When the cold weather is approaching fast, you need to be ready! And, this year, while we make our preparations for chillier days and nights, let’s consider making our dogs’ needs a top priority. Our dogs get cold just like we do, after all, and unlike us, they can’t verbalize their discomfort, which leaves it up to us to keep them as warm and comfortable as possible.
Of course, the winter can also be a lot of fun for a dog, since many canines enjoy playing in the snow. The question now is, how can you ensure your furry companion has fun as the temperatures drop while staying happy, healthy, and cozy? Let’s find out.
Why Do Some Dogs Need to Be More Prepared for the Winter Than Others?
All dogs are capable of getting cold, but some are more vulnerable to potential health problems due to cold exposure than others. Certain breeds, for example, haven’t been acclimated to our climate for long enough to be able to sustain cold, heavy winters, as seen by their coats which stay thin all year long (chihuahuas are a prime example).
Besides breed, other factors are involved, like the thickness of their coat, their size, and their body fat percentage. Naturally, the thinner and smaller the dog, and the shorter and thinner their coat, the more winter protection they need in order to avoid being uncomfortable in cold weather – and of course, avoiding hypothermia. Plus, senior dogs, puppies, and dogs who have health conditions are more susceptible to dangers caused by cold exposure, as their bodies are not as equipped to regulate temperature. And, in the case of canines with health problems, they could be immunocompromised (having a weak immune system).
Tips for Allowing Your Dog to Enjoy the Cold Weather in a Proper and Safe Manner
Like the fall season, with any changing season comes a new host of priorities that pertain to your dog’s health, happiness, and comfort. We mean, without those three things, there is no possible way your pet to enjoy the crisp fall weather.
Tip #1: Make Sure There are Warm Areas for Your Dog to Sleep Indoors
As a rule of thumb, if you need to wear socks to walk across your floor comfortably without your feet getting cold, it’s safe to assume that the floor is far too cold for your dog to sleep on. A good majority of us don’t really think about how cold or warm our dog’s favorite sleeping spots are, but it’s easy to understand that like us, our canines want to snuggle up without feeling chilly while they rest.
Fortunately, you can find plenty of snuggly, warm beds to place throughout the house and some nice doggy blankets for those very frosty mornings and nights. Make sure that you have a warm sleeping spot in any room that they like to sleep in, so that no matter what room they’re in, they can be totally comfortable.
Tip #2: Be Mindful of Their Outdoor Time
In general, dogs start to get uncomfortable when the temperature drops to 45 degrees Fahrenheit, and anything below 32 degrees is actually considered potentially dangerous. Even if the temperature isn’t dangerous to your dog, you’ll still want to be extra mindful of how much time they spend outdoors. Dogs can get hypothermia if they’re exposed to low temperatures for too long, and it’s every bit as dangerous for them as it is for us.
There is no rule of thumb when it comes to how long a dog should be out for in the cold, since there are too many factors to consider, like their weight, body fat, coat, breed, and whether or not there’s a direct sun in your yard. But, essentially, if it’s too cold for you to stay outside, you should be additionally careful when it comes to how long you let your dog(s) play outdoors.
Tip #3: Invest in a Doggy Sweater or Jacket
A doggy sweater or jacket isn’t just a way to dress them up and make them look exceptionally cute for a day. Many breeds actually all but require them if they’re going to spend any time outdoors because their breed isn’t accustomed to the climate where they live. Some specific breeds that need to wear a warm layer of clothing when outdoors in the cold include greyhounds, chihuahuas, whippets, Yorkshire terriers, and smooth-haired dachshunds. Be certain the coat or sweater you buy is made from high-quality, warm material, and fits them comfortably so that they can still play without feeling inhibited.
Tip #4: Pay Extra Attention to Their Paws
The pads of your dog’s paws are delicate, and in the cold seasons of the year, you will need to monitor them closely. We recommend that each time they come indoors after being outside, you carefully inspect their paw pads for cuts or scrapes, which can come from stepping on sharp objects hidden beneath the snow, as well as signs of dryness and cracking that comes from exposure to the dry, frigid air. Also, keep in mind that a dog’s paw pads can become frostbitten, especially if your furry friend is spending added time outside, such as standing on hard surfaces like pavement.
Tip #5: Accommodate Their Changing Appetite
It’s a dog’s instinct to eat more during the cold months, to compensate for a lack of prey outdoors, and to stay warm. Most dogs do actually benefit from getting in more calories each day, since they need them to sustain their energy levels during cold and dark days. So, if your dog is showing you clear signs that he or she is still consistently hungry after their meals, go ahead and talk to your vet about increasing how much food they get on a daily basis.
Tip #6: Continue Administering Their Daily Serving of CBD
Of course, there is no reason to stop giving your dog their daily servings of CBD as the weather gets chillier. In fact, winter comes with all kinds of new ways in which your beloved furry friend can benefit from a daily serving of hemp. Dogs who have arthritis may find that their joints get stiffer when the air becomes dry and cold, and so that serving of CBD oil or a CBD doggy treat could potentially help them manage their discomfort. And, dogs who get stressed out when they have to spend more time indoors may find relief from their anxiety through the soothing properties of cannabidiol, which aid in regulating the nervous system. Chill Paws carries a variety of CBD dog treats and oils that are made exclusively for your furry companions, with plant-based ingredients and only the finest, purest lab-tested hemp extracts.
When the Weather Gets Real Cold, Time to Reassess Your Dog’s Needs
Our dogs need just as much special attention and care as the rest of the family when the temperatures get chilly. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to ensure that they’re comfortable and healthy as we get closer to winter. If it’s getting cold where you live, incorporate these tips into your dog’s routine, and know that you’re being a good pet parent by making their seasonal needs a priority.