If your dog isn’t used to being outside in cold temperatures or is short-haired, winter can be rough and sometimes dangerous. It’s important to help your pets stay snug during the winter months.
If you let your dog out during the day as a matter of routine, you should be aware that how well your dog can handle the cold can depend on a number of factors such a age, how thick their coat is, breed, overall health, etc.
Obviously breeds like Huskies do fine, but if you aren’t sure, be careful about leaving them outside for long periods of time. Here are some tips to help you make sure your dog stays safe and snug.
1. SNUG DOG HOUSE
If your dog stays outside during the winter, purchase an insulated dog house. Wind makes the cold that much more brutal, so make sure it has some kind of door flap or is sealed in some way to allow heat to build up inside.
It’s also helpful to have it on some kind of a foundation (like plywood) to get it a few inches off the cold ground. And several layers of cardboard or some bedding to the floor of the house to shield your dog from the cold of it.
If everything is frozen outside, your dog won’t have the ability to stay hydrated without your help. So make sure you’re letting him in regularly to drink.
It’s also a good idea to mix your dog’s dry food with hot water and let it soak for about 30 minutes before he eats it. Moistening your pet’s food will go a long way toward keeping your dog healthy during a cold, dry winter.
Another beneficial thing you can do is add fat or scraps to your dog’s dry food. I don’t know if you’ve ever been out in the cold for an extended period of time, but you burn through calories fast!
Animal fat and scraps are a great way to provide your dog the extra calories and nutrition he needs to be outside during the winter months.
If you own a dog bred for cold climates, be careful with clothing as it can actually cause your dog to overheat.
But if you have a southern bred or short-haired dog, or if you have a dog that’s indoors most of the time, coats and sweaters can be helpful.
If you notice your dog shivers outside, doesn’t want to go to the bathroom when you know he needs to go, or won’t obey your commands, a coat may help them be more willing to brave the cold for potty time or a short walk.
Shoes may seem silly, and dogs usually aren’t very keen on wearing them. However, if you live in the city and take your dog out onto areas where chemicals have been used to remove the snow and ice, you may want to consider shoes for your dog.
Ice-melting chemicals are poisonous, so it’s not great for your dog to absorb them. They can also aggravate or burn your dog’s feet.