Dog care in winter - How to care for a dog in winter?
Dogs love to play in snow and ice and their needs change depending on the weather.
Winter walks with the dog
On colder days, it is worth remembering to protect the dog's paws. After a walk, remove snow and ice from between your dog's pads to get rid of excess moisture that can cause inflammation. Be careful with salt and other preparations for removing ice and snow on roads and paths - they can irritate the dog's paws and even bleed.
When it gets cold, do not forget to bring a warm suit or dog clothes, especially if it has a short coat, is a senior or has health problems.
It happens that during a winter walk, the dog will lick or eat some snow. Many owners wonder if eating snow is harmful to the animal's health. It's good to know that ice is not poisonous to dogs, but it can be chewing and, worse, cause tooth damage. If the dog eats a small amount of ice, it will be okay. More sharp pieces of ice can significantly affect a dog's dental health.
The defroster is not a toy for the dog
Dogs are naturally inquisitive and eager to try new things, so the sweet taste of the antifreeze may be tempting to them. They'd love to lick him if he was within their reach. The de-icing fluid is toxic and can be fatal if ingested, so keep it out of reach of your dog. If your dog comes into contact with liquids or other chemicals, see your veterinarian immediately.
Frostbites in a dog
Dogs exposed to very cold temperatures can develop frostbite. It is worth knowing that frostbitten skin is gray or black in color and is cold to the touch. If your dog is affected by frostbite, it is only natural that you want to help him as soon as possible. However, remember not to rub the affected areas - this way you can damage the diseased tissue even more. For more information on frostbite and caring for your dog in winter, contact your veterinarian.
Feeding dogs in winter
A well-fed dog is better adapted to cold weather. If your pet spends a lot of time outside, it is worth taking care of his nutritional needs.
If your dog is active and loves to play outdoors, give him more food, it will have more energy and he can handle the cold better. The needs of a dog that is exposed to low temperatures increase even several times, although for our pets it is usually enough to give 1/3 more of the food. If your dog seems to need even more energy, consult its diet with an animal nutritionist or veterinarian. Sometimes it is enough to reach for food for active dogs, available at a pet store, e.g. Purina® Dog Chow® Active or food grade such as. Friskies® Active.
On the other hand, dogs that spend more time at home do not need as many calories as active dogs and are less demanding in terms of grooming. For more information on dogs' caloric requirements in winter, contact your veterinarian.
Frozen water in a dog's bowl
If you keep your dog's water bowl outside during freezing weather, remember to change it frequently and add fresh water up to several times a day. Otherwise, the water will freeze and the dog will not be able to quench its thirst.
You can have a heated dog water bowl, especially if you live in a country with harsh winters. However, remember that the heated bowl should also be checked regularly to make sure that the water in it has not frozen.
It is also worth taking care of at least one hot meal given to the dog during the day. If you keep your dog's water bowl outside, change the water several times and it still freezes, it's time to let your pet in, especially if it doesn't have a thick undercoat. If the dog lives in the kennel make sure it is insulated, not standing directly on the ground, protects the dog from wind and is waterproof.
Hypothermia in a dog
Hypothermia most commonly affects dogs who have spent a lot of time outside in dangerously cold temperatures. A dog's size, breed and age are the main factors in determining the amount of time a given dog can spend outside in cold weather. And so for all dogs, even those with thick undercoat, the temperature below 10 degrees Celsius is already below the optimal limit, so each dog should be provided with adequate shelter. Do not ignore the typical symptoms of hypothermia. When your dog starts shaking or loses consciousness, this could be a sign of hypothermia. In this case, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.