It would be easier if our canine companions could tell us if they were cold, but since we can’t really interpret their woofs, here are some top tips to ensure your pooch is warm, snug, and safe during the colder weeks.
Do dogs get cold?
Just because dogs have fur it doesn’t necessarily mean that their coats will keep them warm during every season of the year. Your dog’s breed, age, thickness or length of their coat, and height are all important factors when it comes to feeling the cold.
Remember: Your dog’s ears, nose, tail, and paws are more exposed than the rest of their body, regardless of coat length.
How to tell if your dog is cold
A dog’s response to being cold is much like our own, displaying physical signs when they might be feeling the chill. Things to look out for include:
- Curling up into a ball
- Seeking warmth
- Acting weak or lethargic
- Cold to touch
How can I keep my dog warm?
Spend more time indoors
While dogs will still need to be exercised and taken for walks when it’s cold, these should be shorter and more frequent if possible. This way, you can avoid exposing your pooch to too much cold, allowing the two of you to get home and back to the warmth as quickly as possible.
Wrap up for walks
A thermal or fleece-lined jacket can help provide your dog with an extra layer. Coats with reflective details can also help you keep track of your pooch as the darker days draw in.
Keep them dry
Things take a little longer to dry when it’s cold, and the same applies to your dog’s coat. If they need a bath or have been running around in puddles while out on walks, make sure you help them dry with a towel.
To keep your dog warm and entertained, you could play fetch, tug-of-war, hide and seek, or even incorporate your stairs into some runs.
A soft bed and plenty of blankets can provide your pooch with plenty of warmth during the winter. However, if your dog sleeps in a particularly cold part of the house, why not consider buying a draught excluder to stop any warm air from central heating from escaping from their area?
Warm their food
Adding some warm water or stock to your dog’s food will help keep them warm. Always make sure that it’s not too hot for your pooch, and don’t be tempted to microwave your pet’s meal, as it can cause more harm than good.
Remember: Avoid any stock that contains any ingredients like onion or garlic, as these are toxic for your dog.
How to keep your dog warm at night
To keep your dog warm at night, it’s best to elevate their bed if possible, as the cold ground can make it much harder to keep warm. You could consider getting a self-warming pet mat, which is designed to retain your dog’s body heat so they keep themselves warm, or one with a removable microwaveable heating pad.
If you’re feeling the colder weather too, why not let your dog sleep with you or in a crate in your room so that you’re able to stay warm together?
Other important winter safety tips for your dog
Try and start your walks nice and slow to give your dog’s muscles a chance to warm up. On particularly chilly days, consider exercising your pup indoors.
Snow and ice can hurt their paws, potentially chapping, cracking, or even wounding their pads, causing a lot of discomfort. Canine boots can protect their paws if you live in colder areas with regular snowfall.
Wash your dog’s paws after every walk to stop them from being harmed by toxic grit salt or other chemicals laid to de-ice the road.
Beware of open fires both inside and outside your home. You should never leave your dog unattended around a fire, and always ensure you use a safety screen to keep your pet as far away as possible, even when you are around.
Keep antifreeze out of reach and out of sight, as it’s extremely toxic to dogs.
Keep using tick and flea treatments to help keep them safe from the pesky parasites, as they can survive in colder temperatures! And heating will bring any fleas out at home too 🙁
For more advice on ways to keep your dog happy, healthy, and warm during the winter months, speak to your vet.