Dogs in winter - 9 important tips in the snow and cold
The days become shorter, the nights longer and the temperatures drop. Winter is clearly approaching and not only we humans have to adapt to the cold season, our four-legged friends also need a little more attention and care. Many dog owners believe that e.g. cold weather cannot harm their dogs because of their fur. But just dog breeds with short fur and only little to no undercoat freeze quickly in winter. How you get your four-legged friend healthy and lively through the winter, you can find out here:
How do I notice that my dog is freezing?
Dogs freeze at different. For a quick overview please have a look at our infographic:
By the way, you can find many more vivid graphics on our William Walker Pinterest Account. One sign that your dog is freezing is shaking. Also, when dogs are cold, they pull in their tails, walk clammy and slower, lift their legs more often and "moan".
Can my dog actually catch a cold?
Yes, even with dogs, lying on a cold surface or in a cold environment for a long time can lead to a weakening of the immune system and diseases like cystitis.
Is my dog allowed to eat snow? (Snow gastritis etc.)
Most dogs love to play in the snow and many even like to eat it, but unfortunately not every dog's stomach can tolerate the ice-cold food. Dogs with a sensitive stomach can get stomach cramps, or snow gastritis with bloody diarrhea and vomiting. If road salt was then added to the snow, the misfortune is perfect and can cause serious damage to the stomach lining. So make sure you offer your dog enough water before the snow walk so that he doesn't help himself to the snow too thirsty outside.
Does my dog need a winter coat?
It depends on your dog! Short-haired breeds without undercoat, like greyhounds or chihuahuas, as well as sick or old dogs, are more sensitive to cold than other dogs. A dog coat is recommended, especially on rainy days. When buying a coat you should pay attention to light, breathable, water-repellent material and a good fit!
Do I have to adapt our walks? (Attention De-icing salt)
In general, you should shorten your laps in sub-zero temperatures and go out again. Paths that are covered with road salt should be avoided as much as possible and caution is also required when walking along frozen waters. The ice cover is often thinner than expected and there is a danger of burglary. Especially if your dog does not always listen to commands and the lake is snowed in, dangerous situations can arise.
What should be considered after the walk?
After each walk the paws should be washed thoroughly to remove stones, road salt and ice from the paws. Apart from the fact that salt is very unpleasant, especially on wounds, dogs often lick their paws clean after a walk. This way the road salt gets into the dog's stomach where it can cause damage to the stomach lining. If your four-legged friend gets wet during a walk, you should also dry him off as soon as possible and leave him to dry completely in a warm and draught-free place.
Paw injuries can become very painful for our four-legged friend, even if they are only small. To protect the paw pads from cracks in winter and to keep them supple, a paw balm like our William Walker Paw Care is important. By the way, our paw balm is handmade in Germany and consists of 100% organic ingredients. It can therefore also be used for us humans as skin, hair and lip care - especially now that the temperature is going down more and more, not only dog pads dry out and crack. With our high-quality organic paw balm, you and your four-legged friend are both well prepared for the winter. If you want to know everything about dog paw care in winter, click here.
Fur-care in winter
With the fur-care in the winter, long and protruding fur should be trimmed at the paws and between the toes so that no ice-clumps form between the paw-bales. One can remove big snow-clumps moreover already during the walk carefully.
Do I have to change the diet in winter?
Do not change, but adapt! No matter if your dog is a snow and cold lover or a frostbite. The former needs more calories because he burns more calories than usual to keep warm and the latter needs a little less calories to keep him from getting winter bacon over the months. An extra treat here and there over the winter months won't hurt anyway, because winter bacon keeps you warm longer and soulfood in dark days does you good after all.
How do you get your four-legged friend through the winter months? And are your dogs rather snow hares or couch potatoes? Write it down in the comments.
Are you planning a winter holiday with your dog? For the perfect preparation, read our short checklist for travelling with your dog and our tips for a winter holiday with your dog.