Our furry canine friends are just like us in terms of loving that Fall is here and temps are dropping. Gone are the “Dog Days” of summer which left everyone’s tongues panting including ours, here in the Carolinas. Just like Summertime, Wintertime holds certain risks for our pets that need paying attention to.
1- Even though our Winter temps in the Carolinas pale in comparison to our Northern friend’s winters do, we need to pay attention to how much time is spent outside when temps are cold.
Just because they are coated in fur, that doesn’t mean they don’t become acclimated to being inside out of the cold. Certain short hair breeds such as Boxers and Pugs are even more susceptible to losing body heat due to not being as furry as maybe a Golden Retriever.
2-When spending time outside in cold temps, remember that dogs bodies pull blood from the extremities to the center of their body to stay warm. This means that even though your dog may be rocking an awesome Christmas sweater, blood is being pulled away from the ears, paws and tail leaving them highly susceptible to frostbite.
3- Keep them boys and girls dry! Any moisture from standing water in the yard to sweat from frolicking around can make their body temperature plummet. Avoid letting them out after a bath until they are completely dry.
4-How cold is too cold? A good indicator of temperature is that if its too cold for you to stand outside your door without a coat, it’s probably to cold for your dog. Let’s handle our business doggies and get back inside!
5-Enjoy when the sun is out. Our dogs are like us, they need exercise in the winter months. (As always, this will help keep them calm and not get cabin fever). When the sun is shining, get outside and go for a walk, play fetch or any fun activity that will get the blood pumping and burn some energy.
6- Just like we like to have an extra layer on our beds on cold nights, give your pooches extra bedding this time of the year too. Avoid letting them sleep on cold wood or tile floors. Those plastic trays in crates can get very cold also. Throw them an extra towel or blanket in to snuggle with. They will thank you!
7- Dogs will often seek heat during cold weather. Keep them away from heat sources such as space heaters and fireplaces. Also, if you have baseboard radiator covers, you can install covers to protect them.
8- Hydration. Keep water readily accessible just as in warmer months. It is just as easy for a dog to get dehydrated in Winter as it is Summer.
9 – Stay inside as much as possible. Enjoy outside time but once you get cold and need to go in, bring the dogs in too.
10- Don’t overfeed. Feed normal healthy food amounts. The only extra layering our pets need to put on in winter are those sweet sweaters as I referenced before.
11- Keep their paws clean. Salt can stay on roads and sidewalks long after the snow is gone. Check paws and clean as necessary.
12- Lastly, remember the senior pets. Cold weather is harder on us older human’s; arthritis and snap, crackles and pops. Older pups will have the same aches particularly arthritis. There are some good natural joint supplements out there to help keep their joints lubed up. Also, exercise as much as possible.
Our pets depend on us to keep them safe and healthy. Remember, few things will help keep you warm on a cold winter night as a dog (or 5 in our case) snuggled up with you on the couch!