Keep Your Dog Warm in the Winter
Your dog wears a fur coat 24 hours a day so you might mistakenly believe that your furry buddy is immune to the cold. However, winter weather does pose a hazard to dogs, especially if your pooch has become acclimated to indoor temperatures and is not used to be outside. Short-haired dogs are also at extreme risk in chilly weather. It is imperative that you keep your dog warm in the winter.
Dogs and Cold Weather
Not all dogs are suited to cold winter weather. Northern breeds like Siberian huskies and malamutes have been bred for generations to withstand cold Arctic weather. They easily tolerate the weather when the mercury starts to dip. However, other dogs like bulldogs, chihuahuas, and boxers will suffer horribly in even moderately chilly conditions. You’ll need to consider your dog’s breed when thinking about whether he can tolerate cold weather. Even a dog breed that boasts ample fur must still adjust to extreme weather changes. It can take two weeks to two months for a healthy dog to successfully acclimatize.
Most dog owners are familiar with ‘dog houses. A doghouse should be insulated and airtight. Also, it must be raised above the ground a few inches. There should be a flap affixed to the door to keep out drafts. Within the doghouse, you’ll want to put down dry bedding such as hay or straw to act as an insulator so that the dog can burrow into the substance. Even though a doghouse might sound ideal, it is not perfect in extremely cold weather.
Is Your Dog Cold?
If you take your dog out for a walk, then you’ll want to watch him closely to make sure he doesn’t show signs of being too cold. He might be shivering, rolling into a ball, or refusing to move. Usually, your dog just wants to be with you and will work hard to make sure you are happy. If that means going out into the cold even when your dog is uncomfortable then he will do it for you. This behavior means that you must watch your dog closely to make sure he is okay and not too cold.
Yes, you can buy sweaters, coats, shirts, hats, boots, and rain gear for your dog. If you live in an area that suffers from cold winter weather, then you might want to invest in a doggy wardrobe to keep Fido warm. Remember to dress your furry friend in layers so if Fido shows signs of overheating then you can take off a layer of clothing.
Feeding and Hydration
Before you head out into the cold, make sure your dog is fed and hydrated. Dogs that are regularly exposed to cold winter temperatures tend to require more food that is higher in protein to keep their metabolism functioning at its peak.
Your dog can’t tell you when he is cold, but you can watch for signs. Remember, just because Fido is decked out in a natural fur coat does not mean he can tolerate the cold any better than you do. You’ll need to take steps to keep your dog warm in the winter.