Does your dog prefer swimming and laying on the sunshine-covered sand at the beach or playing in the snow and chasing snowflakes? Regardless of the answer, seasons change and you and your dog need to be adaptable and well-prepared for what the weather offers.
When it comes to low temperatures there are two medical conditions that deserve attention – frostbites and hypothermia.
Frostbites occur when the dog’s body gets cold. When cooling, the body pulls blood from the extremities and concentrates it to the center of the body in order to stay warm. Without the circulating blood, body tissues are prone to damage and crystal formations. The dog’s paws, ears, and tails are at the highest risk of developing frostbites. Frostbites are extremely painful and with time they turn black and slough off. If the weather has torn up your dog’s paws make sure to use paw balm to help heal any open wounds.
Being well-prepared means adapting to the weather changes and preventing certain issues to develop. The best way of preventing those issues is by following the
Hypothermia is a generalized condition that occurs when the body temperature gets so low that the body cannot properly function. Hypothermia begins with shivering and cold feet, ears, and tails. As it progresses, the dog shows signs of depression, lethargy, and weakness. If left untreated, the heart and breathing rates decrease and the dog loses its ability to respond to stimuli. Severe hypothermia is a life-threatening condition.
To help you protect your dog from the cold winter, follow these tips:
1. Buy a breed that thrives well in the climate of your area – unfortunately, not all breeds are suitable for every climate. Before purchasing/adopting a dog do a little research and check if the weather in your area suits its need.
2. Use winter gear – Fortunately, dog clothes come in all shapes and sizes. In addition, when it comes to dog clothes, it is not everything about fashion. Dog clothes are extremely helpful for preventing the cold to affect your dog. In addition to the dog coat, make sure you also buy some matching boots.
3. Check the temperature before going out – Sometimes the temperature can feel much worse than the thermometer shows. When assessing the temperature take the wind chill factor into consideration.
4. Limit the outdoors time – taking long walks when the weather is cold is definitely a bad idea. Although the winter gear is protective, the air your dog breathes is still cold and enough to make your dog sick. Use your own comfort as a sign when the walk should end. Simply stated, as soon as you feel cold, it is safe to assume that your dog feels cold too.
5. Schedule your outdoor time properly – late morning and early afternoon hours are a little bit warmer than the rest. Use that rise in the temperature to spend some quality outdoor time with your pooch. On the flip side, early morning and late evening walks should be avoided.
6. Ensure your dog housing is proper – If your dog lives outsides it is advisable to purchase a well-insulated house with heaters and a sloped roof. If the dog lives indoors, make sure its bed is insulated from the floor. If your dog is extra chilly you can always get him a self-heating or electrically heated dog bed.
There is a common misconception among dog parents that canines, because of their coats, can tolerate cold temperatures. However, this is not always the case. How well a dog can tolerate cold temperatures depends on its breed, size, age, health status, and dieting regimen. It is true that some dogs are more resistant and have higher tolerance limits than others. However, there are also dogs who cannot tolerate even small drops on the temperature scale without starting to shake. Nevertheless, all dogs need some extra care during the cold winter months.