Winter is here, and along with it comes numb fingers, red noses, and freezing ears. When it gets below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, dogs are susceptible to frostbite and other illnesses or injuries that are brought on by cold temperatures. It’s important to be educated and prepared to care for your pup in extreme temperatures. Here are some things to pay attention to when it comes to caring for your dog during the winter.
Know the signs of frostbite. If you struggle with getting your dog out of the snow, then it’s important to understand the signs of frostbite. According to the Veterinary Emergency Group, there are a few telltale signs: skin turning blue, cold to the touch, pain and swelling, blisters, blackened skin, and symptoms showing up on their paws, tail or ears. If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, get him into an emergency vet right away. While frostbite is not usually a life-threatening situation, if it’s not cared for, it can lead to hypothermia, which can be devastating for your dog.
It’s all about the coat! Not all dogs are the same, which is why it’s so important to know what kind of fur your dog has. Dogs with double-layered coats, such as Huskies or Newfoundland’s, fare well in the cold. However, dogs with extremely thin coats, such as Great Danes or Greyhounds, are not well-prepared to handle the cold. The amount of time these dogs can handle in extremely cold temperatures are very different.
Use paw-safe ice melters: Applying pet-safe ice melters to snow-filled driveways or sidewalks near your home is a great way to ensure that your furbabies can get a better grip on the ground, without any harsh chemicals. This will make daily walks safer and more efficient, amounting to less time spent in the cold. Although these products are pet safe, dogs should still be prevented from eating ice melt when out on walks and all ice melters should be kept out of your pet’s reach in the home.
Have a prevention plan. It’s impossible to keep your dog inside for months when it’s cold outside, so a great way to keep your pup warm is to invest in a dog coat or sweater, and dog booties. The booties will keep your pup’s pattering paws warm, which is especially important since paws are one of the most susceptible parts for frostbite. Another great tip is to make sure your dog is dry before taking her for a walk in the cold, because dogs are more susceptible to frostbite if they are wet. Lastly, monitoring the temperature, wind chill, dampness, and, most importantly, signs from your dog is essential for prevention. Pay close attention and react quickly if you think something is wrong!
Remember to pay close attention to your pup and monitor your dog’s time outside. Plus, now you have an excuse to get those adorable sweaters and booties for your dog. Maybe you can even find matching ones for yourself, and then you’ll be the cutest, warmest, and safest pet and pet parent duo on winter walks this year!