It doesn’t matter what breed your dog is; there is no amount of fur that can protect them from the chilling wind and icy temperature of winter. While you can keep yourself warm with hot chocolate and a fuzzy blanket, dogs aren’t as lucky. For one, chocolate is bad for them, and two, a blanket may not be enough to keep them warm if they have to stay outdoors.
Know Your Dogs
Some breeds are great for winter. Bernese Mountain, Newfoundland, Saint Bernard, Shiba Inu, and Komondor are made for cold temperatures. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t need to bundle up when the temperature falls below the freezing point. Knowing the tolerance level of your dogs for cold temperature will help you decide the perfect approach to protect them. Like people, dogs also suffer from frostbites, flu, and inflamed tonsils caused by the cold weather.
Wash Them with Warm Water
In summer, your dogs crave the icy cold water when they take a bath. They may even jump into the pool with you. That’s not true during winter. They want a warm bath. And no, you cannot skip winter to wash your dogs. They will feel infinitely better if they wash away the dirt from their fur.
Before winter sets in, you can ready your bathrooms by having a water heater installation. They don’t need the water scalding hot, but they do need it to be warm. If you have two or more washrooms, you can use the one on the first floor exclusively for your dogs to take a bath in.
Keep Them Indoors
There’s not enough heating and fur in the world to keep your dogs safe and warm during winter. Keep them indoors for this season, at least. Generally, dogs are happy to be outdoors (even pet dogs). For winter, give them a corner in the kitchen to cuddle up when it gets freezing. If someone in the house is allergic to pet dander, make sure to never let the dogs get past the garage or the dirty kitchen.
However, if, for any reason, you cannot let your dogs stay indoors, make sure that the doghouse is properly insulated. To do this, raise the floor of the doghouse at least four inches off the ground. Put straws underneath the floor to prevent cold from getting into the house. You can also put straw on the roof.
Bundle Them Up
Keep your dogs bundled up during winter. There are specialized fur coats for dogs that will give them the warmth they need during this cold season. Even if your dogs have a thick coat, this is not enough to keep them warm. They should have shoes, too, because they can also suffer from hypothermia and frostbite. Also, rock salt and other chemicals used to melt snow can be dangerous for your dogs. If they don’t have feet cover, at least wipe their paws after letting them go for a walk outside.
Feed and Hydrate Them
During winter, dogs should have as much access to water as in summer. Some pet owners mistakenly think that dogs don’t need that much water when it’s cold. They should always have access to clean and unfrozen water. There are specialized heating water bowls designed for dogs. Some dogs can also change their diet during winter to keep their metabolism up. However, check with your vet before letting your dogs eat more.
Remember that keeping dogs warm during winter will reduce the chances of them getting sick. They’ll also enjoy this season more as they can frolic in the snow and still be warm inside your home. Dogs, after all, are family, so treat them properly.