While being snowed in for the past two days and Storm Emma not looking like she’s going to pass anytime soon, I thought I’d put some tips together on how to look after your doggies and how to keep them warm and safe during cold weather.
Take shorter walks.
The cold can affect dogs quicker than you think. During the colder months you do not need to bring them out for the same longs walks you do during the warmer months. Understanding how your dog’s breed is susceptible to the cold is very important. Some breeds are much more prone to the cold while others can deal the cold just fine. During this current snowfall, Charlie, my Jack Russell, gets cold and starts to shiver as soon as she goes outside but Zero, my Pointer, loves to jump and mess around in the snow. Huskies and Malamutes are great in the cold but Greyhounds and shorthaired breeds find it harder to stay warm. A jacket or jumper is great for keeping smaller dogs warm on cold walks.
Check their paws regularly.
As their paws are in direct contact with the snow or cold ground, check them regularly for cuts or cracks in their pawpads. You should also keep the hair on their paws well trimmed. This will reduce the amount of snow and ice that can build up between their pawpads. Salt and snow removing chemicals can also be toxic to their pawpads so remember to wipe them down after each walk. Anti freeze chemical are also very sweet tasting for dogs so be sure to keep it away from them. If you dog does manage to ingest antifreeze, contact your vet immediately.
Have your dog well groomed.
Apart from wanting our dogs to look well, having a well-groomed, full weight coat is works wonders against the cold. For that reason, during the colder months, shaving and cutting your dog’s hair should be avoided. A matted coat is also far less efficient at keeping out the cold and can make it easier for snow and ice to build up in their coat. Brush them regularly, especially after a walk, to stop a matt build up before it even starts.
Make sure your shelter is protected from the wind and rain.
If your dog has a kennel, make sure they have something to stop the wind and rain blowing in. Vertical plastic flaps work well and can be attached to the inside of the kennel entrance. You can get these in most pet shops and are great for stopping the wind and rain. Work out which way the wind is blowing from and then face the entrance to the kennel in the opposite direction.
Check your shelter often to make sure it is dry and has no leaks.
Being wet and cold is far more dangerous then being dry and cold so make sure the bedding is dry and warm.
Remember your dog's existing aliments.
Arthritis and osteoarthritis in dogs can be exacerbated by cold weather. Keep an eye on them and if they start to limp more often than usual or are slower in getting up, then maybe they aren’t warm enough. Put an extra blanket or two in the bed or maybe get a jumper for the smaller breeds. Moving their bed closer to a source of heat is good too but make sure it’s not too close. Finding the perfect spot for their bed can be tricky but can make all the difference. You don’t want your dog to over heat. If they start to get out of their bed often to sit in another part of the room then it’s too hot for them so move their bed somewhere else. I recommend also talking to your vet about medication and treatment options for dogs with very bad arthritis during the cold months.
I hope these tips will help you keep your doggies nice and warm. If you have any tips yourself, comment below and I’ll add them to the list.
Chat to you soon!