As cool weather approaches, you’re prepared to stay indoors with the hot air cranked up, layers of clothes on, and the fireplace roaring, with your puppy safely sleeping on a blanket. Before you curl up to a holiday movie, revisit some ideas of how to best keep your dog safe during winter. Extra cuddles and hugs aren’t enough to keep your pup safe from the consequences of cold weather. Sadly, risks of hypothermia increase for pets when weather gets icy. Protect your dog. Follow a few simple tips to encourage your dog’s good health.
Watch Out For Ice
When I was a kid, I lived on a 7-acre old cow farm, which is currently a horse farm, that had a big lake. Living in Burns, Tennessee, I had an outdoor dog – a coydog, part coyote and part dog, named Happy. As the Tennessee winter turned cold, the lake would always freeze even when there wasn’t any snow. On a chilly day around 1997, I remember waking up to see my coydog Happy running across the frozen lake to chase some geese. Luckily, Happy returned home unharmed. My most pressing concern and tip would be that if you have a lake on your property, keep your dog on a leash on days when water freezes. Your dog could fall through the frozen ice and become unable to escape from the water. Closely monitor your dog’s actions outdoors on days when your lake freezes.
Check The Water Bowl For Ice
If you have an outdoor dog, your pet’s water bowl can sit outside frozen for days unnoticed if you aren’t careful. Living on farmland in Tennessee, where I helped till the soil for a field full of vegetables as a kid, I always fed my pets on the front porch or near the barn. If your pets are very self-sufficient living in your yard, always give some extra care during winter months. Double check that the water bowl has fresh water daily. If your pet doesn’t have fresh water provided by you, it could drink water polluted with chemicals.
Dress Your Pet Warmer
If you have a small dog, bundle your pet in a sweater to help some with the cold weather. Dogs lose heat mostly through the pads of their feet. Several online stores sell dog winter boots, which can help prevent the loss of heat. Dogs can lose heat through their ears too, so go ahead and purchase a dog winter hat. Putting your dog in warm clothes can’t prevent hypothermia, so always keep a close eye on your dog’s behavior. Unusual behavior can be a sign of hypothermia. For older dogs, keep outside walks short, as older dogs can show more signs of aging during winter.