Winter has fallen, and it’s important to take care of your animals during this frosty season. Keeping your dog warm throughout the winter is essential. This way, your pup isn’t at risk for health problems like hypothermia and frost-bite. Even if your furry friend loves to run around outside in the snow, making sure they’re prepared for cool temperatures is your job. Don’t turn a blind eye to winter care for your dog. Instead, understand the risks of keeping your dog outside for long periods of time.
Winter Health Risks for Dogs
It is commonly assumed that a dog’s winter coat makes them very resistant to winter climates. However, in a lot of cases, this isn’t true. The American Veterinary Medical Association says that “like people, cats and dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia and should be kept inside. Longer-haired and thick-coated dog breeds, such as huskies and other dogs bred for colder climates, are more tolerant of cold weather; but no pet should be left outside for long periods in below-freezing weather”. So, next time you think to leave your cherished pup in the cold, remember how it may affect them.
Hypothermia can occur when your dog is left outside in cold and/or wet weather. This can cause intense shivering, cold ears, and cold feet. But, as the condition gets worse they may have trouble moving because of muscle stiffness, lethargy, depression, weakness, heart and breathing rates will slow down and they won’t respond to being called, hearing another dog bark, etc. If hypothermia becomes severe, it is life-threatening to your dog.
In addition to hypothermia, dogs are susceptible to frost-bite. This is a painful condition that typically occurs on the ears and tail of an animal. When left outside for long periods of time, the body will draw in the blood from the extremities to the center of the animal to ensure its core stays warm. This is when these parts of the body get so cold that ice crystals form in the tissue destroying it. It is very painful once the animal begins to warm up. Badly frostbitten areas will slowly turn black and fall off.
The risks of leaving your pet outdoors in the winter are extensive. Keep your animals safe and make sure they stay warm and toasty. If you have any questions about winter pet care, please feel free to reach out! At Critteraid, we look forward to seeing you stop by our shelter to give a dog a new home for the holidays. Contact us today to find the right dog for you. Also, be sure to check out our social media for the latest information and more! We can’t wait to help you find a great new companion for your family!