The temperatures are dropping so you and your furry pal need to be sure to bundle up if you’re braving the dog park or a stroll in the neighborhood! Look for these signs of frostbite and hypothermia and use these tips to prevent your pet from experiencing them this winter. If your pet does have serious frostbite or if they are experiencing hypothermia, please contact Best Pets immediately.
Another serious health concern to be alert for if your dog spends too much time out in the cold, or gets wet in cold temperatures. Also, dogs with poor health circulation may get hypothermia if exposed to cold temperatures. Milder cases of hypothermia will cause them to shiver, while the dog’s feet and ears get colder and colder. Hypothermia may also cause your dog to show signs of weakness, depression, and lethargy. If the condition gets worse, muscles will stiffen, heart and breathing rates slow, or your dog may also start not responding to stimuli.
If you take your dog out in the cold the body will try to pull blood to the center and stay warm. The dog’s paws, ears, and tail may get so cold that ice crystals may start forming in the tissue and cause damage to the dog. The worst thing about frostbite is that it is not easy to notice. Remember to watch out for pale or gray skin, hard and cold. Another important step to remember is that when frostbitten areas get warm, they can cause extreme pain. Severe frostbite may turn black and slough off.
It’s super important to learn the signs of these two conditions to keep your dog safe and warm this winter. The following are things you can do to prevent your pup from suffering from frostbite or hypothermia this season.
Although your dog has thick fur, you may need to get him a sweater for long winter walks that would cover the belly and neck. It will still not prevent frostbite, as your dog’s ears, tail, and feet will be exposed, but it will slow down the cold!
Try to Catch the Sunshine
Try to walk your dog during late mornings or early afternoons. Try to spend your playing time while exposed to the sun. Avoid sticks when outside, instead keep your dog’s toys on your backpack! Your dog will be happy indoors, best believe. Our dogs need to be with us, indoors. They are the happiest if you make it possible for them to live inside with you while taking him out for frequent walks and exercise! It is not at all recommended to leave your dog outdoors when the temperatures get on the cold-side. Plus, there are many great ways to keep your dog entertained inside!
In addition to limiting your dog’s time outdoors, take care of where your dog sleeps during winter time. Do not let your dog sleep on a cold floor! The right bedding will ensure your dog is warm and cozy at night!
Make sure you also choose the right bed:
- A warm blanket will create a snug environment for your dog
- Raised beds keep the dog off cold floor tiles
- Heated beds keep the stiffness away from aging joints
Heaters are Not the Next Best Thing
Even though your dog may often seek heat during harsh cold winters, avoid space heaters if you can. Installing a baseboard radiator will avoid the risk of your dog getting burnt. Fireplaces are not the best option either, as you must really make sure you have a pet-proof system and your dog safe!
Moisturizing is Key
Just as it happens with humans, your dog’s skin may get dry and flaky because of the dry and cold weather. To avoid the burden, try adding skin and coat supplements to your dog’s food. You can also use fish and coconut oil to keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy. If you notice that your dog’s ears, paws or tail are dry and even cracking, apply coconut oil on the area topically.
Do Not Overfeed!
Do not think you should feed your dog to create layers of fat that would protect him from the cold. It is not an option unless your dog lives outdoors during this cold weather. Look after your dog’s activity level, and then adjust the calorie intake accordingly. High-quality whole foods and meat, preferably raw, will provide a healthy coat and good energy levels in the winter.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Dehydration may happen in winter, just the same! Eating snow is not the best substitute for drinking fresh water. Make sure you keep changing your dog’s water and the dog has access to it the whole time, especially if you keep your dog outdoors. Break the ice that may form on top of the bowl if outdoors.
Groom Your Pet
To keep your dog properly insulated – maintain a clean and well-groomed coat. Surely, after bathing your dog, you should dry its fur thoroughly before taking a walk outside!
Paw Care at any Cost
Dogs also suffer from cracked pads! If your dog has furry feet, trim the hair growing between his pads so that ice does not build-up in-between. Winter salt that is found on city sidewalks can burn your dog’s pads and is also toxic. To prevent unnecessary trouble, rinse or wipe your dog’s paws to remove the salt! Do not let your dog lick his paws before cleaning. You may also use dog booties if you notice your dog showing any signs of discomfort when outside for a walk.
Snow removing is a great idea, especially if piled up near fences that your dog may climb and escape. Pile the snow away from fences if you are going to clear the snow in your yard.
Pick where your dog plays
It may be exciting for your dog to play in the snow for long hours, but remind yourself not to get caught up in the moment and lose track of time! Your dog needs frequent comebacks for water and for warming. If you are playing with your dog at an unknown location, do not let your dog go too far away from you – as he may get lost and even worse, walk on unsafe surfaces like frozen lakes or ponds.
No Exposure to Toxins
Antifreeze, a very present toxin, especially during winter may be fatal for your dog to lick or drink. Keep your dog away from the garage or the driveway where antifreeze or other such harmful chemicals may be encountered. Do not leave your dog alone in the car. Leaving the car running brings danger and risks for your unattended dog in the car, such as carbon monoxide poisoning. If you are going to run errands, leave your dog at home instead!
Respect your Seniors
The cold may aggravate existing medical conditions in your dog, especially arthritis. Maintain your dog’s exercise regimen, but mind the slippery surfaces and ensure a warm place for your dog to relax after staying outdoors. If you haven’t already, start giving natural joint supplements to lubricate the joints and ease the discomfort of arthritis for your dog during winter time.
Follow these safety tips and you and your pup will have a fun and warm winter! And of course, snuggles with your canine friend are the best way to keep everybody warm! If you have any questions, please give us a call!