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How to protect my dog from the cold in winter?

Not all dogs are equal when it comes to winter cold. Some can handle low temperatures quite well while others shiver as soon as the mercury drops below 5°C. You have to take care of your little friend and that includes protecting him from the cold. Here are the best ways to keep your dog warm in winter.

Which dogs suffer the most from the cold?

As a general rule, the dogs that are likely to suffer from the cold as soon as it sets in are :
  • Older dogs,
  • Sick dogs,
  • Puppies,
  • Dogs that are rather long-haired,
  • Dogs with fine or short hair,
  • Hairless dogs (naked dogs),
  • Sedentary dogs that rarely leave the sofa and the overheated apartment.

Protecting your dog in winter when he lives in a kennel

Not all dogs live in their owner's house or apartment. Many dogs have their own place to live: the doghouse. As soon as the temperature drops, it is essential to do everything possible to keep your dog warm. Since the kennel is installed outside, it is very exposed to rain, hail, snow and frost, as well as to freezing winds. Even in winter, this dog house must be comfortable.

Therefore, it is advisable to insulate it with a wooden or PVC protection, but also to place an insulating plate on the floor inside the kennel in order to avoid the rising damp. In addition, its entrance should not be facing the wind. It may be useful to move the kennel if you notice that the dog is very exposed to draughts when it is inside its house.

Finally, the roof of the kennel must be checked for damage, as it is the main protection against rain. At the slightest defect, we repair it!

Taking a cold dog out in winter: precautions to take

Every owner must know the sensitive points of his little companion to be able to take him out even when it is cold so that the walk does not turn into a nightmare for his dog. In any case, you should never give up on taking your dog out, even if he can't stand low temperatures, because getting some fresh air is essential for both the dog and his owner.

Ideally, if there is a big difference in temperature between the house and the outside, it may be wise to leave the dog in the basement or the garage for about 30 minutes before a walk in order to limit thermal shocks.

Dogs that are more vulnerable to the cold can be protected with canine clothing that can be found in specialty stores and pet shops. The ideal is to offer your little companion a coat that insulates from the cold and protects against rain and snow. With this type of accessory, the dog's body temperature is maintained for a good while, allowing him to enjoy his walk without shivering too much.

Protecting your dog's paw pads in winter

You should also consider protecting your dog's paw pads when he goes outside when the ground is icy or covered with snow. Although resistant, the paws are sensitive to the cold. They can suffer from painful frostbite because they are in direct contact with the ground.

They can be insulated with boots specially designed for dogs, or at least by coating them with a special cream before the walk. By forming a film on the pads, this cream also protects against the sand and salt that are used to make roads less slippery.

Encouraging your dog to exercise

Dogs are like people: the more they move in cold weather, the less cold they feel. It is therefore essential to get your dog out for a daily walk in winter, especially since physical activity is essential to keep your dog healthy and prevent it from becoming overweight. At most, you can shorten the walk, but never cancel it.

Protecting your dog from the cold: choosing the right food

Cold weather increases energy consumption. You must therefore adapt your dog's diet to the season. Feeding your dog well will help it to be less cold. This does not mean that you should increase the daily ration, because if your dog does not go out much, and therefore does not exercise much, he may become obese. On the other hand, it is necessary to modify the nutrient intake. Its diet can be enriched with good fat but especially with vitamins and proteins.

In order not to make any mistakes, it is strongly recommended to consult your veterinarian at the beginning of winter so that he can advise you on the best diet for your dog. It is imperative to take into account the age of the animal, its sex, its weight, its build, but also its lifestyle and its health.