If you're still enjoying the warm weather, you might not have started thinking about winter. But, now's the perfect time to get ready for the cold weather, especially if you have a dog. You know you need to get yourself ready for winter. But, you might not have thought about your pet. Unfortunately, cold weather can be a real threat to your dog's health. Here are four steps you can take to help your dog survive the cold winter months.
Gather Their Winter Gear
If you're expecting freezing temperatures this winter, it's time to gather your dog's cold-weather gear. This is especially important where snow and ice are concerned. If your dog isn't bred for cold weather, their fur isn't enough to protect them from the cold.
To make sure your dog doesn't suffer ill-effects from the cold weather, you'll need to make sure they have a coat on when they go outside. They should also have protective footwear. The footwear is especially important if they are going to be walking through road salt, or other de-icers. The chemicals in road salt and de-icers can injure your dog's feet. They can also make your dog sick, especially if your dog likes to lick their feet after a walk. Finally, if your dog has exposed ears, you'll want to make sure they have a covering for their head.
Increase Their Bedding
Winter nights can be quite cold. If you put extra blankets on your bed during the winter, make sure you do the same for your dog. Place at least one thick blanket on your dog's bed. That way, they can burrow under the covers when they get too cold. If your dog likes to spend time outside during the winter, make sure you upgrade to an insulated dog house for them. That way, they have a warm place to go while they're playing outside. For maximum protection, it's best to have your dog sleep indoors during the winter.
Offer Additional Water
When you think of dehydration, summer might come to mind. That's because the temperatures are so much warmer during the summer. But, your dog can get dehydrated during the winter too; so it's important that you give your dog extra water during the winter. When you leave water outside during the winter, make sure you're not using a metal bowl. Metal allows the water to freeze quicker.
Watch for Winter Illnesses
Finally, once winter arrives, you'll need to watch for cold-weather illnesses. Winter illnesses can pose a serious risk to your dog. Two winter illnesses you need to be worried about include, pneumonia and the flu. If your dog develops a cough, runny nose, or fever, visit a veterinarian as soon as possible.
To learn more about preparing your dog for winter, contact a veterinary clinic like Third Street Veterinary.