Despite the popular misunderstanding, fur alone is not enough to protect dogs from the elements. The fact is that, much like people, dogs have varying degrees of tolerance when it comes to temperature extremes. Even the hardiest breeds are susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite. Fortunately, hypothermia and frostbite can be easy to evade by taking a few precautions:
Talk to your vet about cold weather protection
Arthritis might worsen in the cold months because of the direct effect of the cold which can cause increased stiffness, and because the cold frequently brings icy/slippery streets and sidewalks. Before it gets to be wintertime your dog should have a checkup. Having your dog checked by a veterinarian can help ensure that problems don’t worsen when the temperature drops.
Know your dog’s cold tolerance
Although all dogs are at risk in the cold weather, some are better equipped to handle it than others. Huskies and other breeds from cold climates are certainly going to be more comfortable than other dogs, such as the Italian Greyhounds. Also consider that old, young, wet dogs or dogs with thinner coats are at a greater risk of getting hypothermia and/or frostbite.
Take shorter walks with your dogs
Winter is a great time to get closer to your pets. They want to be inside with you where it’s warm. Short, frequent walks are preferable to extended walks during this time of year The winter is the perfect time to enter your dog into daycare so that he can burn off excess energy in a safe and social place. Don’t forget about playtime at home either, dogs love to chase a plush toy through the hallways.
Antifreeze is a common cold weather poison but not the only one to be aware of: road salt and rodent poisons are also used with greater frequency during this time of year.
Dogs may also lick their paws after a walk. Every time you come inside with your dog you should dry his feet thoroughly with a towel to be sure he has not tracked in any dangerous chemicals.
Try clothing layers for warmth
For small dogs sweaters are not a joke, they’re actually very important during the cold weather. Small dogs have a larger surface area for their body weight and benefit greatly not only from a warm shirt but also from booties. Don’t leave your dog inside of a parked car
It’s important when grooming your dog during the winter. Taking too much hair off will mean he has less to keep him warm; leaving too much on will make brushing more difficult and could lead to matted hair. Ask your veterinarian how often he recommends grooming based on your breed of dog.