Winter pet care tips – Part 1

We have three small dogs; a Daschund, Rat Terrier, and Shih Tzu. Gaia, our Shih Tzu, is the only one with a long coat. So, she is able to tolerate the winter months a little better than our other two, which have smooth coats. In fact, her breed was very popular with Tibetan Monks, a place which has frigid temperatures and heavy snows. Our winter routine with our dogs starts by paying close attention to outside temperatures. Our dogs love to go outside and would stay out for hours if we let them. However, living in a northern state, freezing temperatures are a fact of life. When the temperature drops below 20 degrees, our dogs are given just enough time to do their business and are immediately called back in. As well, when traveling with them in the winter, we warm our vehicle before leaving and make sure our dogs remain covered with a blanket until they completely warmed inside the vehicle. We do pay close attention to foot pads on our dogs in the winter, making sure they do not crack. But, since our dogs are built very close to the ground, we pay particular attention to their stomach area and ears. Our Daschund will quickly lose heat through his long ears and stomach, being about three inches off ground.

Our dogs don’t really increase their food intake in the winter. But, water is our second major concern. Though our dogs are primarily inside pets, they are still exposed to more dry heat in the house during the winter and the risk dehydration. Typically, we fill their water dish four to fives times a day during the really cold months, about a two quart bowl. To also combat some of dry heat in the house, we set the house temperature at about 72 to 75 degrees, which seems to be comfortable for everyone. One sunny days, we also open up a three-season porch to let in some of the sun’s warmth. The dogs love to sit out in the porch and soak up the rays in the afternoon.

With attention paid to your dog’s breed, it’s personal tolerance for cold, and dehydration risks, you and your dog(s)can enjoy much of the winter season.

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