During the winter season, you probably spend a good amount of time protecting your home, plants, and family from the colder temperatures and wintry precipitation. Unfortunately, you may be forgetting about your pets. Even when outdoors in a short period of time, freezing temperatures can cause your dog to experience frostbite. From a heavy shaking and shivering to tissue discoloration and painful swelling, the signs of frostbite can cause your dog a great deal of discomfort. Thankfully, you can protect your dog from the colder temperatures and wintry precipitation using these simple tips.
Limit Outdoor Time
Every dog is different, so your dog may be able to withstand cold temperatures for longer than another dog breed. However, when temperatures are low, you should limit your dog's time outdoors.
Dogs with thick coats have the most tolerance to the cold weather. Smaller, thinner dogs will be most affected by the cold, so the amount of body fat your dog has is also an indicator of how much cold they can withstand.
Once temperatures dip 20 degrees or below, all dogs should spend less time outdoors.
Dress your Dog Appropriately
No matter what type of coat your dog has, consider dressing them in a sweater or coat before heading outside to use the bathroom.
This protective piece of clothing may seem silly, but it will offer enormous protection from hypothermia and frostbite while your dog is outside during the colder temperatures.
In addition to a sweater or coat, let your dog wear specialized booties to protect their paws. The booties will reduce direct contact between your dog's paws and the cold surfaces, sleet, snow, and ice. Applying a thin layer to the paws can stimulate blood circulation, which keeps your dog's paws warmer.
Keep your Dog Dry
If possible, wait for the rain, sleet, snow, and ice to stop falling before bringing your dog outside for a bathroom break. This will prevent them from getting and staying damp. If your dog remains damp, their internal body temperature will drop. This leads to hypothermia, which can be deadly.
If your dog is damp after their bathroom break, spend a good amount of time drying them off with warm towels. Make sure to check their bedding and dry it off, as well, since they may rest in it immediately after being outdoors.
Wash Off Salt
Even though you want to keep your dog dry when it is cold, you should wash their paws after being outdoors in the sleet, snow, or ice.
In most parts of the country, salt is applied to roads, sidewalks, and other hard surfaces during the winter to help melt snow and ice. This salt will build up on your dog's paws after a short walk. Unfortunately, your dog may attempt to lick the salt and icy residue off, which can make them sick.
After a walk outdoors, wash your dog's paws off with warm water. Use a clean, warm towel to dry off their paws after washing.
Also, give your dog fresh water to drink in case they have already attempted to clean some of the residue from their paws.
Feed Them a Little More
Colder temperatures will cause your dog to use more calories because they will be using more energy to stay warm. Consider increasing the amount of food you give your dog during the colder temperatures.
Avoid feeding your dog unhealthy food and snacks. This is the best way to keep your dog healthy during the cold seasons without allowing them to gain an excess amount of weight.
Avoiding the winter season and cold temperatures is not possible, but you can protect your dog from hypothermia and frostbite. To learn more tips on protecting your dog from the cold, talk to pet hospital like Baywood Animal Hospital today.