How to keep your dog healthy during winter
As the temperature outside gets colder, some dogs will show little or no interest in anything. Some dogs love to have fun in the snow while some dogs tend to be less active so they can conserve energy for thermo regulation. Does your dog love snow and ice? Or would your dog rather cuddle up on his bed under a cozy blanket? Either way, their needs will be different when the weather changes. Some dogs get sick during winter season and require extra care so you should be prepared to protect your dog before winter comes. Keeping them warm, avoiding seasonal hazards and winter walks can all be problematic, so below are some tips for your dog to keep him safe, comfortable and healthy during the winter months.
Prevent winter health risks.
Frostbite and Hypothermia are two serious cold weather conditions that you should pay attention to. Frostbite is not immediately obvious so make sure you watch out for signs of pale or grey skin; your dog’s skin may also turn hard and cold. Ice crystals can form in the tissue and damage it when your dog gets too cold. It can also be extremely painful when the frostbitten areas starts to warm. Hypothermia occurs when a dog gets wet in the cold temperatures, spends too much time in the cold or when dogs with poor health and circulation are exposed to cold. Dog will shiver, the ears and feet may grow cold and as hypothermia progresses, the dog may show signs of weakness, lethargy and depression. Worse conditions includes muscle stiffness, slow heartbeat rates and unresponsive to stimuli. Severe hypothermia is life threatening. Make sure you recognize the signs when your dog needs to come indoors to warm up to prevent this two winter health risks.
Limit outdoor exposure
During extremely cold weather, you and your dog can stick to short walks or exercise periods. And if your dog must be outside, make sure to provide your dog adequate shelter – a place that is dry and warm and blocks them from the cold weather conditions. Inside of your home is the best place for your pet if the temperatures are low. Remember that a dog’s fur coat can only do so much when it’s cold outside.
Keep your pet hydrated
During winter months, the air both inside and outside homes becomes drier so be sure to provide your pet with plenty of fresh and clean water so they stay hydrated and keep them out from skin conditions like flaky skin or if their coat appears overly oily. Visit a veterinarian if you notice any of this.
Be sure your pet is up to date on all vaccines. You might also want to consider a canine flu vaccine for your dog. Dogs exposed to other dogs are at risk for contracting a virus if the other dog is sick. A vaccine is one of the simplest ways to prevent avoidable illness.
Keep your pet active
Finding safe ways to play inside like teaching your dog new tricks is very important to keep your pet healthy. Training is a great way to helps relieve your dog’s boredom. And it may surprise you at how much energy your dog will burn off simply by adding a few short training sessions to his day.
Give your dog natural dog chews and treats
Chewing is a natural dog behavior and can provide mental stimulation, relieves anxiety and satisfies your dogs’ natural urge to chew. Giving your dog natural dog treats can be a good activity with many health benefits, especially during the less active winter months.
Take care of their paws
Dogs can be exposed to salt, ice or toxic chemicals when they go outside so be sure to wipe their paws each time they have been outside and always keep your pet’s paws clean and dry.
Change in your pet’s diet
Due to changes in activity levels of your dog, your dog’s appetite may also change. It is important to pay close attention to their eating habits, a change in your pet’s diet may be necessary. Be sure to consult your veterinarian before making changes in your pet’s diet.
Small pets and elderly pets
Small pets may need to wear a sweater especially made for their size to keep them warm. Colder temperatures can make arthritis and other physical conditions harder for our elderly pets so make sure you give them extra care.