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When it’s warm, everyone looks forward to spending time outside and having fun with our dogs. Blue skies and warm temperatures are too rare a treat to not get excited. Then on the other hand, when the colder months loom, you and your dog will still get out, just doing different activities. That’s why it’s important to be aware of how seasonal changes affect our canine friends.
Hot weather brings a greater risk of hotspots, heatstroke, and dehydration. Your pup may also have to contend with unwanted critters like mosquitos, as well as changes to their appetite. Cold weather can pose it’s own set of problems with risks of hypothermia and icy conditions making it tricky underfoot. Having to worry about these dangers can make you more anxious than thrilled about changes in the weather.
But worry not, as you don’t have to let hot or cold weather get in the way of your adventures. The following are some ideas that will help you keep your pooch happy no matter the weather.
Dismiss the Myths
Let’s take a look at some common myths so that you know what to avoid.
When it comes to heat, trimming your dog’s coat will not cool them down. In fact, it has quite the opposite effect and may cause harm. Their hair actually staves off heat in addition to protecting them from the sun. Colder months and that extra fur will help keep them insulated, but that’s not to say let it grow out. Regardless of the season, it’s always recommended to spend time grooming your pup to remove mats and tangles.
Unlike us, dogs don’t use sweat to regulate their body temperature. They maintain air circulation by panting. But if the air they breathe is too hot, their efforts will be to no avail. Try to stay in the shade and keep your pup hydrated. Watch out for heavy breathing, drooling, and lethargy, which indicate that they aren’t getting enough water. You won’t need to worry so much in the colder months, but if your home is too hot, it could be a struggle for them.
Another difference comes with using water to cool down. When we do it, the water slowly evaporates and takes some heat away in the process. Dogs, on the other hand, cool off by dispelling air from their skin. This can’t happen if their coat is watered down, especially if it’s thick. Rather place a wet towel for your dog to stand on.
Dog clothes are incredibly fashionable, but they’re not always necessary. Most dogs can regulate their own temperature, but some small dogs and dogs with thin coats might need a jumper or coat in the winter when it’s very cold.
Aside from the strategies listed above, you can help your dog comfortable in the following ways:
Out and About
Be mindful of the weather when planning your excursions. During the hot weather, walks are best taken early in the morning or in the evening. This will not only help you (and your dog) avoid high temperatures, but also hot surfaces. If you can’t keep your bare feet on the pavement, then it’s certainly no good for your pup’s paws.
You should also think about your dog’s paws when it’s cold too, frostbite can affect them during extremely cold snaps. Icy conditions don’t help anyone, and can be just as tricky under paw for your dog too.
You could try a pair of booties., this will help in both sets of weather, but may not go down well with your dog. If your pooch is like most dogs, they’ll probably want nothing more than to take them off. So skipping the footwear and sticking to grassy areas might be a safer bet.
Pay attention to your pup when heading out. Any signs of dehydration or heatstroke call for an immediate end to the trip. Heatstroke can kill, if you think your dog is suffering symptoms of heatstroke, you should seek veterinary treatment as soon as possible. Don’t forget about fleas and mosquitos. Preventative treatments are a worthwhile investment here (you can use garlic to ward off the latter).
When it’s cold, your dog can suffer from hypothermia if exposed to cold weather for too long. If your dog has short fur make sure that you take your dog’s coat to stave off the cold. And always have a towel handy in case you get caught in a downpour.
You should also consider dog insurance in case anything unexpected happens. This way, you can have peace of mind knowing that help to cover any treatment that your pup might need will be there. To find out what it’ll cost, head over to everypaw.com for a quick quote. Their dog insurance policies come with a free activity tracker for keeping count of steps.
Staying in shaded areas is key to avoiding sunburn. However, it’s not always possible. That’s why it’s a good idea to pick up a dog-friendly sunscreen. This is particularly important for dogs with light-coloured coats, as they’re the most sensitive to damage. Look for quick-drying, broad-spectrum protection that defends against both UVA and UVB rays.
Buy Cooling And Heating Products
If you’re keen on spoiling your pup, you’ll be glad to know that there are many great cooling products available for pets. This includes portable ice jackets that are made from heat-releasing fabric. Companies like Petkit sell dog drinking fountains that even purify the water.
You can also fit a cooling mat into your dog’s bed to keep them comfortable when they sleep. These products are usually capable of maintaining a temperature around three degrees lower than normal fabric. A great budget option is to buy a chew toy that can be filled with water and frozen to make an ice lolly.
When it’s cold, consider getting your dog a heat mat for your car, so that they feel snug and comfortable. You should also invest in spare towels and carry plenty of treats to keep your dog happy even when it’s chilly.
By following these points, you can look forward to some great times with your dogs all year round and your pup will certainly appreciate the love and care.
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