As a pet lover, there is nothing more amazing than taking your dog out for a walk during the early morning hours or late evenings. But you may ask yourself how to keep dogs warm outside?
During that moment, all that matters is you, your dog, and the serene environment of your neighborhood. In the meantime, the two of you can enjoy some daily exercises to boost your psyche for the day.
However, as the day grows old, cold and darkness are fast approaching. The warmth of the day is enveloped with cold temperatures. With your daily routine of dog walking, you may layer yourself with socks, jackets, and scarfs. Unfortunately, your dog is walking by the grace of Mother Nature. Cold temperatures can affect your dog in many ways. All in all, there are steps you can take to keep him warm as you enjoy the walks. Every life matters!
Reasons why cold temperatures are dangerous for your dog?
As science dictates, every life of a mammal operates in a similar way. This means that the same way a human being’s health is affected by cold is the same experience with a dog. Unless an animal has adapted to the winter such as the polar bears, diseases will always creep into the dog’s bodies. A medical director of the West Chester Veterinary Medical Centre, Dr. Robert Gonzalez, stated in one of his exclusive writings that cold temperatures may result in frostbites, hypothermia, and other cold-related diseases.
Most of the dogs suffering from hypothermia show symptoms and signs such as:
- Decreased appetite
- Body shaking
- Reduced response to activities/ shows no interest in previous interests
In case the cold precedes normal, the dog may show signs such as:
- The trouble with walking/ may even become lame
- The ears may curl back
- Discoloration of the body/ eyes and tongue for instance
The worst instance can be exposing your dog to cold temperatures and later taking it for walks or pet stores. This is because, in those areas, you might come into contact with disease-causing germs which might cause illnesses such as influenza.
After purchasing your dog, make an effort of learning more about that particular breed of dogs. For some dogs, their coats are thick enough to withstand certain cold temperatures. For some with thin fur, the slightest of a change in temperatures can affect them. In addition to this, know that age can affect how a dog responds to certain temperatures.
As a dog advances in age, there is the likelihood that he may not withstand certain temperatures. The main reason is that the dogs have lost most of their youthful muscles besides having a decreased metabolism.
The experience can be a determining factor for a dog’s survival. Dr. Robert gives a good example of dogs that lived most of their early ages in cold places. In comparison to another dog that grew up in a warmer place, the first dog has a higher likelihood of surviving. Generally, learn the history of your dog in preparation of how to make a dog’s life comfortable in your home.
Ways to keep your dog warm outside
1. Dress the dog
When a human being feels cold, the first response is grabbing a warm coat or socks. With a dog, let warm dressing be your first approach too. Make purchases of warm dog coats and boots from dog stores.
With coats, the dogs will feel comfortable in them. However, some of these dogs may feel uncomfortable in boots, hence there is greater need to train him on accepting them. A dog’s coat should always cover its belly.
The main reason is that the core harbors some of the most important organs such as the lungs and the heart. The core, therefore, ought to be protected from extreme weather. As a recommendation, purchase a coat without a hood since the dog needs to swing the head in any direction without barriers.
2. JoyDaog coat
One of the best coats for the cold days is JoyDaog from amazon.com. This is a coat specifically made for the puppies that are yet to adapt to the cold environments. The inside of this coat is woolen and very soft. In addition to this, it is windproof to prevent the core from cold temperatures. The coat comes in one color; red. With a budget of $20.99, you can get a new JoyDaog for your puppy. Your puppy surely deserves the joy!
The primary purpose of putting on boots is to protect the paws and feet from salty soils. In case the area you reside in has salty rocks, unprotected dogs may experience inflammation of the paws.
Bazar, a veterinarian, states that for dogs who refuse to wear boots, they should get extra care once they come back to the house from daily walking. The paws of the dog should be wiped with a clean washcloth or baby wipes to remove any foreign particles that may bring this inflammation.
3. Make the walks as short as possible
Dressing up warmly for winter does not grant you the permission to walk to the mountains. In fact, you should remain indoors most of the time to avoid deteriorating the situation. This is the same case with dogs. After dressing them up with coats and boots, make your walks shorter.
For those with such experiences, they have noted that cold temperature hinders a dog from staying outdoors. A dog will most likely go out for a short moment when certain needs arise such as defecating.
The length of these walks depends on how you dictate them. As a general rule, if you can’t go past a particular distance due to cold, just know that the dog (despite being dressed up) cannot endure the cold in the same way.
However, why go through all the hustle outside while you can have some activities in your house? Some of the indoor activities include playing hide and seek or other relatable games that make the dog physically fit and stimulated.
4. Let the dog stay off the ground
For the people who keep their dogs outside the main house, they make the mistake of letting it sleep on the ground. However, we forget that the ground is very cold since it loses much of the heat after a very short time.
This may make the dog colder since the ground sucks most of the heat from the dog’s body (heat moving from high concentration to low concentration). For ultimate care, make a simple bed or a warm mat for your dog. This will prevent the dog from coming in contact with the cold ground.
5. Never overfeed the dog
Food gives a dog the energy to stay warm during the cold weather. However, feeding excess food does not mean that the dog will produce more energy to sustain it in the cold. The problem with overfeeding your dog is that it may bring obese issues which might cause health complications. Extra food is only recommended for dogs that have a lot of activities to carry on during the cold weather.
For a dog that stays outside in its entire life, this dog can have an extra topping on its normal size to boost its energy to face the harsh temperatures. The dog should have access to water. To prevent the water from freezing, you can purchase heating bowls for the outdoor dogs.
6. Trim hair around the paws
In the first point, we stated that the dog may experience inflammation if the paws come into contact with salty soils. In addition to this, always keep the hairs around the paws well-trimmed. Reasons for doing this are;
- To make the walk through the snow easier
- The hair might get matted thus causing discomfort
- It eases the process of wearing boots
7. Keep the dog leashed throughout the walk
During the cold weather, winter for this matter, some incidences are very unpredictable. Take the example of a snowstorm. In certain instances, the dog might get into ice lakes. If such an accident occurs you might not retrieve your dog from that pool. With a leash, you have the option of pulling the dog from that danger. Keeping the dog close to you during the walk is very important for its own safety.
8. Provide heating services
During winter, most dogs require heated beds. This is particularly important to old dogs who may be suffering from arthritis. For a smooth night, give the dog extra care by providing a heated bed or hot water bottles.
Once the cold penetrates into the body, the joints may stiffen up making the walking difficult for the dog. In case this seems extra, cover the dog with a thick blanket during the night.
Another option is purchasing a heat mat. Heat mats come with different instructions since there are mats that require not having direct contact with the dogs since they produce excess heat, thus giving it some thermal burns. For such mats, they require an extra layer of a blanket to secure the body.
At Amazon.com you will get a quality and affordable mat. WarmShe Pet Bed Mat is the best option for your dog this coming winter. The best thing about this mat is that you can purchase it for your cats, dogs, or kittens. The mat is very light, hence one can easily pack it for outdoor homes. The size is large enough to accommodate the dog (34 by 24.5 inches). The color of the mat is quite amazing (coffee) hence it does not require regular washing.
10. Proper grooming and inspection
During winters, the furs of dogs tend to tangle. In addition to this, these mats thus prevent your dog from retaining heat during the cold season. No matter how good your nutrition and heating is, the dog will lose heat at the slightest change in weather.
The cold weather is also capable of making the dog’s coat drier. To prevent such conditions, regularly brush the fur to disentangle and allow the natural oils to flow throughout the body to offer a protective layer to the body.
As the autumn winds begin to grow colder, people will rush to stores to purchase warm clothes for themselves. During this season, the outdoor dogs prepare themselves by developing a thick skin to protect it from the harsh weather. Either way, the thick coat is not enough thus the need to intervene. Despite the cold weather, some people still prefer keeping the dogs outside. If you are this person, be prepared to secure your dog by following the aforementioned tips.
The cold weather has killed many forsaken dogs after developing respiratory problems. Additionally, the dogs tend to look physically and mentally ill if proper care is not given to them. It is as simple as putting on warm clothes. Your dog looks up to you to make it comfortable. Make prior preparations for this before the winter falls.
Author Bio: This article was published as a guest contribution on behalf of Authentic Dogs. Visit their website to get more information.