Whoever has a dog needs some precautions in this upcoming winter. Winter means chilly weather. As your dog goes out to play, this extreme weather gives bad impact towards its body and finally, its health. Indeed, it has fur to protect it from this low temperature, but your pet will never stand in the cold weather especially in a longer period.
That is why you, as the owner of your pet, need some preparation before winter really comes. Its temperature drastically changes and you need to give extra care towards your dog. So, what kind of care that you need? Because your dog cannot wait any longer to spend his time outdoor even in this kind of weather, let’s just apply this following tips to ensure your dog stay healthy and lively despite the cold blowing wind.
Basically, there are two preparations for this upcoming season: a warm shelter and adequate food and drinks. The followings are the details.
A Warm Shelter for Your Dog
No matter your dog’s fur is thick or thin, it will not help him from the cold winter. This is your main preparation for the next winter. Only with a warm shelter for your dog, you can ensure that your dog stay warm, avoiding hypothermia. It has to meet several requirements such as the location, direction, and some additions onto the house.
- Best Location for Doghouse
Winter is dangerous, and it is important to keep an eye on your dog especially if you have no other choice to put him inside your home, but making a doghouse outside your house. Ensure that you build one that is close to house and looks over your front door. Only then, you can see your pet most of the time whenever he goes out or when he is sleeping.
Winter wins blows very hard. Even if you can keep an eye on your pet almost 24 hours, he possibly gets hypothermia especially the entrance faces to the direction of the wind. Everything you do will be useless to make him warm.
- Needed Extra Purchases
To make extra comfort during the winter, a doghouse needs more than a good location especially if you place it in your yard. Some additions are needed and you need to buy these before the winter comes. First, you will need insulation. Even though the doghouse your purchase is already equipped with this, some additions are essentials.
Among parts of the doghouse, floor is the one that needs more insulation materials. It is a lot better to add some materials like polystyrene foams or Styrofoam sheets installed between the walls. If you are not certain that your dog can stay warm, you need heating pads and units added into the doghouse. Make sure that the heating pads’ size does not exceed the shelter interior to prevent your pet from dehydration or being burnt.
When the winter gets worse, your dog possibly gets wet. Occasionally, fabric bedding and sheets do not work optimally. Thus, you will need to line the bottom of the doghouse with cedar shaving or straw to keep your dog warm. They are available in cheap price.
Adequate Food and Drink
During winter, the temperature drops rapidly and to keep your dog stay warm, he needs more energy than usual. Energy is merely obtained from food, so it means, you have to feed him with more calories intake. Otherwise, you will see how the extreme weather turns into sickness to your dog.
However, you cannot just add more foods. Some considerations are incredibly needed to ensure that your dog get adequate calories without exceeding the limit. Here are some methods to feed your dog properly during the winter.
- Add the frequency of His Daily Meals
Calories are needed in higher amount, but you should not give him in higher amount at one time. Instead of feeding your dog with increased portion, you can switch your habit of feeding him once or twice a day to two or three times per day but in small amount. By giving them more frequently, at least, the calories intake increases up to 10%. It is highly needed especially if your dog likes to play outside.
- Know the Amount of Needed Calories
Even though you feed your dog three times per day, you should not give him in higher amount. On the opposite, it has to be given in reduced amount particularly if your dog seems to have a poundage problem. So, you need to be smart in choosing the foods. It is a lot better to prefer low-calories food treats to higher ones. Use a bowl as a measure the amount of food your dog needs.
- Prefer Diet Food
Dogs are active, but during winter, they seem to be less active than usual. Food intake high in calories without proper needed calculation affects his weight. To prevent him from overweight, you have to choose only diet food. You simply get foods with amount of calories included in the fact sheet. Remember that if you change the brand, check the fact sheet first since the amount of calories is often different.
- Supplements are Quite Needed
The most important thing during winter is to keep your dog stay healthy and warm. Foods available at some stores may claim that they already contain all essentials nutrition for health. However, it is not rare that dogs need supplements especially if your dogs have problems with digestions or creaky arthritic knees. There are several supplements available in the marketplace you can choose to keep him healthy and fit.
- Change Foods Gradually
The first change during winter is meal plan. Sometimes, it gives problem to your dog. Vomiting and diarrhea often occurs due to the abrupt change of diet plan or food. As prevention, you need to change his diets little by little.
In the beginning, you can mix the foods, new and old ones. Let’s say 50/50, and then you can lower the portion of old foods and increase the portion of new ones. It may take around one week to get your dog used to eating new foods with new meal plan.
- Make Him Well Hydrated
Water is vital for your dog’s health especially during winter. It has to be in adequate amount, as well. Thus, while feeding your pet, ensure that water is always available, ensuring him to be well hydrated while you are away from him. Water has to be easily accessible, enabling your dog to drink without any hindrances.
The worst thing that may happen in winter is hypothermia. That’s why all dog preparations in winter are terribly important to ensure that your dog stays healthy. Not to mention, you may have to check your health to your vet before winter comes.
Your vet will check his health and give medications if needed. All of these will make sure that the extreme temperature gives dangerous effect towards your dog. If your dog is in the best condition, the worst thing will never happen.
Preparation for the Worst Conditions
Hypothermia is not the only threat in winter, but also frostbite. Although you have done all of those preparations above, you need to be alert on those two conditions, the worst ones that every dog owners want to stay away. Thus, you also have to be prepared in case your dog has frostbite or hypothermia. Knowing the symptoms and the first aids are important.
- Frostbite- Symptoms and First Aid
If your dog experiences these following signs, he possibly has frostbites.
- The skin gets play, gray or blue in the beginning.
- Skin turns into red and puffy afterwards.
- Feeling pains on his tail, paws or ears when you touch them.
- Skin keeps cold even with very warm and comfortable shelter.
- Shriveled skin.
Beware of this. It is important to give him first aids before it is too late. After you check your dog and he really experiences those symptoms, do these following actions.
- Get warm water, (ensure it is not too hot), and apply it to the frostbitten area around 20 minutes. Do this gently!
- Hair dryers, electric blankets or heating pads are forbidden to use to aid frostbit. They just cause burns to your dog.
- The best way to handle your dog that experiences frostbites is by handling the affected areas carefully. Massaging or rubbing is not allowed since it may trigger permanent damage.
- Call your vet as soon as possible after you are sure your dog gets frostbites.
- Hypothermia- Symptoms and First Aids
Again, once you see your dog show abnormal activities that could be hypothermia, remember these following symptoms:
- weak pulse
- violent shivering
- lack of appetite
- problems breathing
- temperature of rectal under 98 F
- cardiac arrest, and
The first treatments towards those symptoms are as follows
- Bring your dog into your home, that is warm and comfort
- Dissolve four spoons sugar and honey, and give to your dog
- If he is too weak, boost his energy by putting 1 or 2 corn syrup on the gums to drink.
- Get two bottles and fill them with warm water. Wrap them with towels and place them against your dog’s abdomen or at his chest and armpits. Wrap your dog in a blanket, afterwards.
- Never use hairdryers, electric blankets or heating pads as they could cause fatal damage.
- Call your vet as soon as possible.
Immediate treatment is needed once you see your dog experiences hypothermia or frostbite. Of course, you do not want this to happen. Therefore, before this winter comes, ensure you already check up your dog to your vet, prepare warm and comfort shelter for him and provide adequate food and drinks. All of those winter preparations for your dog ensures that he can stays healthy and warm in the extreme temperature.