are a few signs and symptoms:
- violent shaking
- muscle stiffness
- a weak pulse
- a lack of appetite
- problems breathing
If any of these signs are visible, place your pet in a warm blanket or coat, bring them to a warm area and call your vet immediately.
For frostbite, look out for the following:
- skin colour changes (grey/pale at first then turning to red)
- painful ears, paws and tail when touched
- shriveled skin and/or skin that doesn’t warm and stays cold.
If any of these signs occur, apply warm water to the affected areas. As tempting as it may be, do not use blow dryers or heating pads to expedite the heating process. Call your vet immediately.
Big warning: beware of antifreeze! If there is leakage anywhere, some pets will lap it up. It’s toxic and it doesn’t necessarily take lapping it up to cause serious harm. The slightest bit can make your animal very sick. If your dog has come into contact and has ingested it, immediate attention is essential.
Have an excellent few months and remember that winter can be SO MUCH FUN for both you and your pets! Enjoy!
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