Right now you’re probably sitting under two duvets with a hot water bottle, as there are currently sub-zero temperatures in the UK. And if it’s cold for us, imagine how our pets are feeling.
Often the cold weather can be extremely hazardous for dogs and can cause serious risks to their health. John Smith, Pet Expert and Founder of Yappy.com, shares his essential top five tips on how to keep your dog safe during the cold weather.
They may need an extra layer
Your dog can feel the cold in extreme temperatures just like you, especially if they have a thinner coat, so it’s worth investing in a warm and waterproof dog coat to wear on walks during the winter months.
Breeds that may struggle when temperatures dip include small dogs such as Chihuahuas and Yorkshire Terriers. Thin-haired breeds including Greyhounds and Great Danes also struggle to maintain a warm body temperature and will benefit from a cosy extra layer, whereas a Siberian Husky or Alaskan Malamute with a naturally thick coat can tolerate the cold and will usually manage to stay toasty warm without any extra protection.
If it’s too low don’t go
If the temperature has dropped below -7, then Smith advises owners to refrain from taking their dogs for a walk. It’s too much of a risk, especially for smaller dogs with thinner coats, to be outside in sub-zero temperatures. Instead, spend some time playing with them indoors until the temperature starts to rise again.
Signs to look out for
If you’re on a walk with your dog and they start shivering, whining, or licking their paws, then that’s a clear sign your dog is uncomfortable and it’s best to head back home. Dogs can get hypothermia, too. Signs to look out for include shaking, lethargic, dilated pupils, and a low heart rate. If your dog is showing any of these signs, then you must wrap them up in a warm towel or blanket and seek immediate assistance from your local vet.
Don’t leave them in the car
As everyone knows, you should never leave your dog in the car during the summer months as the temperature in the car is always much higher than the temperature outside. In the winter, your car won’t overheat, however the temperature in the car can often be the same as the temperature of a refrigerator. Therefore, you should not be leaving your dog in the car over the winter months, as it can increase the risk of them becoming unwell and getting hypothermia.
Check their paws!
Dogs love to run around, however, if there is ice, snow and grit on the ground it can often wear down their pads. This can be painful and uncomfortable for your dog. In addition to this, it’s very common for their nose to become dry, cracked and bleed during the winter months from being out in the cold air. One way of preventing this from happening is to buy some nose and paw balm for your pooch. This will keep their paws and nose moisturised during those cooler months and prevent any cracking.