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Caring for dogs in the cold

Caring for Dogs in cold, icy, and snowy conditions


Ensure your furry friends are well-protected and equipped with the knowledge to thrive in cold, icy, or snowy conditions. Let's explore some essential considerations and tips for keeping our canine companions happy and healthy amidst the winter wonderland.


Understanding the Risks:

Snow brings not only a drop in temperature but also changes the environment and its surfaces. This can pose challenges for dogs, particularly those with specific vulnerabilities.


Body Composition Matters: Smaller or lean breeds, with lower body fat and shorter coats, are more susceptible to the cold. Additionally, shorter-legged dogs face increased exposure due to their proximity to the chilly ground.


Medical Conditions Impact Mobility: Dogs with medical conditions such as arthritis may struggle with mobility in the snow. Additionally, those with health issues might struggle to regulate their body temperature effectively.


Breathing Difficulties in Brachiocephalic Breeds: Short-faced breeds may experience breathing difficulties in colder temperatures as their narrower airways constrict further. It's crucial to be mindful of their respiratory well-being during snowy outings.


Keeping Dogs Warm and Dry:

Like humans, dogs may struggle to regulate their body temperatures, especially the young or elderly. To minimise the risk of hypothermia and frostbite, consider the following:


Invest in a Waterproof Coat: Equip your dog with a waterproof coat to maintain body temperature and keep them dry during snowy excursions.


Limit Outdoor Exposure: Reduce the time spent in the cold and avoid activities like swimming, which can leave your dog wet and susceptible to the cold.


Dry and Cosy Retreat Indoors: Ensure your dog is thoroughly dried off upon returning indoors and provide a warm and cosy resting place.


Exercising Responsibly:

Snow can be a novel experience for some dogs, so responsible exercise is critical to their safety and enjoyment.

  • Pre-Exercise Massage: Gently massage your dog's leg muscles before exercise to keep them warm and flexible.
  • Brief and Consistent Walks: Keep walks brief, maintaining consistent movement to prevent your dog from getting too cold.
  • Microchip Details and Visibility: Update your pet's microchip details and consider a reflective or flashing collar for enhanced visibility in reduced light conditions.

Foot Care:

  • Check your dog's paws for snow or grit.
  • Wipe them down after walks.
  • Inspect for ice balls, especially in longer-haired breeds.

Avoid Antifreeze: Avoid ingesting antifreeze, which is highly toxic to dogs.

Ensuring our pets are warm, dry, and safe in snowy conditions is crucial for their comfort and well-being. 

Author: Emma Webb / Posted: January 16th 2024
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