As large areas of the US have been gripped by extreme cold temperatures and heavy snowfall, many pet owners are wondering, does my dog get cold? The answer is yes! Follow this best care guide to help your dog weather the cold!
THE MYTH OF THE FUR COAT
Most dogs just aren’t built to be out in frigid temperatures for prolonged periods. Contrary to what many believe, fur coats are not great at insulating dogs from cold, especially if they get wet. Hypothermia and frostbite pose major risks to your dog’s extremities. His nose, toes, and ears are vulnerable to freezing temperatures. So, if your dog enjoys being outdoors, consider outfitting him with a sweater, and be sure to bring him back inside before too long. Always provide your dog warm and dry shelter that is free from drafts.
Make sure to keep your dog far away from any frozen body of water so he can’t fall through. And remember, slip and fall injuries are not just perils for people! Ice that covers stairs, sidewalks and other areas can be hazardous to a dog. Keep a slow, steady pace when walking and keep your dog calm to prevent him from falling. Also, make sure your dog’s nails are trimmed so that his pads come in full contact with the surface. This will help him have better traction on slippery surfaces.
Be aware that toxic chemicals like salt, antifreeze and de-icers used to treat surfaces can be really rough on your dog’s paws. Be sure to wipe them off when you get back home. This will prevent irritation and keep your dog from licking – and ingesting – anything dangerous. You can also invest in dog booties, or rub petroleum jelly into his paws before a walk to prevent his pads from absorbing chemicals.
“…if your dog enjoys being outdoors, consider outfitting him with a sweater, and be sure to bring him back inside before too long. “
THE CALL OF THE WILD
Even though dogs have great olfactory abilities, winter is the time when most dogs get lost. That’s because snowfall can disguise scents dogs would normally follow to find their way home. Also, new scents sitting atop the snow can easily distract your dog, leading him away from home. So always keep your dog on a leash when temperatures drop. His collar should have current contact information and your dog should be microchipped so he can be returned if found missing.
PLAN FOR A SNOWPOCALYPSE
If a storm is predicted for your area, have a plan in case snowfall or winds create power outages. Make sure any contingency plans include your dog, such as finding pet-friendly accommodations. An emergency kit with food and your dog’s medication might just be a winter lifesaver.
Always plan ahead to help your dog weather the cold and remember, if it is too cold for you, it is probably too cold for your dog!