Does your dog shiver when you go outside?During the winter season, many dogs feel the cold as much as their people do, especially when they are not habituated to the cold. Keeping your dog warm through the winter months is important to maintaining top health, and it won't take you much extra effort to ensure winter coziness for 4 legged friends.
First, understand your breed! Some dog breeds are more susceptible to the cold, while others thrive in the winter. Obviously huskies, malamutes and other siberian breeds love to roll around in the snow. Dobermans, greyhounds, and most sleek coated breeds might benefit from a sweater!
Always, always, always, provide appropriate shelter. Best case scenario is that your dog can remain indoors throughout winter, only going outside to play or potty. This will ensure that your dog doesn't get cold while you're out or asleep. The younger the puppy, the more difficult the severe weather can be on him. But, if you have an outside dog, make sure he has a nice insulated dog house with warm bedding. You can use fresh straw as an inexpensive insulating layer. It should be changed when soiled or wet to keep your pet healthy and warm. The entrance should be protected from rain or snow. If the winter is exceptionally tough, bring even your outside pets indoors. Even a barn or garage is warmer than an outdoor dog house.
Ensure that your dog bedding is warm and well placed. Bedding is an important part of keeping a dog warm through winter. If your dog sleeps on the ground or somewhere with drafts, place the bed up off the floor. A custom-made bed with cushioned insert, blankets, and old clothing make good, warm bedding.
For old and arthritic dogs, consider using a heated dog bed. Be sure to clean and change bedding regularly to reduce fleas, germs, and mess.
Sometimes canine clothing becomes necessary for particular dogs and situations. Sweaters and jackets can help to keep your dog warm through winter, especially for small or toy dogs, dogs without long hair, and old or sick dogs. Keep in mind though, that just because you are cold, that does not mean your alaskan malamute needs a cable knit sweater…
Booties can protect your dog's paws when walking on snow and salt. Salt is very hard on doggie paws and snow is cold and can be sharp. You may need to train your dog to accept booties. Use positive reinforcement training – put a bootie on one foot, feed a treat, then remove it. Repeat daily and gradually increase the amount of booties until the dog is used to having them put on.
Try to avoid trimming, shaving or cutting your dog's hair in the winter. A dog's full weight coat is his source of warmth. It provides insulation against the cold and a water barrier as well. It is important to maintain a good grooming regime through winter too, as matted hair is less efficient at keeping out the snow and cold rain, and does not insulate the dog as well. Consistent grooming can alleviate dander problems in dogs living through dry winters, should this be a problem for your dog. Keep the hair around paw pads well trimmed. This will help prevent ice and snow balling up between footpads.
All of us here at Garber Heating and Air Conditioning want to make sure your pets and your people stay comfortable this winter. Call us today to check out that furnace or heater before the first big storm!! It will be here before you know it.