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How to Protect Your Dog From The Cold

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When it gets very cold, there are plenty of seasonal activities to look forward to, like sledding, snow angels, and snowball fights. But as the season starts to get chilly, don’t forget to take care of your dog.

Cold weather like rain, sleet, frigid wind, and snow can be dangerous to dogs. This is why pet owners need to take measures to ensure that their dogs are protected from the cold this winter season.

Follow these cold-weather tips to protect your dog in the snow.

dog running through snow

#1: Keep Your Pet Warm and Dry

You might be wondering: is it cruel to keep a dog outside during frigid weather?

To put it simply: cold environments are dangerous for dogs, even famous winter dogs. Leaving your dog out in the cold is a violation of pet safety. As they say: if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for them. Bring your pets inside when it’s cold.

Once it gets cold out, it’s time to start using the locking cover on your Dragon Pet Door to prevent your dog from going outside when the temperature drops too low. Make sure you towel off your dog every time they come back inside as well.

(Cold Weather Safety Tip: the toxic chemicals like ethylene glycol found in antifreeze, coolants, and road salt that is used to melt snow on pavements can lead to poisoning if consumed, so make sure you wipe down your dog’s paws whenever they come inside).

We strongly recommend bringing outdoor pets inside during the winter months, but if you have to leave your dog outside, make sure they have shelter. A dog house is a great idea as long as it can prevent wind and water from getting inside (a magnetic pet door over the entrance is a great solution) and it is elevated off the ground to prevent heat loss. Do not install a heater, as unsupervised use may lead to a fire.

dog using pet door in snow

#2: Bundle Up For The Cold

You would never leave the house during the wintertime without a coat. So make sure you don’t have a cold dog by bundling them up during the winter.

For smaller, short-haired dogs, especially those acclimated to warmer weather, you can dress them in a warm coat made for dogs as well. Specially-made socks or booties are great for protecting dog paws in the winter.

For longer-haired dogs, especially for cold weather dog breeds, do not trim or shave their fur. Their hair is long enough to insulate them from the cold, so they wouldn’t need any additional winter clothes.

You should also avoid washing your pet during the winter, as shed fur and body oil can add extra protection to the cold.

#3: Don’t Leave Your Dog In the Car

By now, you should be aware that leaving your dog in the car during warm months is extremely dangerous, as the temperature of your car can heat up to that of an oven.

The same is true for the winter cold. Your car can hold onto the cold to the point where the inside can become a refrigerator. Any pet left inside is at a high risk of freezing to death. If you’re going to run errands during the winter, it’s best to either take your pet inside with you or leave them at home.

dog standing in snow by door

#4: Watch For Hyperthermia and Frostbite

Frostbite and hyperthermia are two winter conditions that can be extremely harmful to dogs. For your dog’s safety, you need to be on the lookout for symptoms whenever the temperature dips below 20 degrees Fahrenheit or -7 degrees Celsius.

Hyperthermia in dogs can appear as the following symptoms:

  • Excessive or heavy panting, as well as a racing heart rate
  • Dark red gums
  • Excessive drooling
  • Warm to the touch and a red flush in the skin
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, or black tarry stool
  • Collapse
  • Coma

If your dog has any of these symptoms, take them to a vet immediately. Hyperthermia can lead to other conditions like organ failure and can result in death.

#5: Watch Where Your Dog Plays

While it’s best to keep your dog inside as much as possible during the winter, sometimes they need to be let out to burn off some energy or do their business.

When that happens, make sure that there is an area in your backyard cleared of any snow. If you can, take your dog outside on leash to make sure they are not straying off the path or jumping into snowbanks or puddles. You will also need to make sure they stay far away from sources of heat, like campfires and outdoor furnaces.

Keeping these winter pet safety tips in mind, the wintertime can be a far safer time of year for your pets. Your furry friend can now enjoy the snow as much as you do.

For more pet care tips and techniques, check out these related blog posts:

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