How to take care of your pet in the Winter season?
Just like us, for some, it is a delight to wake up to those chilly mornings and for some, it is a horror. Dogs have the same love-hate relationship with winters. Some fur buddies thrive in the cold chills, while some shiver and dread the frost. It all depends upon the layers of fur your dog has. So first thing we must understand as pet parents is what kind of fur does your furry have and then accordingly you should indulge in your pet care according to the season.
Winter season differs from dog to dog, the care you need to provide a Husky is not the same as the care you provide a Chihuahua. So prior knowledge and research of the breed is the first step to go about, whether the question is about their nutrition or their health. The second step goes along the individual temperament, environment and health of a dog.
Broadly, there are a few factors that you need to check before deciding if your dog needs an extra layer or not.
Breed Size is an important marker, for it has a direct impact on the closeness of the body from the ground. The closer the body is to the ground, the colder it gets. A larger surface area protects the body from the cold weather, due to more volume. So small breeds are at higher risk to feel the chills than the larger breed dogs.
However, this does not mean that large breed dogs cannot feel cold at all. Other factors come into play.
For example, A Dalmatian has a very thin layer of coat, which makes it highly prone to catching a cold.
A fur coat is an in-built comforter in dogs. So even if they do not wear anything, they still have their coat to protect them. Now you realise why your dog feels shy when their coat is shaved or getting cut.
The difference lies in the layer of the fur coat. Some dogs have double layer fur, while some have single layer fur.
Single-layer of fur is good to maintain a balanced body temperature at moderate temperature. But as the temperature goes down, their fur fails them the adequate warmth. Hence they require an extra layer of protection from the chilly weather.
On the other hand, a double layer of fur is perfect for the winter season. Generally, dogs that were bred near the poles adapted to develop a double layer of fur. These dogs do not require a layer of protection unless the conditions have become inhumane.
It is only logical that if your dog is not physically well, it has more chances to catch a cold. Even the existing diseases are aggravated in the season, like hip dysplasia and arthritis. So as a safety measure, pet parents should be ready with their dog’s clothing well in advance.
Puppyhood and Senior age is a sensitive age for a dog, as the body cannot regulate its body temperature. So a puppy or senior dog should either avoid going out or go with a layer of clothing on them.
On the same lines, weight also functions to decipher if your dog needs an extra layer. An underweight dog is prone to catch a cold faster than a dog that has more mass on its body. Since the chilly waves directly affect the internal parts of the body if there is not enough flesh on the body structure.
A 10-20 minute bathroom essential walk would not pose any grave effect on the dog. In and out in the season for small escalations is not an issue, but if you are planning to take your dog out for the whole day, then an extra layer of protection is a must.
For reference, we provide you with a chart that suggests if you should take your dog out in the winter season depending upon the breed size and temperature.
Signs that your dog has caught cold
Whining, shivering, weakness or slow breathing are still visible and common symptoms that can be easily spotted by a pet parent. Frostbite and Hypothermia are symptoms that are specially connected with the winter season.
In the winter season, the body fights the weather by accumulating blood in their belly area. This deprives the corners of the body from bloodflow. Thus ears, paws and tails are at high risk of frostbites.
Cracked paws are also a marker for cold stricken bodies. Dog boots are a great antidote to such a situation.
Hypothermia is a situation in which a dog’s temperature continuously depletes due to long exposure to chilly or snowy weather.
India’s climate ranges from extremely hot to extremely cold environments. So there is no appropriate dog that can become a choice of every region in the country. But one cannot neglect
How can you help your dog?
It is best to avoid the prime of the weather but get out of the house to bask in some sunlight. This will not dull the dog and restore the body temperature too.
Since the dog is going to extensively at home, pet-proofing is necessary. Do not leave any wire or unnecessary material at home.
There’s no alternative to additional coverage for your dog. Make sure you assess the weather and then choose the extra layer of protection as per the requirement. Sweaters, hoodies, jackets, pullovers are all effective and good looking options for adding warmth to the pet’s body.
Paw balm or petroleum jelly acts as a lubricant between the paws and the surface it touches. It heals the cracked surface of the paw and prevents any further damage.
The way beds become comfortable and lazy zones in the winter, dog beds also provide the same comfort and warmth to your dog. A bed that is a little above the ground makes for a great option for additional warmth.
Along with this, make sure that the bed is not kept adjacent to a shaft. This would defy the purpose of warmth.
If for some reason your dog has fallen sick or has gotten shaved, you need to allow them into your in-house bathroom. This is an important aspect in saving your dog at a time when their health is already sensitive. A dog can not learn a habit in a day, so you need to develop this habit of indoor bathroom from the beginning.
When more weight is a remedy to reduce the harsh effects of winter weather, then food becomes an important marker. As mentioned in the blog, good fats add to the body of a dog rather than harm. In the winter season, the body needs extra calories so it gives the body more energy to fight the atrocities of the weather.
Winter season calls for various challenges for our pets. Since we explore options for our winter wear, it’s time you explore products that will keep your pet warm. These seven ways will give an understanding of how better you can care for your pet especially during winters.