Hello everyone, Doctor Dox here! Winter is fast approaching and soon it will be time for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and snow, but most importantly, it will get cold!! Here are some great tips for keeping your dachshund safe for this winter, some that you may already know and others that you may not have thought of before!
- Make sure that your dog is healthy! Like in people, cold weather brings more pain to dogs with arthritis so it’s important to be sure that your dog is in good shape and to make sure you know ways to prevent pain and discomfort. There are other illnesses that are affected by the cold weather as well, such as dogs with diabetes, heart disease, kidney diseases, and hormonal imbalances so it’s always best to be prepared.
- Know what your dog can handle! Not all dogs can handle the cold the
same way as they all have different coat lengths, body fat levels, activity level, and health level. Dogs with short hair should definitely not be in the cold for very long so you may want to plan on shorter walks and potty break times. Those with shorter legs (like a dachshund!) are more at risk of getting cold due to their lower stomachs and bodies touching more of the snow. Even though some dogs may have longer or thicker hair, they are still at risk to the cold. Also, those that are young puppies and older have a harder time with temperature control so keep an eye on them for sure!
- Keep them inside! Even if your dog is an outside dog, please let them in! Dogs are just as susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite as humans are and should especially not be outside in below freezing temperatures. Imagine if you had to stay out in that cold!
- Check your cars! It might seem like a silly tip, but animals that don’t have a home like to hide in places that are warm during these cold months, especially underneath running cars. Make sure you make some sort of noise such as honking your horn or checking under your car to let them know you’re about to move and want to avoid any harm.
- Raise their paws! With snow and ice comes the possibility of having damage done to the pads and bottoms of your dogs’ feet. Make sure there are no cracks or signs of bleeding as these are common. Also, make sure to wipe down your dogs’ feet after they come in from outside to make sure that antifreeze or other chemicals are removed. Areas that you may also want to wipe down are their legs and bellies. If not wiped down your dog will lick its fur and ingest these chemicals which are extremely poisonous! Lastly, make sure that any product you buy to survive the weather is pet friendly and is less likely to cause harm!
- Doll them up! Some people might think that you are ridiculous for
dressing up your dog, but in the winter it may be a necessity! Dogs with shorter hair may need to wear a sweater or a coat while they are outside to keep them warm. If you’re going to be outside for a while, bring more than one of these as wet items will definitely make them colder.
- Make sure they are tagged! Winter time is the worst time for a dog to run away as the cold air often makes it difficult for a dog to pick up its scent. Make sure you have a collar on each of your dogs with the latest contact information and also that it fits your dog well. If you haven’t considered getting your dog micro-chipped, you may definitely want to!
- Keep your dog at home! Just as it’s important to not leave your dog in a hot car, it’s very important that you don’t keep them in a cold one as well. You don’t want them to turn into a pup-sicle!
- Dog-proof your home! If they don’t normally spend that much time in the house your dog may not be used to life inside and what things he or she may not touch. Make sure that anything flammable is out of reach so that they don’t cause a house fire, and be aware that any heaters are not in a place where they can be knocked over.
- Avoid any ice! For those of you who live on a body of water, make sure that your dog maintains a safe distance from the water. There may not be enough ice to support the weight of your dog, and if anything were to happen it could be deadly not only for your dog, but for you or anyone who may try to rescue them.
- Provide shelter! If you absolutely cannot bring your dog inside the house,
make sure that they are still well protected from the cold. Make sure they have a shelter that is able to protect them from the wind and stays dry. You will want to provide one where the floor is off the ground as well to prevent too much body heat being lost to the ground underneath them. Provide them with an endless supply of water that is fresh and thick bedding and blankets that are changed regularly. Finally, make sure that you do not have any space heaters or heat lamps of any type in the shelter as these can cause burns and other serious hazards.
- Know the signs of trouble! If your dog starts slowing down, wh,;ining, shivering, seeming anxious, stops moving or seems weak, and starts to dig for a warmer spot, bring them in as soon as possible as these are signs of hypothermia. Frostbite may not be clear until a couple days after the damage has been done, but if you suspect your dog may have it take your dog to the vet as soon as possible.
- Be prepared. Like any season, hazardous weather can bring the unexpected. Blizzards, power outages, or no heat in the house can make things difficult so you want to make sure you will have what you need not only for yourself, but for your pet as well. Make sure you have enough food, water, and medicine packed to last for at least 5 days.
- Finally, keep your dog well fed. You will want to make sure that your dog
has enough food to help keep their body moving and warm, but you want to make sure you don’t overdo it to the point where it becomes dangerous to their health. Colder weather means your dog will be burning extra calories, so make sure they have something to burn those calories with!
Now that you know a little bit more about how to keep your dog safe, there is no better time to get started on preparations than now. And we hope that not only does your dog stay safe, but that you stay safe as well! Also, we would like to ask that you consider our friends that are in shelters or rescues like our own, and give them the gift of a new home this holiday season! For more information about our dogs at the rescue, visit thelongdogretreat.org and adopt today!
**This information was brought to you by the American Veterinarian Medical Association. For more information visit their website avma.org.