How to Care for Dogs in the Winter
During the winter months, the days are colder and shorter. Dropping temperatures can be detrimental to dogs that are left outside. Although dogs are covered in fur, they are not protected from freezing temperatures. Whether you’re worried about your own pup or a stray in your neighborhood these helpful tips will help you keep your furry friends safe and warm all winter long!
Keep dogs indoors
It’s best to keep dogs inside during the cold winter months. You should still take your dog on walks to let out some of that bottled up energy, but you may want to protect the sensitive pads on the bottom of their feet. There are a variety of booties on the market that are designed to easily slip over your dog’s paws and protect them from the bitter cold. You will also still need to take your dog outside to use the bathroom unless you decide to use potty pads instead.
If your dog is used to staying outside, transitioning to staying inside can be difficult. It is best to slowly introduce coming inside and gradually work up to always staying indoors before it gets too cold. If you have a stubborn dog that insists on going outside, make sure to bring them in when it gets dark and the temperature begins to drop. With a little help, your dog should adjust to the warm indoors without a problem!
Try dressing your dog in a sweater or coat if they have a thin coat of fur or just seem bothered by the cold. Make sure you have enough sweaters and coats that your dog can wear a dry one everytime they go outside. If you dress your dog in a damp or wet sweater, they will actually become much colder. Your pup will be the warmest, most fashionable pup on the block with a warm coat and matching booties on!
Make sure shelters are available
If you are unable to bring your dog inside, it is important that you provide a warm shelter for them to stay in. Insulate their shelter with straw and Mylar blankets. Avoid using hay, towels, newspaper and other materials that absorb moisture. These materials can actually make the shelter colder. Shelters retain the most heat if they are not placed directly on the ground and have a flap covering the door. Appropriate shelters can be found at your local pet supply store or can be made pretty easily!
Leave out extra food and water
Eating extra calories and packing on extra weight can help dogs stay warm. Make sure you keep extra dry food and water outside of their shelter. Don’t put it inside of the shelter to avoid water spills. This would inadvertently cause their shelter to become much colder. With freezing temperature, you must be sure that your dog’s water does not freeze. You can store water in a solar-powered or pet safe heated bowl to keep it warm. If you don’t have access to heated bowls, it’s best to keep water in a deep, thick plastic container to prevent freezing. Place it a few inches off the ground, if possible, to keep the water warmer, longer. Change the water daily and check that it hasn’t frozen at least twice a day.
These tips should help you keep your outdoor dogs warm, safe, and happy this winter!