Important Winter Care Tips for Your Dog

Posted by Dawn Donaldson

 

It's true that dogs have a much more robust natural coat than humans. However, that doesn't mean dogs can handle the really cold temperatures we experience in Cincinnati without any help. Because domestic dogs are used to being taken care of by their owners, the same applies during the winter.


The good news is by knowing a few essential winter care tips, you'll be able to keep your pup happy and healthy through even the worst winter days. So with that in mind, let's take a look at exactly what your dog needs from you when the temperature drops really low:


1. Grooming


Dry skin and flaky coats are common issues during the winter. You can help your dog by using a moisturizing shampoo and limiting the number of bathes it gets during the winter months. Frequent brushing is also a great way to get rid of skin flakes and stimulate good skin circulation.


2. Cold Weather Gear


A good rule of thumb is if it's too cold for you to go out without some type of coat, the same is true for your dog. It's worth looking into different coat and sweater options for your pup. You should also see if any protective footwear options make sense for your dog.


3. Walks


You may ultimately decide that booties aren't the right fit for your dog. If that's the case, there are also cream products that can create a protective barrier on your dog's feet during walks. You'll want to check your dog's feet when you get home and clean off any debris. As you're out for a walk, be sure to keep an eye out for anti-freeze or other chemicals on the ground. And if your dog is whining or showing other signs of anxiety, it probably means it's just too cold that day for a walk.


4. Winter Safety


In addition to avoiding chemicals that may spill on the sidewalk, don't ever leave your dog alone in the car. While this warning is more common during the summer, the extreme temperatures of winter can be just as dangerous. And if you have extra devices like space heaters plugged in around your home, make sure your dog can't get to the extension cords or any hot surfaces.


5. Hydration


Just as the winter is still a dangerous time to be alone in a car, it's possible for dogs to get dehydrated during the colder months. Make sure your dog always has a clean bowl of fresh water easily available.


By keeping those five tips in mind, you'll be able to help your dog manage the cold weather of winter. And if you're looking for a place where you dog can still have lots of fun even when the weather is bad, be sure to take a look at our doggie daycare.



How late it stays light outside isn’t the only thing that changes during the summer. The heat of this season can also cause some changes in your dog. Specifically, your dog’s eating habits may change when the temperature outside is elevated. If you’ve noticed any differences in your dog, keep reading to find out if the changes are consistent with what many dogs experience:


Eating Less During the Summer is Normal for a Dog


Plenty of dog owners notice that their pet doesn’t want to eat as much as normal when it’s hot outside. This may only occur during part of the summer. It’s also possible for a dog to get in a routine where they aren’t as hungry one night, return to normal the next and then start the cycle again. A dog’s decreased appetite during the summer is generally the result of a combination of feeling hot and being less active.


Other Issues That Cause a Dog to Eat Less (Plus Important Warning Signs)


As a rule of thumb, a dog that’s eating less but is still drinking plenty of water and being at least moderately active is most likely experiencing a temporary reduction in appetite that will disappear when the weather starts cooling down.


On the other hand, there are a few signs that a loss of appetite may be caused by something else. The first is if you’ve recently changed your dog’s food. Switching to a different brand or style may be accompanied by a period where your dog’s eating habits are less consistent.


The next thing to consider is if your dog has seemed anxious or depressed. These feelings can trigger a loss of appetite and may be caused by an event like kids going back to school (check out our recent post on how to best handle this transition).


It’s also worth seeing if your dog is getting food from another source. This type of invisible snacking happens far more often than many dog owners expect. While the issues covered above are all minor and fairly easy to fix, an underlying health problem can also be at fault for a dog’s loss of appetite.


One thing to remember with dogs is they often try to hide any signs of being sick or injured. So if a loss of appetite is accompanied by weight loss, aggressive behavior, not drinking water, vomiting, diarrhea and/or lack of energy, there’s probably a bigger issue than summer heat affecting your dog.


To reiterate, although it is totally normal for a dog’s eating habits to change during the summer, if you have any cause for concern, it’s always best to take your dog to the vet for a check. -
Dog Day Every Day

Your dog’s fur does a great job of keeping it warm during the winter. But when the temperature heats up, your dog’s coat isn’t very useful for helping to regulate heat. Instead, the way dogs get rid of heat is through a combination of panting and the glands in their footpads. While this works fine in normal conditions, dogs can only deal with so much heat.

If a dog gets too hot, it can cause their body to overheat. In a worst case situation, this results in a heat stroke. Since heat stroke can be a very serious condition, it’s important to understand how to recognize the signs and what to do if it happens. Just as importantly is knowing what you can do to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Signs and Causes of Heat Stroke

Excessive panting is an early sign that a dog is overheating. If this continues, a dog will begin to exhibit other signs of discomfort. It’s important to take stock of the surrounding temperature and decide if it seems too hot for a dog. The most common cause of this type of incident is a dog getting left in a car on a hot day. It can also happen if a dog is outside during the peak heat and is either too active or doesn’t have enough shade.

What to Do If Your Dog Has a Heat Stroke

Heat stroke can cause a dog to loses consciousness. If this happens, run cool water over your dog while preventing any water from going in its mouth. You can also apply an ice pack or bag of frozen vegetables to the dog’s head. You’ll want to massage your dog’s legs and then let your dog drink as much water as it wants upon waking. Putting a pinch of salt in the water can help your dog get lost minerals back. Then as soon as possible, get your dog to the vet so it can be checked for unseen problems like kidney issues, brain swelling or abnormal blood clotting.

How to Prevent Heat Stroke

The most important thing you can do is never leave your dog in your car during the summer. Even if it’s just a few minutes, temperatures can quickly spike to unsafe levels. It’s also important to avoid too much activity during the hottest hours of the day. And when you are outside with your dog, make sure there’s shade and fresh drinking water available.

If you can’t be with your dog during the day and want to ensure it’s in a safe environment with loving professionals who know how to prevent issues like heat stroke, be sure to take a look at our dog day care services for Cincinnati and the surrounding areas.