Do you want your dog to be comfortable all winter long? While daily walks are highly recommended to keep your dog happy and healthy, you should avoid going on long walks in the freezing cold. Experts agree that you shouldn’t take your pooch for a walk when temperatures dip below -25 C. Here are several smart tips to help you protect your pet from the cold.
What you need to know about the dangers of cold exposure
If your dog spends too much time outside in the cold, it could develop frostbite. Freezing temperatures can cause the blood vessels near the surface of the skin to constrict and become red, swollen and painful. If left untreated, the affected area can turn black and die. Your dog’s ears and paws are most susceptible to frostbite. Your dog could also develop hypothermia if left in the cold for too long. Therefore, it’s important to be vigilant.
Your pet’s breed: resistant or vulnerable to the cold?
If you own a cold-tolerant dog like a Siberian husky, Newfoundland, St. Bernard or Malamute, you don’t have to be too worried about it spending long hours outdoors in the winter. These hardy breeds have two layers of fur, including a very dense undercoat that acts as a built-in winter jacket. In fact, you should be more worried about bundling up yourself when going on a winter walk.
Conversely, many short-haired breeds like Chihuahuas, Dalmatians and Greyhounds, have a very low tolerance for cold temperatures. Therefore, warm clothing and accessories are a must when going outside in the winter, even for short periods.
Important factors: your dog’s health, weight and age
Did you know that your pet’s age can affect how well it resists the cold? Puppies, senior dogs and canines with various health problems like diabetes and kidney failure are particularly vulnerable to the cold. Furthermore, thin dogs are much less cold-resistant than those with a higher body mass.
Your dog’s non-verbal language: is it too cold?
Although your dog can’t talk, its behaviour and body language can speak volumes. Therefore, it’s important to pay close attention to the following signs when you’re out and about with Fido this winter.
- They’re shivering
- They refuse to put all four paws on the ground at once
- They suddenly stop moving and refuse to keep walking
- They try to climb on you or act as if they want to be picked up
- They lick their paws to remove snow or ice
If you notice any of these signs, bring your dog inside as soon as possible.
Adjusting your dog’s diet in the winter
Dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors in the winter need more protein and fat in their diet. Ask your veterinarian for advice on how much and how often you should be feeding your dog in winter.
Spacing out baths and grooming in winter
Bathing your dog can make it more sensitive to the cold. This is because some cleaning products strip the protective oils from your pooch’s coat. Therefore, it may be a good idea to push back your next visit to the groomer. Additionally, if you come back from a walk in the snow, promptly rinse your dog’s paws with warm water and dry them with a towel.
Clothing, balms and accessories
You can find various products in reputable pet stores, like Chico, to help your dog cope with the cold, such as:
- Protective paw balms
- Wool sweaters
- Protective pants
- Lined boots
- Winter coats
A member of the Chico team can help you find the products, clothing and accessories you need.
Chico: a pet lover’s dream
Do you need pet food, treats, accessories or winter clothes for your dog? If so, Chico has what you need. Visit your nearest Chico store to receive friendly, personalized service and advice. You can also check out our new online store — we now deliver!