November 10, 2010

Winter Care for Dogs

Filed under: Winter Pet Care — Dr. Amber Reed @ 4:12 pm

As the winter approaches, the temperature drops and we experience the nastiest weather Mother Nature has to offer.  Even breeds of dogs that come from wintry climates can struggle to adjust to the cooler temperatures, the snow and ice, and the shorter days.  As such, the winter season brings with it the necessity to provide your dog with extra care, beyond a simple shelter.

Outside dogs are obviously not going to be immune to the weather changes.  Especially for older dogs, the colder temperatures can be very difficult to bear.  Medical conditions like arthritis are usually worse during the winter and dogs will need access to warmth, shelter, food, and water.  Still, whenever the temperatures drop below freezing, you should bring your dogs inside.  Even dogs that spend the vast majority of their time in the outdoors will need to be kept warm or they may develop hypothermia and could possibly die.

During winter, you can use a heated water bowl to prevent water from freezing.  In addition, if you plan to leave your dog outdoors, you need to increase your dog’s food rations.  When cold, dogs and humans alike burn more energy and as a result we need more calories.  Most importantly, shelter is crucial.  Whether they are looking for somewhere to escape the wind, snow, or rain, outdoor dogs will benefit from a well-insulated shelter where they can stay warm and dry.  These shelters should also have some kind of insulated flooring so your dog is not sitting or sleeping on the cold ground.

You may also consider dressing your dog for the weather.  Dog coats can provide added warmth and can be purchased in a wide range of sizes.  Also, keep your dog’s paws clean.  During the winter, we often salt our driveways and walkways to prevent the formation of ice; but this salt can dry and crack your dogs paws and as such can be very painful.  At the end of the day though, you have one very important responsibility.  Keep your dog warm.

About Dr. Amber Reed

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