How to keep your dog safe in cold weather

If you live in a place where winter temperatures drop below freezing you need to be aware of some concerns that may face your canine companion. While all dogs are descendants of wolves that does not mean they are prepared for the cold sting of winter. Young dogs, old dogs, and breeds with short, or no, hair, will need even more attention and care in these cold times.

HOUSE DOGS

Many pet dogs are kept inside, going out only for bathroom breaks and walks. So you might not think these dogs require any special winter care, but they do. Houses are typically cooler in the winter, so a small dog who is kept clipped, might require a dog sweater when in the house. The winter air tends to be drier in most places. Your dog will be affected by this, and may experience more dander problems. Dander problems may be helped by more grooming or better food, (one with no filler such as by-products). Having a humidifier in the house may help alleviate some of these problems. Some dogs may experience respiratory problems in the winter, you should consult a veterinarian if your dog exhibits problems breathing.

Sometimes people are surprised when their dog starts shedding at the beginning of winter. This, however, is typical for many dog breeds, you can either spend many days vigorously brushing the loose hair out, or take the dog to a groomer to have them “blow out” the coat. At this time you should have the dog groomer trim the straggly hairs on the dogs’ tummy, legs, and tail. These hairs tend to catch snow which may form balls that will pull on the dogs’ skin.

OUTSIDE DOGS

A dog who spends most, or all, of his time outside certainly needs a warm dog house. The dog house should be large enough for the dog to stand up and turn around in, but not much larger than that. Too big of a house will lose too much heat. The door way needs to be just big enough for the dog to enter and exit, and should face away from the wind. The dog house should have an insulated bottom and be raised off the ground, so that snow does not blow into it. The sides and top should be insulated as well. You should put straw, or blankets, down as bedding. Wooden dog houses are warmer than plastic ones, but wood cannot be properly disinfected. In extremely cold areas you can have a 25 or 40 watt light bulb inside, to help keep the dog house warm, making sure it is protected behind a wire cage, and that all wiring is safe for outdoor use in cold weather. An alternative to a dog house would be access

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