Winter is coming, in many parts of the world. Our pets need to be warm. If you have a dog that lives outside, you’ll need to start preparing for the cold weather. Start with this guide to keeping outside dogs warm in winter.
The Ultimate Pet Owner’s Guide to Keeping Outside Dogs Warm in Winter
Temperatures are starting to fall, and some parts of the country have seen snow already. If you live in a cold climate, you are probably getting your home and family ready for the winter months. Don’t forget your dog!
While indoor pets can stay cozy by the heater or fireplace, keeping outside dogs warm in winter can be a challenge. Even if your dog likes the cold, it’s important to pay attention if you want to keep Rover happy and healthy.
Here are a few tips to make sure your pet is well protected in arctic weather.
Winter Clothing for Dogs
Many dogs resist wearing clothes, but when the temperatures fall below zero, even the furriest animals need an extra layer. Soon your pup will get used to his warm coat when he realizes it is keeping him from freezing.
The paw pads of outdoor animals are also sensitive to extreme cold as well. Booties or other coverings can prevent animals from getting frostbite or blisters on their feet.
Boots can also protect your pet against chemicals like the ethylene glycol found in antifreeze, coolants, and road salts. These substances can be poisonous if your dog tries to lick them off his paw pads.
Again, any kind of clothing usually takes pets some getting used to, but it’s better than the alternative.
Like kids, pets may run and play in the snow until they are literally blue. In the same way that your dog may get heatstroke in extreme heat, she is also susceptible to frostbite or hypothermia in extreme cold.
Hypothermia is a life-threatening condition that can result from extended exposure to cold. Its symptoms include shivering, shallow breathing, weak pulse, and lethargy. If you see your dog exhibiting these signs, get him inside immediately and call the vet.
Frostbite can cause injury to a canine’s ears, tails, scrotum or feet. If you see blisters or swelling on these body parts, get your dog medical attention.
Winterized Dog Houses
If your dog refuses to come inside no matter what the weather, think about adding some features to his outdoor shelter.
There are several ways of heating a dog house in winter, depending on your budget. You can add features like a heater, solar panels, a heated dog bed or heated floor panels.
You might also consider a pre-built dog house custom designed for your pet’s particular needs.
Bring Them Inside
If it is too cold out for a human, it is too cold outside for an animal. Even if you (or your spouse) are not fond of having your pets inside, if the temperatures are below freezing, consider making an indoor bed for your pet.
Some animals may have trouble sleeping, especially in a location to which they are not accustomed. Make a nest somewhere warm and dry, away from a lot of activity. Sometimes the corner of a heated garage will do.
Feed Them Well
Keep animals well insulated by feeding them lots of protein. A healthy diet will keep their fur thick and maintain enough body fat to keep warm them outside. They need extra calories if they are going to be running around outside in sub-zero weather.
Keeping Outside Dogs Warm in Winter: Worth the Effort
If you need dogs outside to work on your farm or keep your property secure, you want to make sure they are healthy enough to do their job. If your pet simply prefers the great outdoors, you want what is best for him as well.
Make sure your dog has protection throughout the winter months. If you have more questions about keeping outside dogs warm in winter, contact your vet or check out our other articles.
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