Winter is not an easy time for most living beings, including a wide breed of dogs, who often find it physically and mentally taxing to go through the cold season. The dip in mercury is often the cause of lethargy, depression, fatigue, social withdrawal, and sleeplessness found in humans - commonly known as Seasonal Affective Disorder '(SAD). Unfortunately, our furry friends are no less susceptible to the issue and need extra care to ensure they thrive during the cold season, even if it is not their cup of tea. This article discusses winter care tips for pets to keep them safe from winter diseases.
Also Read: Winter Worries for Pet Parents
How cold is too cold for your pet?
Here the answer differs. Cold tolerance for dogs depends on their breed, size, fur type, health, and other medical conditions.
Few dog breeds, like Labrador Retrievers, Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, and Tibetan Terriers, love snow, while other breeds easily affect by cold. This means they can't even stay outdoors for long.
Cold temperatures for Dogs: Rule of thumb
- 45°F (7°C) and below, dogs go uncomfortable
- 32°F (0°C) and below, dangerous for small, thin-coated, young, old, and sick dogs
- 20°F (-7°C) and below, dogs become vulnerable to hypothermia and frostbite
What is the sign that your dog is cold?
When your dog feels cold, they tremble a lot.
Usually, dogs take a cramped posture.
They may cuddle on your leg or find another source of heat.
Remember to leave your pet alone for a short time. This will lead to getting cold quickly. Be careful not to leave your dog outside in freezing temperatures for too long; otherwise, they may catch a cold.
Dog's average body temperature is between 99.5 to 102.5°F (38.3 to 39.2°C).
Also Read: Golden rules for keeping pets warm
But why are our pets affected by the winter season
Dogs also have these physical and mental conditions during winter. These dogs' symptoms refer to 'The main reason for Winter Blues in dogs is having 'less sunlight .' Like humans, sunlight is very important for your dog's well-being. Primarily, dogs have always been outdoor creatures, hunting and covering miles worth of distance every day.
They require sunlight for their evolutionary predisposition, and natural light helps them improve and maintain their metabolic health. Circadian rhythm is vital for your dog's body to determine whether they should hunt (stay active) or rest. Make sure you arrange a bed close to a window where you get sunshine, or make sure you take your dog out for a walk in bright light for at least 15 minutes twice a day.
While sunlight is very important, there are other aspects you need to be mindful of as a dog parent. Here is our list of the 7 most important things to take care of during this winter.
7 Winter care tips for pets to follow
1. What you feed
December being the month of celebration and holidays, we indulge in food and gifts. Our beloved Pets deserve varieties of food this holiday season, don't they? Yes. They do! But Dog food is different from our food. Never feed the leftovers to the pets! Meat, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin are very good, but spicy gravies and desserts are toxic for pets. Include antioxidant-rich foods to fight cold during winter.
Related Blog: Are We Feeding Our Dogs Right?
2. Calorie intake
Some dogs require more calories, and some significantly less to fight the cold. The calorie intake depends on how active your dog is. Dogs who are very less active need very light and nutritious food. Bulky dogs, however, need more calories and a high amount of fiber-rich food. Know your dog and then plan their diet. Maintaining a healthy weight during winter will help them have good immunity against infections.3.
3. How active is your dog?
It's so apparent that pets are less active during cold weather, but some love to play in the snow! If your pet is a snow lover, leave your pet outdoors for some time during the afternoons (because pets need good bright sunshine). If your pet loves to stay indoors, be creative in making the dog active. Include tricky/funny games that keep them engaged and sharp. Especially the puppies and the senior dogs especially need more attention.
Related Blog: Ways to Stay Healthy with your Dog
4. Watch the joints
Especially if you have a senior dog or she/he has arthritis. Include food supplements in their daily diet and ensure they get minimum exercise to eliminate stiff joints. Glucosamine and chondroitin are very good for joint health, and so are the omega fatty acids. Choose foods rich in these or include supplements while you treat the pet.
5. Importance of Fur
Maintaining thick fur is the best and most natural way to keep dogs warm. This is the natural way to keep them warm. If your pet has a thick fur coat, keep it and don't trim it. Yet, grooming during winter is important. Keep the hair healthy and thick. This can be done by including supplements in the food. Try any 'healthy dog fur supplements' or 'biscuits' available in the market. Good and nutritious food will maintain healthy fur.
6. How hydrated is your pet?
Dogs tend to drink less water during winter, but they need water to stay hydrated. Drinking less water can cause dehydration during winter, and the skin becomes very dry. The dry skin makes paws dry. Place some lukewarm water near the pet so it can gulp it every few minutes.
7. Deal with depression
Dogs also get a bit depressed when the season changes. They will be very lethargic, less active, and less interested in their daily activities. This is a sign of depression. You must see a veterinarian if your dog is out of sorts.
Each dog is different! A dog needs to change according to the seasons. Snowtime is the best time to play, but some dogs have a hard time. Be creative in playing with your pets indoors. Some breeds tolerate cooler temperatures; if your pet is one among them, you don't have to worry.
Keep the Winter Woes Away!
Winters are tough, but your pooch is tougher! Help them negate the impacts of the cold season by monitoring their environment and, of course, their reaction to it. Waggle Pet Temperature Monitor can help you in your quest. Equipped with an interactive dashboard and easy-to-install equipment, the temperature monitor ensures that you know every minute drop or rise in the temperature for your pooch’s well-being. In case of high variations or power cuts, the monitor sends SMS and email alerts in real time so that you don’t waste any minute rushing to your dog’s aid.
Simply install the pet monitor app on your phone and ensure that your pet is always safe while you stay alert.