Are you shaking in your boots just thinking of going outside in this cold weather? Imagine how your dog must feel when she sticks her nose outdoors! Frigid temperatures and damp or icy conditions can be dangerous for pets and present quite the challenge when it comes to keeping your canine companion in tip-top shape. We’ve put together a few tips to help you ensure the health and happiness of your dog over the winter months.
Keep an Eye on the Temperature and the Weather
Temperatures can vary wildly at this time of year, depending on where you live. You might be in Florida, where your dog can get overheated even in the dead of winter. Or you could be up here with us in snowy Minnesota, where temperatures average around 15 degrees Fahrenheit in January! No matter where you live, stay aware of the temperature both inside and outside of your home to make sure you can keep your pup safe. And be sure to look at other factors besides the degree number on your phone’s weather app; things like wind chill, humidity, and rain can also affect your dog’s comfort and health.
A good rule of thumb is that if you feel uncomfortable outside, your furry friend probably isn’t very happy. Temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit can cause problems and discomfort for dogs, particularly small breeds, puppies, and senior dogs. Keep a close watch on your canine’s behavior when outside in cold weather. If you notice him shivering, trying to keep his paws from touching the cold ground, or whining, you should head inside as soon as possible. When in doubt, take a trip to the vet to make sure that your dog isn’t suffering from hypothermia or frostbite.
Adjust Diet Appropriately
This one is especially important for hunting dogs and other canines who spend a lot of time outside during the winter. When we’re cold, our bodies use up more calories trying to stay warm. The same thing happens for dogs, so be sure to communicate with your vet and find out what kind of diet your furry friend should have during the colder months. Keep in mind that not all dogs expend huge amounts of energy like hunting dogs do; if winter means fewer long walks and more inside time, you may actually need to cut back on those treats and big scoops of food!
Protect Those Paws
You can’t possibly keep your dog indoors all winter long—you’ll need to go outside daily for walks, potty breaks, or other trips. Luckily, there are ways you can reduce winter wear and tear on your pup’s paws. First, think about all that gunk that you track into the house while wearing your heavy winter boots. Toxic rock salt, gravel, dirt, ice—it all ends up on and between your dog’s paws! Get in the habit of washing and drying her feet whenever you bring her back in from a cold, muddy walk.
Next, think about how dry your own skin gets in the winter. Your dog’s skin can get flaky in the dry heat of your home, too. Keep your home humidified if possible, and check her paws for dry skin whenever you wash them off after a walk. Consider using petroleum jelly on her paws before a walk to moisturize and protect them from rock salt and other toxic substances.
Respect the Coat
Remember that dogs tote a heavy coat of fur around with them everywhere they go! Many breeds actually grow a thicker winter coat that can keep them warm during these chilly months. While all that fluff can help in cold temperatures, it can also be a disadvantage if your dog becomes damp with freezing water. Make sure to towel him off quickly after he gets wet, particularly if it’s dangerously cold outside. If it’s pouring rain or freezing outdoors when he has to go for a walk, research some options for sweaters or raincoats that can help protect him from the weather when his coat isn’t enough.
Support Your Pup’s Overall Health with Supplements
Keep dogs strong and healthy throughout the winter with a supplement specially formulated to address their unique needs. Whether you’re guiding a senior dog through his golden years and want to help maintain his mobility, or you’re working to keep your hunting dog in peak physical condition, Wapiti Labs’ supplements can help support your canine’s natural bodily functions. Of course, be sure to speak with your vet before starting your pup on a new supplement!
Help Your Dog Be Her Best Self with Wapiti
At Wapiti, we’re not just concerned about your dog’s health during the winter; we want her to be at her best year-round. We offer a wide range of supplements, all made with natural ingredients like elk velvet antler and traditional herbs. Feel free to contact us for more information on supporting the well being of your canine companion with our products.