Keep Pets Warm In Winter

Keep Pets Warm In Winter

It may seem odd to think that dogs would ever be cold with fur all over their bodies, but they are susceptible to harm from the cold just as humans are. Did you know that a dog can suffer from frostbite in the same way a human can?

Frostbite occurs when the body of an animal is exposed to freezing cold temperatures. When outside in the snow or ice, the temperature of your dog’s body will lower over time, causing the body to draw all of it’s blood away from their extremities toward the core of the body in an effort to keep itself warm. This will eventually cause ice crystals to form as the skin and underlying tissues begin to freeze. This could result in painful tissue damage, and worse.

Unlike humans, dogs don’t have the option of donning a heavier coat of fur when it gets cold outside. As the winter approaches, it is important to make sure that you keep your dog nice and warm during the chilly months ahead by limiting your dog’s time outside in the cold.

One fairly simple way to do this is to walk your dog when the sun is out during the winter months. You should make an effort to limit time outside in the snow and ice, and should never leave your dog outside alone in these conditions. A dog can get cold quickly in the snow because of wet fur, and their exposed feet and ears can cause their bodies to lose heat rapidly. If it is too cold outside for you to stand in the doorway without a coat, it is definitely too cold for your dog to be outside. Hypothermia can happen fast, and can potentially be life threatening if not identified quickly and addressed.

In addition, the cold can make life harder for older dogs by irritating old injuries, and causing arthritis and joint pain to flare up.

Fear not though, as these outcomes are absolutely preventable.

While your dog might not have the option to put on another coat, you DO have the option to put a coat on your dog. The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends a coat for any dog ten pounds or less, but if your dog is shivering no matter how heavy they are, it is time to put a jacket on. A good jacket should fit snugly, but not too tight so as not to limit your dog’s range of motion. It should protect the dog’s neck and body, and extend to the base of the tail.

The Polar Visibility Warming Dog Vest from the makers at Hurtta is a great option for winter walks, and will keep your dog’s chest nice and warm in colder environments. It is water-proof, and soft on your dog’s body, so you don’t need to worry as much about the vest irritating your dog from rubbing against their skin. In addition to all of this, the vest is brightly colored so it is easy to see against the snow, and also utilizes 3M reflectors for maximum visibility so you won’t need to worry about losing your dog in the snow either.

Another excellent option to consider when picking out a coat for your dog is a coat that features warming gel inserts. The warming dog coat from Kumfy Tailz is a great example of this type of coat. This slightly heavier, micro-suede coat was designed by veterinary experts to work with a dog’s physiology, and keep their sensitive cardiovascular systems protected from the cold.The coat features a sherpa lining, and removable gel warming inserts. The gel inserts can be microwaved and placed inside the coat to keep your dog warm for 1-2 hours.

Both coats feature an easy on/off design so that your dog won’t be stressed out by the coat and you won’t be stressed out by trying to put it on your dog.

You may also want to consider getting your dog a pair of shoes for the winter as well. The cold can be painful on your dog’s paws, and harsh chemicals found in road salt can cause the skin to dry out and crack, which can be very unpleasant to walk on. Try a pair of shoes to protect their sensitive footpads, and keep their feet nice and dry. 

Healers makes a pair of boots for your dog that are perfect for all types of weather and terrain but especially for snow and ice. A former shoe designer from Nike created these boots with a breathable, moisture wicking upper, and a synthetic leather sole so that the shoe could provide traction, and keep the cold away from your dog when outside in frosty weather.

When back inside, you can take the simple step of raising your dog’s bed up off of cold floor tiles to keep them warm as well. Moving their bed will stop the cold from seeping into the fabric of your dog’s bed through the floor and will go a long way in making them more comfortable.

There are a few things you don’t want to do in the service of trying to make sure your dog is as warm as possible. The first thing to remember is not to overfeed your dog in the winter. Some people will do this thinking that an extra layer of fat will protect your dog from the cold, but this is not healthy for most dogs. You can monitor the change in your dog’s lifestyle as the weather changes. The cold makes many dogs very lazy, and the additional food in their diet could cause them to gain weight unhealthily.

Also, avoid using a heater to warm your dog when you can, and definitely never leave your dog alone with a space heater that is in use because your dog can badly burn themselves. Likewise, if you are using a fireplace as a heat source it is doubly important to monitor your dog while they are near the flames.

Overall it isn’t that difficult to make sure your dog is warm enough this winter. There are  just a few things to keep in kind. First, limit time outside. If you want to go inside because you are cold the chances are good that your dog is cold too. Second, if they are shivering, get them a coat. If they are whining and in pain, go inside. While inside, don’t use a heater without close supervision, and definitely never leave your dog unattended by the fireplace. Keep all of these things in mind, and you should have no issues make sure you and the dog stay nice and toasty all winter long.

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