Keeping Fido Happy and Healthy During the Colder Months

The following is from a new Guest Blogger:  Bernie the Boxer!  As a fur-friend himself, I guess he knows a thing or two about this topic. Here’s what he said (er… arfed, arfed):

 

Service Dog in Snow

Photo: Service Dog Playing in the Snow

Just because your dog has a fur coat doesn’t mean he doesn’t feel the cold. When the temperature drops, it’s important to keep your dog warm so he doesn’t get sick. Read on for some tips on how to keep Fido comfortable and healthy during the colder seasons.

 

Keep Your Dog Indoors

Dogs love to go outside for walks, and they even like to run outside to play. But that doesn’t mean they want to live outside. Your pooch will be happier if he can stay warm inside the house with you. If your dog lives outdoors, bring him inside during the winter months. And if he usually lives in a doghouse, make sure it’s dry and has a raised floor. You definitely don’t want your dog to live in a drafty dog house or one that leaks when it rains or snows.  The dog house should also have a door covered with a flap to keep out wind and moisture. Despite these precautions, your dog should stay in the house when the temperature drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

Sweaters and Booties and Blankets Too

Flickr: Addlson Independent

Don’t forget about keeping your dog warm while inside the house. If you’re trying to save money and you lower the thermostat, you can always throw on a sweater or snuggle under a blanket. But don’t forget about your dog too! Both cats and dogs have slightly higher resting body temperatures than humans, so when it is colder outside make sure they have a blanket in their bed and an area to sleep in the sunlight during the day. Also be sure to dress your dog in booties and a sweater when taking them outside to potty, because extreme changes in temperature increase risk of illness.

 

Antifreeze Dangers

Keep car antifreeze in a safe area away from your pet. Clean up antifreeze spills immediately. If your dog walks in antifreeze, it can get stuck on his paws. Antifreeze is a deadly chemical if ingested. If your dog swallows it, he could die.

 

Keep Fido Hydrated

Make sure your dog gets enough water to drink during the winter months. Consider using a humidifier to keep the air inside your house from being too dry. If your dog remains hydrated on the inside and outside, he’ll be less likely to get sick. And his nose and paws have a decreased chance of bleeding or cracking.

 

Flickr: Kootenay Business

Feeding

Dogs that stay indoors most of the time may not need a caloric increase in winter. You can maintain the same feeding schedule. But if your dog plays outdoors a good portion of the day, increase his calorie intake in the winter.

 

Older Dogs

If you have an elderly dog, pay extra attention to his needs. Frigid temperatures may aggravate his arthritis or cause other aches and pains. Ask your vet if you should give your dog glucosamine or chondroitin. These two supplements aid in joint lubrication, which will help your elderly dog move a bit easier during the colder seasons. Give your older dog exercise to help him with joint stiffness. And make sure he wears a dog sweater and booties whenever he ventures outside.

 

Dog Flu

Canine influenza, also known as H3N2 or dog flu, is an extremely contagious sickness that affects dogs. Common symptoms include fever, coughing, loss of appetite and dehydration. But some dogs don’t show any symptoms even though they have the illness. Prevent your dog from getting the dog flu by isolating her from other dogs if there is a dog flu outbreak in your area. While humans can’t get the dog flu, they can have traces of dog flu on their skin. If you pet a dog that doesn’t belong to you, thoroughly wash your hands before touching your own dog. You should also change your clothes since dog flu can survive on your clothing for up to 24 hours.

 

In sum . . .

 

In the colder months, it’s easy to forget that your dog isn’t thoroughly protected by his fur. Keep your dog happy, healthy and warm by taking steps to keep him safe from the cold. By providing him with warm outerwear and blankets, keeping him hydrated, feeding him the appropriate amount of calories, treating his arthritis and protecting him from canine influenza, your dog will love you even more as he snuggles with you by the fireplace.

Photo Credit: Pixabay [Submitted by Bernie the Boxer]

 Thank you Bernie. We hope to hear more from you.  Obviously, you have a lot of canine wisdom to share!

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