How to keep your dog warm in winter. Better to clear the field of misunderstandings and false myths: contrary to what many think, the hair does not always protect our four-legged friends. There are breeds that better tolerate low temperatures, due to physical conformation and habit, but in general the cold, as well as temperature changes and drafts, is the enemy of dogs.
How to keep your dog warm in winter
Our pets are, like cats, homeotherms, that is, capable of maintaining a constant body temperature even with varying temperatures, but they suffer from the drop in the mercury column. Therefore, it is better for our dog to stay outside as little as possible in winter : if he lives at home with us it will be necessary to change his habits and reduce walks, if instead he spends the night outdoors, it will be better to use precautions so that he does not run risks.
Here are some useful tips to better manage the most traumatic of seasonal changes.
WHICH DOGS CAN STAND THE COLD BEST?
Before even breeding, it is better to distinguish our four-legged friends by age: puppies and the elderly are more sensitive to drops in temperature, vice versa young and adult dogs, stronger, are more resistant to cold. The main reason is that the little dogs, up to two weeks old, have not yet developed normal body heat (they spend most of the day in contact with each other, to keep each other warm), while the old a general weakening of the physique. The same applies to those who are sick or more prone to pathologies.
Another important feature to consider is the size : the smaller dog will be more sensitive, the medium-large one less.
Likewise the coat : the presence of undercoat is an indication of better resistance to cold.
THE WINTER-PROOF BREEDS AND THE COLDEST ONES
Having made the necessary physical and structural differentiations, it is also possible to make distinctions based on the breed of the dog. It is proven that some are more resistant and others less: this does not mean that if, if our dog belongs to the first category, it can be subjected to all the elements! It would be almost impossible to list all the breeds, so it is better to group them based on some characteristics.
They are more accustomed and familiar with the winter season:
- Nordic dogs , more or less all: for example the Husky, the Alaskan Malamud, the Norwegian Behind, the Terra nova, the Finnish Spitz, the Finnish Lapphund, the Keeshond, the Samoyed.
- The guard specimens : the Caucasian Shepherd, the Maremma, the Anatolian Shepherd, the Bernese Mountain Dog.
- Mountain dogs , such as the Saint Bernard, the Leonberg, the Tibetan Mastiff, the Pyrenean Dog.
- All wolf dogs , including the German Shepherd.
- Other breeds, such as the Hakita Inu, the Chow chow, the Labrador, the Sulimov Dog.
Conversely, they are more sensitive to the change of season:
- Small or dwarf dogs , even those with longer hair: for example the dachshund, the Chihuahua, the Yorkshire.
- Those with short or short hair , such as Pinscher, Beagle , Dobermann , Boxer , Rottweiler , Dalmatian and many hunting dogs.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR DOG DURING THE WINTER
Whether small or large, young or old, long-haired or with thick hair, our dog must still be protected from low temperatures: generally when the mercury falls below 15 degrees, attention must be greater. The fact that it belongs to one of the most thermally resistant breeds, in fact, does not make it invulnerable to currents, sudden changes in temperature, sudden frosts, humidity.
Here are some precious tricks to take into account already during the autumn.
PAY ATTENTION TO THE POWER SUPPLY
Even animals, like us, burn more calories during the winter . The diet will have to change accordingly, and contain a greater protein and fat content: more meat, white and red and in greater quantities, and fish once a week. It could also be beneficial to our dog the administration of supplements based on proteins and minerals such as copper, zinc and omega 6 and 3.
KEEP YOUR DOG SHELTERED
The roof under which our dog sleeps is essential: the temperature must be acceptable , there must be no humidity and our friend must not be exposed to currents.
To avoid the garage, if you keep your car or motorbike: it is not a healthy environment and presents risks related to leaking fluids from the engine that could be ingested by the animal; if you really can’t do without it, remember not to start the engine in the presence of the dog.
If he sleeps outdoors, some important precautions must be respected, using the foresight to host him at home with us if the temperature is particularly rigid: the kennel must have the floor raised above the ground and be well insulated, and you must be particularly careful about the wind exposure. Finally, choose the “bed” well: Fido will sleep better on old sweaters or woolen blankets.
CHOOSE AND CHECK THE WATER BOWL
The best material, during the winter, is plastic, a bad conductor of heat and cold. In fact, metal could be dangerous, as well as other materials: the risk is that the dog’s tongue, when it goes to drink, remains attached to the container. Finally, it is good practice to constantly check whether the water has frozen or not
Coat yes or no?
Sometimes protective raincoats are purchased for “vanity”, aesthetics or fashion, but their function. Especially for small-sized and short-haired dogs, is important: there are various types and shapes. In addition, shoes and other accessories can also be very useful to protect our friend’s paws and head. In any case, it is useful to clean and dry the paws often, as well as massage them with a protective cream in case of low temperature.
BATHING IN WINTER: HOW OFTEN?
Grooming and home bathing should be thinned out during the winter season. Because water washes away the protective oils naturally present on the skin and exposes it to the risk of dryness. Better to brush the dog frequently , thus helping the renewal of the undercoat, and dry clean. Similarly, it would be better to reduce the number of walks , and if during the walk it is wet with rain or snow, dry it immediately upon returning home, especially on the paws and between the toes.
HOW TO NOTICE THAT OUR FOUR-LEGGED FRIEND IS COLD?
Despite having a better resistance to cold than humans, the dog often suffers from it, and it gives signals that are easy to notice. These are the main ones:
- Breathe slowly
- The skin is dry
- You have problems with muscle stiffness
- His movements slowed down
With the lowering of the temperature, and if the rules mentioned above are not respected, the dog is more exposed to diseases and disorders of various types : for example, arthritis, frequent in older dogs, and infectious tracheobronchitis, the so-called kennel cough.
THE DOG AND THE WINTER: LAST TIPS AND PREVENTION
Against the risk of this and other problems, the best weapon is prevention . And therefore, in addition to providing continuous and loving care and following the essential precautions against the cold, it is important to respect the schedule of periodic checks by the veterinarian and the main vaccinations . Help could come, if costs frighten you but you don’t want to give up your friend’s well-being. From a dog insurance plan : a good policy guarantees continuous telephone assistance, discounted rates, free visits in the event of an accident or illness.
Insurance doesn’t protect you from the cold, but the coverage it offers can be invaluable!
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