When temperatures plummet your almost furless best friend is likely to notice the temperature change as much or more than you. Although your short haired dog might need to wear a sweater or scarf there some easy ways for you to make sure they are safe and comfortable during the winter.
Visit your Local Vet
Cold weather, particularly for short haired older dogs, can exacerbate existing health issues. In particular, chronic conditions may rapidly deteriorate in older dogs when temperatures fall include:
- Canine influenza
- Hip Dysplasia
- Luxating Patella
If you live in a particularly cold climate, your dog older than seven years, and/or your dog suffers from these chronic conditions, you should schedule an appointment at a clinic like Bijou Animal Hospital P.C. before winter sets in.
Short haired canine breeds lack the fur and often the body fat needed to keep them warm during the winter. When you leave them outside for any extended amount of time you will want provide your dog with a dry and protected space. Although this space may not be heated, it must be dry and protected from the wind. Additionally, you will also want to make sure that you set out a heated water bowl to ensure that your dog has access to water. It can be dangerous (and potentially illegally depending on your local laws) to leave your dog outside over night during cold winter nights.
It's important for your dog to exercise throughout the year, even during the coldest winter months. Here are some quick tips for safety and comfortably walking your short haired pooch during the winter:
- Coat - coats specifically tailored to short haired breeds of dogs are readily available in most pet store in cold climates. When choosing a coat for you pet you should look for a coat that fits snuggly over pooch's back but doesn't inhibit normal gait. It's important try your coat on before taking your dog for a walk to prevent potential blistering and chaffing issues.
- Paws - your dog's paws are often the most susceptible during the winter. Snow, ice, frozen debris, salt, and gravel can create small lacerations on your dog's paws. Because the cold numbs their paws, they often won't be alerted to the pain until well after the run. After every walk, particularly in snow, you should clean between your dog's paw pads and toes with a warm, wet, cloth. While you're cleaning, you should look for any cuts or abrasions.
- Hydrate - even in the cold, your dog still needs to stay hydrated. If undertaking an extended jaunt you should make sure that you bring water for your dog to drink on your excursion.
Winter creates unique challenges for short haired dogs. One way to help your dog safely negotiate the winter is to feed them slightly different chow throughout the coldest months of the year. Diets higher in fat and protein can help them add a little layer of insulation and muscle mass.
Pet owners know the dangers of leaving their dogs in hot cars during the summer. Conversely, a hot car can quickly turn into a freezing ice box in a matter of moments in frigid conditions. Even if you nestle your dog in blankets or put a coat of them, you should never keep a dog in a cold car overnight.
Local vets know that your dog is an important part of your family. If you have a short haired breed of dog and live in a cold climate you need to make sure that your dog is safe and cozy even win the needle on the thermometer plunges.