Preparing Your Dog for Cold Weather

Temperatures in the Carolinas are quickly falling, and that is leaving many people reaching for their coats and scarves and turning up the heat. Even though your dog is covered in fur, it does not totally protect them from the cold weather; they get cold too! That is why it is important to take steps to keep your dog warm, dry, and comfortable this winter.

  • Maintain fur only as needed.

While you want to ensure your dog is tangle-free, ease up on the haircuts and baths. Washing their fur too frequently can strip it of essential oils and leave their skin feeling dry and itchy. If their fur is getting too long, give it just a small trim to keep it under control. Don’t go too short and leave them less protected from the cold.

  • Cover up.

When headed outside, add an extra layer of protection by putting a coat or sweater on your dog, especially if it is small or has very short hair. This not only helps keep the heat in, it also keeps snow and rain out. Wet fur can contribute to hypothermia and frostbite risk. Make sure to dry your dog’s fur and paws as much as possible when they come inside. Look for any salt, rocks, or ice that may have become lodged between their toes or the pads of their paws.

  • Keep them close.

Put your dog on a leash when going outside rather than letting them wander free. This helps you to control how long they stay out and where they go. Clear a small patch of grass in the yard or stick to shoveled walkways while outdoors. Pay attention to what your dog is doing to keep them from licking at rock salt or frozen puddles that may contain antifreeze or other toxins. These substances can make your dog very sick.

  • Adjust food and water.

Trying to stay warm in the cold weather can burn extra calories and energy, so your dog may need a little extra food to stay energized. If your dog is firmly rooted inside next to the fireplace, on the other hand, they may need a little less food because they’re not as active. Ensure that they have access to plenty of fresh, clean (non-frozen) water as well to keep them hydrated.

  • Stay warm.

Make sure your dog has a warm, comfortable space to curl up when inside. Even carpeted floors can be cold, so add an extra layer of blankets and move their bed away from any drafts. If you’re using space heaters, keep your dog at a safe distance. A warm water bottle wrapped in a towel can be an effective way to warm them up a bit and provide some extra comfort.

  • Play inside.

When it’s simply too cold to be outside, make sure your dog has the opportunity to be active indoors. Create an open space where you can play with their favorite toys with them or have a game of tug-of-war. Get a puzzle toy where they have to figure out how to get the treat in order to keep them mentally stimulated as well.

If your dog normally spends a lot of time outside, you’ll want to bring them in for the winter. If you can’t be home with them for an extended time, consider boarding them at Lake Wylie Pet Resort instead so they can stay active, run around, and get the attention they crave while also having the opportunity to relax in a luxurious dog suite. We can also take care of their winter grooming needs. Contact us today to schedule your dog’s stay!