The cold season is approaching and responsible owners are faced with the question of how to help their pet survive the winter with the least health consequences.
There are few options for action in this case, but they are all quite simple to perform. At the same time, adequate protection of the pet in harsh winter conditions will certainly help to avoid serious problems in the coming season and in the future.
The main problem of the winter season, of course, is possible hypothermia while staying outside. For urban dogs, another one is added to it – the impact on the paws of chemical reagents and salt, which are sprinkled on roads for better snowmelt. But from all this, the dog is easy to protect.
Hypothermia threatens, first of all, dogs of small breeds, or short-haired (or even hairless) Pets. However, even those dogs whose coat allows them to survive frosts may freeze protruding parts of the body (paws, ears, nose, tail, penis in males). The easiest way to protect yourself in this case is to choose adequate clothing for winter walks.
For a long time, no one is surprised by dogs dressed in overalls, sweaters, vests. It is only important to remember that dog clothing is primarily functional, not a status item. Therefore, the overall should be matched to the size. It should not restrict the movement of the dog, but too loose, clinging to all the clothes – also not the best option. Therefore, if you pick up clothes in a pet store, it is better to come there with the dog.
In severe frosts, it is better to dress up even long-haired dogs. In order to go for a walk several times when it is very cold, even an ordinary human sweater is suitable, it can be pulled over the head and front legs, and if it is large enough, it can be fixed on the back in the area of the tail. If possible, with small and hairless dogs in severe cold weather, it is better to refuse to walk at all.
To protect your paws from hypothermia, there are special shoes for dogs. However, really good dog shoes with anti – slip soles are not cheap, and in more budget options, there is a high risk that the dog will slip on snow and ice, and as a result will get an injury to the paw or back.
A simpler way to protect your paws is to use a special paw wax or a wax – based cream. A jar of this cream is not expensive at all, and the beeswax, fats and paraffin included in it form a waterproof fat film on the paw.
This, firstly, helps to retain heat, and secondly, protects the skin of the pads of paws and fingers from the harmful effects of salt and reagents that dissolve snow. The skin on the paws dries and cracks less.
To apply the wax before a walk, just put your paws on the surface of the cream in the jar. After the walk, the paws will need to be wiped with a wet cloth to remove the remaining film.
Ears, nose, and penis are harder to protect. The culture of using hats and scarves for dogs is not very developed yet, although you can find them on sale. There are also overalls with hoods, but not all dogs agree to wear something on their heads.
Therefore, when walking in the cold, the owner should more closely monitor the condition of these parts of the dog’s body. Perhaps it makes sense to activate the actions of the dog on a walk, outdoor games will not allow the dog to freeze. Active movement on walks at the very beginning of winter at the same time will help the dog to adapt more easily to changes in weather conditions.
In addition, the owner should remember that in winter the dog moves mainly on relatively soft ground (snow), therefore, the claws are worn off worse than in summer. Overgrown claws can also lead to injuries to the back and limbs if the dog slides on them on ice. Therefore, you need to monitor the claws and trim them in a timely manner.
In the cold season, you should pay attention to the diet of the dog. Energy consumption for heat generation increases, and this consumption requires additional power. Therefore, in winter it is better to transfer the dog to food with a higher protein content, or increase the amount of meat in the diet for dogs that eat natural food. Of course, if a high-protein diet is not contraindicated for the dog’s health.
Another aspect of winter keeping a dog is to create comfortable conditions for the dog in the apartment. This is not difficult – just make sure that the dog does not have to lie on a cold floor, as well as provide it with warm bedding. And make sure that the dog’s place is not in a draft, otherwise the dog may catch a cold, even without going outside.