For many regions across the country winter is just around the corner which means freezing temperatures and lots of snow. Southern states may not see a wintery storm but they too experience reduced temperatures and chilly nights. During winter months it is important to understand that your dog feels the cold as much as you do especially small breeds with short hair or shaved hair. Older dogs may feel the cold more than younger dogs as well. One way to know if your dog is cold is when they shiver, similar to how we would shiver when we are cold. Dogs may also begin to walk more slowly if they are experiencing discomfort in their paws from the colder temperatures.
The best way to protect your dog from the cooler temperatures is to invest in warm dog clothing or waterproof coverings. There are so many variations, sizes and styles available so it would be easy to find the right one for your dog during the winter months. Dog boots are also a popular item for people with dogs in areas where they do receive snow and precipitation. Dog boots can help protect your dog’s paws from the ice and snow but also from the salt that is sometimes used on sidewalks and roads to help melt ice. These types of chemicals can be very irritating to your dog’s paws and with reduced temperatures it can be very uncomfortable for your dog.
During the winter months it is best to take your dog for shorter walks to help reduce the risk of over exposure to colder temperatures and the possibility of hypothermia. There are many activities you can do inside as well to keep your dog active and entertained.
At home have a cozy place for your dog to rest that is warm and comfortable. Try to avoid having your dog sleep near door openings or areas in the home with drafts. When entering the home after a walk outside be sure to dry their paws and remove any snow or ice that may have built up on the hair under their paws. Keeping your dogs paws well groomed and the hair short underneath their paws will help prevent ice and snow sticking to their hair.
Overall use common sense when it comes to taking your dog out in the cold. If you are cold, there is a good chance they will be cold too.