With Winter coming up, it is important as dog owners that we have thought in advance about how we are going to keep our dogs warm so that we are ready when the weather turns. The earlier we think about, and get ready, for the winter and a winter with our dogs, the better. There is nothing worse than having to keep a dog inside in the warm if you have not got the right equipment to keep your pooch warm out on a walk. Plus, and especially for short haired slimmer dogs, we even need to think about how to keep our dogs toasty when inside the house.
In this cold weather guide, we look at how to keep your dog warm in all eventualities. We mention a number of ways including the best heated dog pads, the best heated dog bed, the best dog pajamas and the best dog house that will keep your dog cosy wherever you are. We tend to give dogs more credit for the ability to stay warm with their fur coats than sometimes they are able to and so this guide is indispensable for those that are not even worried about how to keep their dogs warm this winter. It is a must read.
Tips For Going On And Coming Back From A Dog Walk
- Dress Them Appropriately
Before going out on a walk, it is a good idea to dress your dog in the right amount of extra layers if you are going out on a cold Winter’s day. Depending on the breed, thicker layers may be needed. Also, keep in mind your dog’s age. Puppies need a lot more help keeping warm than mature dogs, as do dogs that are actually past a certain age too. Try to ensure that whatever you do put on them has a waterproof cover on top so that should it start raining or snowing that the coat does not become an item that will actually make them colder – their fur and skin at least has some form of protection against the wet.
- Brush and Wipe Them Down Afterwards
There are many reasons that we should brush or wipe down our dogs after a walk outside – even if they have stayed relatively dry. The act of rubbing them down will start to get their circulation going so that they bring their body temperature back to normal levels more quickly, but in a safe manner. It obviously also removes any water from their coats that may keep them colder for longer, but it is also incredibly important to wipe down their paws. In Winter, the amount of toxins that are on the floor increases due to anti-freeze or even grit and salt that is used to keep roads clear. If a dog licks these substances off their paws, they can become quite ill and it can even be deadly. Ice on paws can also be painful to pups as it can cause the skin to break. Wiping them down gives owners a good chance to check up on how they look.
Ways To Keep Your Dog Warm Indoors
There are many ways that are recommended to employ so that your dog can get warm quickly and easily when in your home. It is important for us to know though that this does not necessarily simply mean putting more heaters around our home – indeed these can be quite dangerous to dogs who may not know the risks of sitting too close to them. Dogs have been known to burn themselves on heaters as well as even starting fires by accidentally knocking them over. Instead, think of using the following around your house to help keep your dog warm:
- Best Heated Dog Pads
Dog pads are a great way that dogs can keep their bodies warm even on cooler days. They will slowly warm your pup from its underside, which is often where they lose a great deal of their heat from as this is where their fur is thinnest, other than their paws. What’s really brilliant about heated dog pads is that they slowly warm a dog so they are perfect for pooches when they return from a walk out in the cold. They don’t raise their body temperature too quickly and therefore it is a much safer way of bringing their bodies back to a healthy temperature level. Other uses for heated dog pads are for when you have a new puppy – they find it immensely comforting having spent most of their lives so far cuddling up to their brothers and sisters.
- Best Heated Dog Bed
Heated dog beds work in a similar way to heated dog pads, but are obviously a lot chunkier in look. They can come in a variety of styles that may suit you or your dog better. Some beds will look very much like a tradition dog bed with bolsters around the edges. These are great as they tend to have heated sides too where dogs like to lean their heads to remain warm as well. Plus they look great in any traditional home. Flatter versions are ones that are suitable to put in original dog beds or even crates. What is also great about these versions is that they are easy to clean as their covers are removable.
- Dog Pajamas
Dog pajamas may sound like overkill but they are an easy way of keeping our dogs warm when inside the house – especially at night when our heating turns off and we are tucked up under a duvet, and they just have their beds. They may take your dog getting a little bit of used to, but there are several designs that can be tried that will all keep the warm, but some will make them more comfortable than others. Anything with buttons are probably a no no as dogs will not only find them uncomfortable but they are likely to chew them off and could therefore swallow them. So keep an eye out for onesie shapes, hoodies or anything in fleece material that dogs find extremely cosy.
- Dog Houses
Dog houses are now made that can be uses inside or outside. There are some exceedingly basic styles out there and there are styles that are like mini castles for your pooch. You will know what will work for you, your dog and your budget. Indoor ones tend to just look like covered dog beds and are often fur or fleece lined for extra comfort. Outdoor ones are often made of wood to stay hardy against the elements, and are best to protect your dog against the wind. The key with either indoor or outdoor dog houses is to find a model that is the right size for your pooch. Too big, and they won’t do much to protect your dog from the cold. Too small and they will just be incredibly uncomfortable all the time with the likelihood that they won’t use it at all.
Don’t Leave Him In The Car
Many people know that they should never risk leaving their dog in the car during the Summer months when it can get dangerously hot inside. However, the same is true in Winter when we should never leave our dog in a car alone when it is parked. It is simply too cold and your dog has little way to warm themselves up in the car bar curling up in a ball, and perhaps burying themselves deep into a dog bed or blanket. Cars get cold much much colder than we think so even if our dogs have very thick fur coats, they will start to become quite anxious and uncomfortable. It’s a definite no no if your dog has a thin coat and little body fat like a whippet or such like.
How To Tell When They Are Dangerously Cold
Lastly, despite employing all these tactics to keep your dog warm, it is still good to know the signs of hypothermia and frostbite in dogs. If you see any of the following, you should call your vet straight away and seek their help in getting your dog’s health back to 100%. Any dog that is shivering uncontrollably or is unable to hold their body weight should be seen immediately. Wrap him or her in a blanket when transporting him to your vets. Those suffering from hypothermia may also be whining or be very anxious whilst looking for warm places to snuggle into.
Frostbite is a little harder to see and takes longer to manifest itself but it will eventually show itself as a pale area that is painful for your dog for you to touch. Again, take your dog to the vet immediately if you see anything you are worried about.