We humans aren’t the only ones who get cold in winter! Our animal friends, especially dogs, also undergo this harshness with more or less difficulty. If some breeds are more resistant, many doggies do not support the wind, the cold, the frost, the snow, the rains and the cooling humidity of this season. Here are 10 tips to help you protect your dog from the cold and take good care of it in winter.
Tip #1: Adapt to your dog’s needs and characteristics
Just because your neighbor’s dog resists the cold well doesn’t mean yours will. As with humans, some doggies are more sensitive to the harshness of winter and this gap is even wider depending on dog breeds, but also on their weight, lifestyle and age.
Indeed, some breeds of dogs with short hair, without undercoat, with a thin silhouette or small size are much more sensitive to the cold. It is much more difficult for them to bear it than long haired breedswith a thick undercoat or an imposing musculature.
In addition, an older dog will have more difficulty withstanding the cold than a young doggie and an animal accustomed to living comfortably indoors throughout the year will be less able to fight against winter harshness during its rare outings.
Pay attention to the characteristics of your doggie in order to take the necessary measures to protect him from the cold effectively.
Tip n°2: learn to identify your doggie’s nervousness
As soon as a dog feels the cold intensely and suffers from it, it is important to act to prevent him from having to bear this unpleasant sensation that could make him sick. When the temperature drops to 5°C or less, the dog can suffer the full effects of the cold.
Observe your little companion. If you notice that he is shaking, that he is moving slowly, curled up on himself with his tail between his legs and his rounded back, or if he seems to be breathing more difficultly, it means that he can no longer bear it. cold. To prevent him from getting sick or getting too cold, take him quickly to a warm place or cover him with clothing or a blanket. Consider investing in dog clothing suitable for your pooch for your next outings.
Tip n°3: offer him a diet adapted to his needs
Again, you have to take your dog’s habits into account. If he lives mostly indoors throughout the year, do not change his diet. It’s not the few outings to relieve themselves that will have a real impact on their nutritional needs, so don’t take the risk of making them gain too much weight.
On the other hand, if your doggie lives mainly outdoors, it is imperative to adapt its diet to the winter season. To do this, increase his daily ration by 10% to 20% to help his body better fight against the cold. Do not forget, in fact, that his body spends more energy to maintain a sufficiently high temperature in the face of the harshness of winter, so he burns more calories than usual. By adapting his diet, you help him better cope with the cold.
Tip n°4: install a protective shelter
If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, you definitely need to winterize his shelter. It is essential for him to have the possibility of protecting himself in a secure shelter isolated from the cold ground. To do this, raise it slightly by placing feet under it, a pallet or any other such accessory. You will prevent him from being in direct contact with frost, cold and rain.
Also equip the shelter with a solid, insulated and well waterproof roof to prevent snow and rain from infiltrating it. Also orient it so as to protect it from strong winds.
Inside, insulate the floor with straw to keep the heat in and lay down comfortable and cozy blankets so that pooch can feel warm. Do not hesitate to protect the entrance by installing a hinged door if space permits or plastic slats. This will keep the heat inside and prevent the cold and humidity from penetrating too much.
Tip #5: Avoid tying up your dog
It is best not to attach your dog to a leash when living outside in the winter. He needs to be able to move enough and freely to keep warm when he feels the need. On the contrary, allow him to move as he pleases and freely to avoid cold, frostbite to the legs, or even hypothermia. Even a breed of dog capable of withstanding the harshness of winter needs to exert itself to keep warm, this is how the animal fights against the cold, movement helping it to maintain its body temperature at a normal level. .
It should also be noted that tethering a dog outside of outing hours is not recommended to preserve its well-being. You should even know that when a dog is tied with a leash measuring less than 2.5 meters, his master is liable to penalties, this act being reprehensible by law.
Tip #6: Dress it up
Dress your dog in winter is not that useless. Admittedly, we’re not talking about making him a star pooch wearing a human outfit that gives him a somewhat ridiculous look. No, we’re talking about protecting your little friend from the cold with a dog coat specially designed for him.
Indeed, as we have said, not all breeds of dogs can tolerate the cold. Some animals really suffer from going out in winter weather because of their small size, their low weight, their hair that is too short or even their old age. In this case, a coat is necessary.
You can him choosing a dog coat, a down jacket or a rain cape. Choose equipment that is well suited to its morphology, that is to say neither too small to prevent it from being too tight nor too large so that there is no infiltration of air or water. . Opt for a waterproof model, lined and warm to protect it, easy to put on and maintain. The look should be the last of your criteria, because it is above all a question of protecting your little companion from the rain, the cold, the frost and the wind.
Tip #7: Think about pads
The dog pads are very sensitive in winter, because they are in constant contact with the ground. Rain, snow, frost, ice, salt deposited on the roads and sidewalks… all this damages the skin and can cause frostbite or any other type of injury.
To protect your pet’s pads, you can protect it before each outing with a suitable, surgras balm, based on coconut oil, sweet almond and/or shea butter, or even beeswax. . However, avoid cocoa butter, which is toxic to dogs. After going out, dry his paws thoroughly and reapply some conditioner if the pads need moisturizing.
It is also possible to equip small doggies of small breeds with boots, but wearing them is more restrictive and not always well accepted by dogs. Nevertheless, it can be a solution to test.
Tip n°8: adopt the right protective measures after your outings
If you take your dog out when it is snowing or freezing on the roads, take good care of his paws entering. Indeed, as we have said, snow, frost and salt deposited in public spaces are known to irritate the pads of our little four-legged friends. Therefore, as soon as you return from your walks, dry his paws carefully with a soft, warm towel, gently patting the pads.
Do not wait to act in order to quickly remove any pieces of ice that have lodged between its legs and to eliminate traces of salt. Indeed, the salt deposited on our roads is toxic for dogs. Your little companion should therefore not have time to lick his paws!
Tip #9: Don’t overuse the baths
You should not multiply the baths for the dog, and this, throughout the year. Indeed, water and shampoos tend to expose the bare skin by eliminating the natural barrier that forms on the surface of the epidermis.
In winter, too frequent baths not only eliminate this famous protective sebum to the point of no longer allowing the doggie to protect itself naturally from the cold, but it is also necessary to keep in mind the fact that the animal has more difficulty warming up afterwards. washing due to low temperatures.
So prefer to limit the number of wet baths. If you have to wash your little companion, use dry shampoos and brush it regularly to maintain its coat and remove a lot of dirt. And if it gets too dirty, clean only the soiled area with a washcloth moistened with warm water to avoid cooling it.
Tip n°10: consult the veterinarian in case of symptoms
Of course, it goes without saying that if your dog seems sick, it’s important to take him to the vet. Our doggie friends can get cold in winter to the point of catching a cold because of the drops in temperature and the great variations experienced between indoors and outdoors, but also because of the winds and rains which cool the body.
If you notice that your little friend is sneezing, coughing, runny nose, seems more tired, loses his appetite, has less spirit or has fever, do not wait to consult your veterinarian. Early care will allow you to treat it more easily, more quickly and with lighter, and therefore less expensive, treatments. In the meantime, keep him warm, indoors, and give him a warm, thick blanket to keep him from getting cold.
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