As winter approaches, you need to think about keeping your dog warm.
Norwegian Elkhounds rejoice when winter approaches. Who doesn’t love playing in the snow?
Chihuahuas, for one! With their tiny bodies and short fur, they aren’t going to enjoy the snow nearly as much.
Like humans, different dogs can respond differently to winter. Obviously, dogs with a lot of thick fur and more fat and muscle are better able to adjust to cold, harsh weather. Smaller dogs and short-haired breeds aren’t necessarily able to do so. Also, unlike humans, they can’t tell us when they’re cold. So, it’s up to us to watch for clues, such as shivering, whining, crying, or asking to come inside.
According to the ASPCA,
Pay attention to body language: when we’re cold, we hunch our shoulders, cross our arms over ourselves, and blow on our hands to warm them. Watch for the canine equivalents. Body language behaviors your dog might display when they are too cold include standing with their backs hunched and tail tucked in to conserve body heat, or they may be curled up tightly licking their paws. Cold ears are another indicator that a dog is too cold.
Know your dog. Winter can be hard on some breeds, in particular, especially short-haired and hairless dogs like the Chinese Crested. If you’re cold when you go outside in a light jacket, then your short-haired dog beside you will likely be cold, too.
Larger dogs with little body fat also chill quickly. Racing dogs like whippets and greyhounds, and any dog who has lost weight for any reason, are particularly susceptible.
Height is another factor to consider when it comes to keeping your dog warm. Snow presents a special challenge to the lowriders. For example, Dachshunds and Corgis don’t like dragging their bare bellies through snow any more than anyone else would, especially when it forms icy clumps in their coats.
Just like humans, the very young and the very old are most at risk in freezing temperatures and need special attention. So be especially attentive to puppies and senior dogs when you’re out in the cold.
Limping, listlessness, and stiffness may be early signs of hypothermia and should be addressed quickly. If your dog displays any of those symptoms, be sure to bring him inside to somewhere warm, towel him dry, remove any ice and snow from his coat and between his foot pads, and make sure he has enough to eat and drink.
No matter how much he loves the cold, or how magnificent her winter coat is, all dogs need extra attention in the winter. Keep yours safe and well with:
- A warm sweater or jacket, and booties
- Extra food during cold winter months – they need the extra energy to stay warm enough
- Shorter, more frequent walks, while watching for signs of discomfort
- A comfortable bed in a warm place indoors
- Coconut oil or non-toxic balm on their noses and foot pads
Finally, always keep an eye on the weather forecasts. Extreme cold, precipitation, and winds can all put a dog in danger when outside. Bring them in!