A Guide on How to Keep A Dog Warm in Winter
Keeping a dog warm in winter may sound easy enough – for one, we live in Arkansas, not Alaska – but winter can still pose serious health and safety hazards to our fur babies. From time to time in the Natural State, we see snow and ice storms in our winter months. However, freezing temperatures alone come with their own risks. Here’s how you can be proactive with your fur babe’s health and comfort this winter.
3 Winter Health Risks to Know
Frostbite can occur if our furry family is exposed to below freezing conditions, including low temperatures and windchill. Dogs’ ears, tail, and paws are most at risk for frostbite as the body pulls blood away from their furry extremities.
Frostbite can occur when ice crystals begin to form on the skin, damaging healthy doggo skin. For this reason, dogs should be supervised when playing outside in freezing temperatures. A good rule of thumb to follow is if you are ready to go back inside, your dog is probably ready, too.
Hypothermia can occur in dogs when their body temperature drops too much due to frigid weather, being wet and cold, or because they have poor circulation and are extra sensitive to the winter elements.
As a watchful dawg owner, it is important to know the signs of hypothermia in dogs. Hypothermia can begin as shivering and having cold ears or paws. Hypothermia can progress into lethargic movements, slowed breathing and heart rate. Dogs should not be left outside during the winter as they are at risk of hypothermia.
Fortunately for our Arkansas dawgs, we offer indoor play yards in addition to our outdoor areas at all of our locations. It’s of utmost importance to us that your pup stays warm, dry and happy all day at the Lounge.
While the cold poses risks to our fur babes, heat sources can pose burn risks as well. Fire pits, fireplaces and space heaters should be used with care and made inaccessible to your dog during the winter.
Adopt safety measures to keep your fur babies safe such as always using a fireplace screen, leaving your dog inside while using a firepit, and not leaving a space heater on and unsupervised with your pooch. While we want to keep our furry friends warm, we also want to make sure they are safe from indoor and outdoor heat exposure.
How to Keep a Dog Warm, Safe, and Dry
Cold Temperatures May Call For Additional Coats
While some dogs have lusciously thick coats to insulate them in harsh winter weather, others may have fur more comparable to a light fall jacket. Us hoomans wouldn’t wear only a jacket out in frigid temperatures, so plan accordingly for your dog!
A doggie coat should protect your pup’s neck and belly from the winter elements. It should also have a snug fit but not be too tight. External coats should extend the length of his or her back. Coats for your woof can be found on Amazon or at your local pet supply store.
You might consider getting your fur babe a coat if:
- They are a small or toy breed such as a Chihuahua
- Their body sits low to the ground like a Corgi
- They are lean-bodied with short hair such as a Weimaraner
- Your pooch is in his or her senior years or is a young puppy, in which they may have more trouble regulating their body temperature
Skin and Fur Care
If you notice your furry fam is itchier than normal, their skin may be drying out due to the cold, wintery air. As a responsible dog mom or dad, you can help keep their scratching to a minimum by setting up a humidifier in your home and reducing bath frequencies in the winter months.
Hounds Lounge Pet Resort and Spa also offers a mud bath to help with dry and itchy winter doggie skin. Mud baths for your pooch include mud, essential oils, minerals and moisturizers. Mud acts as a natural and safe exfoliant to remove dry, flaky skin. You can schedule a mud bath at your nearest location here or call us for more information.
Your dog’s paws may take the brunt of the winter weather during your walks outside. Icy and salty sidewalks can harm your dog’s paws with frostbite, chemical burns and irritation. Antifreeze that leaks from vehicles on the road or even in your garage is very toxic to woofs. Be proactive about the health of your pooch’s paws by washing and drying them thoroughly after each walk. If your dog ingests antifreeze, they will need emergency medical attention.
Should it snow or ice this winter, make sure to keep your dog’s paw fur well-trimmed as ice will get stuck between paw pads, causing more irritation and discomfort. If your dog must be walked, try to go when the sun is still out and have your pooch wear a doggie coat and booties to protect his feet.
Your dog’s nails may also become more brittle in the cold weather, becoming more susceptible to breaking. By keeping your pup’s nails appropriately trimmed, you can avoid broken puppy nails and bleeding. If you’re feeling extra merry this holiday season, get your pooch a spa day at Hounds Lounge and treat your pup to a luxurious Vanilla & Oatmeal Pawdicure. Hoomans can earn bonus points with their woofs by scheduling a pawdicure here.
Safe Exercising During the Winter
By gearing up with coats and super cute dog booties, you can be sure your pup is ready to rock on all winter long. By exercising during the day in the sunlight, staying extra dry and warm, and avoiding excessively cold temperatures, you can continue to bond and love your fur baby.
If you’re feeling pressed for time or it’s too cold to make it for a walk yourself, you can always drop off your pooch for a full day (12 hours) or half-day (6 hours) of doggie daycare at Hounds Lounge. Reservations are not required and each location features indoor as well as outdoor play yards where your pup can romp around, staying safe and warm.
Extra Bedding for Cold Nights
We all know the comfort that comes with nestling into our hooman beds with ample blankets during the winter. Let your fur babe enjoy a nice cozy bed with extra layers this winter as well. The ground in your home can be cooler in the winter, so be sure fido has something especially cozy to snuggle up on during these chilly months.
Senior and Puppy Care
Senior dogs may need extra help staying warm this winter. The cold, much like humans, can make arthritis or suppressed immune systems worse. Keep your older dog healthy, comfortable, and loved by minimizing time outdoors, wearing a coat outside if needed and watching them ensure their aches and pains aren’t acting up too badly.
Puppies also require special care during the winter. Puppies, like older dogs, can’t regulate their body temperature as well as adult dogs. Keeping your young pup inside will also help them stay healthy during their early life before they are fully vaccinated. You can read more about safe puppy socialization here.
Your car becomes cold like a refrigerator at night in the below-freezing temperatures of Arkansas winters. Much like summer safety, it is not safe to leave your dog in your car during the winter. Hypothermia is still a concern, even if they are inside a car.
While you can never be too careful when it comes to the health and safety of your pooch, it is important to keep their comfort in mind during the winter months of the year. By ensuring your dog is warm, safe, and dry, you can be sure that they are happily enjoying the quality time indoors with you and the rest of your family.
Do you have more ideas about how to keep your dog warm during winter? Let us know by commenting on our Facebook post.