How to Keep Your Dog Safe in the Cold
The cold weather can be extremely hazardous for dogs and can cause serious risks to their health when temperatures drop to sub-zero levels. Here are five essential tips on how to keep your dog safe, happy and well during extreme weather...
1. Layer Up
Your dog can feel the cold in extreme temperatures just like you, especially if they have a thinner coat, so it’s worth investing in a warm and waterproof coat to wear on walks during the winter months.
Breeds that may struggle when temperatures dip include small dogs such as Chihuahuas and Yorkshire Terriers. Thin-haired breeds including Greyhounds and Great Danes also struggle to maintain their body heat and will benefit from a cosy extra layer, whereas a Siberian Husky or Alaskan Malamute with a naturally thick coat can tolerate the cold and will usually manage to stay warm without any extra protection.
2. If it’s too low, don’t go!
If the temperature drops below -7, then all dogs are potentially at risk from frostbite and hypothermia although large dogs with thicker coats can generally cope better with extreme dips and may be able to tolerate a short 20 minute walk. Take into account that the wind chill can make it feel much colder than it actually is, so use common sense and play indoors with your dog if you’re in any doubt.
If you’re walking your dog in sleet or snow, watch out for signs of hypothermia and dry your fluffy friend with a towel as soon as you finish your walk - wet fur combined with extreme cold temperatures can cause your dog’s temperature to drop really quickly.
3. Signs to look out for
If you’re on a walk with your dog and they start shivering, whining, or licking their paws, then that’s a clear sign your dog is uncomfortable and it’s best to head back home. Signs of hypothermia include shaking, lethargic, dilated pupils, and a low heart rate. If your dog is showing any of these signs, then you must wrap them up in a warm towel or blanket and seek immediate assistance from your local vet.
4. Don’t leave them in the car
As everyone knows, you should never leave your dog in the car during the summer months as the temperature in the car is always much higher than the temperature outside. In the winter, your car won’t overheat, however the temperature in the car can often be the same as the temperature of a refrigerator. Therefore, you should never leave your dog in the car over the winter months, as it can increase the risk of them becoming unwell and potentially getting hypothermia.
5. Check their paws!
Dogs love to run around, however if there is ice snow and grit on the ground it can often wear down their pads. This can be painful and uncomfortable for your dog. In addition to this, it’s very common for their nose to become dry, cracked and bleed during the winter months from being out in the cold air. One way of preventing this from happening is to buy some nose and paw balm for your pooch. This will keep their paws and nose moisturised during those cooler months and prevent any cracking.
We also stock comforting hot water bottles, as well as travel mugs to keep your drinks hotter for longer on your winter walks and soft and absorbent towels that are perfect for drying off your dog after walks outside.