A freezing attack: Despite their fur, dogs feel just as cold in winter as their owner. This is how you protect your four-legged friend from freezing cold:
When your dog trembles like aspen leaves, dogs and their owners lose the joy of walking. Your dog shows so unmistakably that he is cold. Even if they got thick fur instead of scarf and snowsuit, many dog breeds freeze in snow and sub-zero temperatures. In the case of hypothermia, they can also catch a cold and get respiratory infections like kennel cough.
How does a dog regulate its body temperature?
Dogs cool their body temperature in hot weather by panting and warm themselves in cold weather by their insulating fur and blood circulation. During the change of coat in fall, the undercoat thickens and keeps the dog warm. Breeds that do not experience a coat change, like hypoallergenic dogs, do not freeze to death by their body’s own combustion engine: the blood circulation.
With minus degrees, an additional protection against cold is therefore recommended with some dog-races as with the owner. At low temperatures, most dog breeds can survive outside for about 30 minutes without problems. Beyond that it could become frosty. To keep dogs nice and warm even in winter, there are some warming aids.
1Cold protection dog clothing
When your dog shivers, only a winter coat helps. Especially delicate, short-legged small dogs (whose belly is very close to the ground like Yorkshire Terrier, Shi Tzu, Chihuahuas, Maltese, Dachshund), hairless or short-haired dogs (which have no undercoat and little topcoat like greyhounds), older or sick animals are more susceptible to cold than robust dog bodies. They are happy about warming coats.
Dog coats are available in all sizes, colors, and shapes – even for puppies. Especially in the dirty weather months, you should pay attention to a water-repellent jacket. This not only protects against cold but also against wetness. It is important to have breathable dog coats so that the four-legged friend does not sweat.
Tip: Products such as dog blankets with a practical click fastener on the belly are not only quicker and easier to put on but do not restrict the four-legged friend as much as real dog sweaters do to slip them on.
2Attention, furry frostbite: Dangers in the snow
Since there are no dog hats and our furry friend would also defend himself against it, especially the tips of ears and tail should be observed during frost. If they feel cold, tarnish white/grey or red and feel hard and dry, it could be frostbite. In this case, immediately wrap the dog with blankets and take it to the vet.
To protect the paws from snow, ice, and road salt, so-called booties can be put on. With long-haired dogs lumps of ice can form in the hair between the toes, so that they suddenly begin to lame.
If your dog does not want to wear booties, keep the coat between the pads as short as possible (see paw care in winter), rinse the paws with warm water after a snow walk, and protect them from ice and road salt with Vaseline or milking grease.
3Proper coat care in frosty months
Even if it seems most logical to leave the fur to its wild growth in winter, because thick fur is like a thick coat, after all, there is a misbelief behind it. Although the coat should not be cut or trimmed in winter (except of course between the paws, on the belly, to avoid urine sticking to the male dog and around the eyes), the coat must be brushed daily, especially in long-haired dogs, so that no felt can develop. Felted hair does not protect against snow and does not insulate ideally in cold weather.
Dog baths should only be taken in the winter months when necessary and in the evening so that the coat can dry through for one night. Walks with a damp, semi-dry coat should be avoided. By the way, too much shampoo damages the greasy layer of the skin, which is especially needed in dry heated air or in the cold.
4Protect from the cold with the right nutrition
Especially in winter, the dog’s metabolism consumes a lot of energy to keep the body warm and to brave the cold. Therefore, always replenish the energy balance and provide plenty of fuel for body heat. Especially during the cold season, make sure that the furry snout eats regularly.
5Hands off the snowball food!
Frolicking in the snow, catching snowballs with your mouth, and snatching snow is fun, but also damages the dog’s stomach. Sensitive Fiffis can easily get stomach upset, stomach cramps or even snow gastritis with bloody diarrhea and vomiting.
The road salt in the snow can also cause irritation of the stomach lining. A large bowl of water before the winter walk will help to prevent your furry nose from becoming thirsty and tempted.
In general: In sub-zero temperatures keep the walks as short as possible and if your four-legged friend likes to spend a lot of time outside in winter, he should always keep moving so that his little body does not get cold and he catches a cold.
Do you have any other tips about how to keep your dog warm in winter? Let us know your ideas in the comment section.