Dogs in cold weather can experience the same issues that humans do when in cold temperatures. Keeping your dog warm and safe when out in the elements is vital to their health and well being.
There are several conditions you should be aware of as a pet parent. Knowing what to look for and basic treatment could potentially save your dog’s life.
Just like their human counterparts, dogs can get frostbite. Regardless of the amount or thickness of hair, any dog could end up with it. Thankfully, frostbite it not usually a fatal condition if it is recognized and treated quickly. If you are concerned that your furbaby has frostbite, look for pale skin or skin that has a blue-like color. The area that is affected by frostbite can also form ice. If that area is touched, you may notice a brittle feel to it.
Once your dog’s skin is warmed back up to temperature, blisters, ulcers or peeling skin are all possibilities. If your dog does get frostbite, warm a towel in the dryer or with a hairdryer and apply to the area that is affected. Never place direct heat, using a heater or hair dryer for example, directly on your dog. The area needs to be warmed slowly. Always follow up with your vet afterward to ensure there are no side effects.
Hypothermia can potentially occur to dogs in cold weather for too long. Shivering, pale skin or lethargy are all symptoms of hypothermia. Hypothermia can quickly happen if your dog is exposed to severely cold temperatures, especially while having wet fur. Hypothermia can become fatal in dogs, so immediate care must be taken.
If your dog is experiencing symptoms, get your dog wrapped in blankets or towels heated in the dryer. Next, get a hot water bottle on your dog’s abdomen or a heating pad that is on the lowest setting. Always get in touch with your vet to discuss further actions or schedule a post checkup.
Similar to a human cold, kennel cough is highly contagious. It is typically the result of the inflammation of the bronchial tubes. A dog that has a constant cough or a watery discharge coming out of their nose may need to be treated. The treatment that comes with kennel cough depends on exactly how bad of a case it is. Sometimes just rest and getting lots of water will be the cure. Other cases will require medication. Almost all the above illnesses can be prevented by limiting your dog’s time in cold weather. Opt for shorter leashes for more controlled walks. Also, be aware of other dangers such as chemical snow melts, road salt, and antifreeze.
There is also cold weather gear, such as coats, sweaters, and boots, to help keep your dog warm while outside. As always, make sure your pet has a comfortable collar and up-to-date ID tags. Cold weather is the worst time of year to potentially lose a pet.
Always pay attention to the temperature and only keep your dogs in cold weather a limited amount of time. If there is snow on the ground, keep outside time to a minimum. Also, plan outdoor activities around getting your dog inside relatively quickly. Don’t be afraid to enjoy the winter with your dog. There are so many fun and memorable activities that both you and your pup can share. Keeping everyone warm and dry will make sure your dog doesn’t suffer afterward. Whenever in doubt about how long to walk your dog in the snow or cold, hiring a professional dog walker is a safe option. Don’t forget to invest in outdoor gear to keep your dog safe all winter long.
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