Like all of our canine friends, personal protection dogs need special protection when they venture outside into winter’s chill and elements.
Many owners of personal protection dogs wrongly believe because their dog’s warm fur is all they need to keep warm while outside in the winter. Like we humans, dogs who are acclimated to being inside feel the cold when they venture outside. Simply put, winter is a time of year when dogs face season health risks that you can prevent.
Frostbite is one of the most common risks of winter for dogs. Frostbite can happen quickly and occurs when your dog gets cold. A dog’s body will pull blood from its ears, paws and tail and route it to the center of his body in order to stay warm. Frostbite can be hard to spot, but look for skin that is pale, gray, hard or cold.
Hypothermia can occur when a dog simply spends too much time outdoors in the cold or gets wet when playing in the snow. How do you know when your dog is getting hypothermia? In mild cases, He may shiver and his ears and feet may be cold. In more severe cases, your dog will be lethargic and show signs of weakness. Your dog’s heart and breathing will also slow in the advanced stages of hypothermia, which is life threatening.
A good rule of thumb is this: If it’s too cold for you to go outside without a coat on, it’s probably too cold for your protection dog to go outside as well. Be attentive to your dog’s behavior when he is outside in winter and bring him in when he shows signs of being cold.
Whether or not you already have a protection dog or are looking for a personal protection dogs for sale, there are steps you can take to keep them safe this season.
1. Be temperature savvy Some personal protections dogs for sale have nice thick coats that are able to keep them warm no matter what the outside temperature dips down to. Others have thinner coats and may need a jacket to keep them warm when you are outside. While coats do a good job of keeping a dog’s body warm, they do leave their tail, paws and earls exposed to the elements, so don’t keep your thin-haired dog outside too long in the winter.
2. Enjoy the sunshine If your protection dog is susceptible to winter’s chill, enjoy walks when the sun is shining at its peak later in the morning and early afternoon to get the vitamin D both you and your dog need.
3. Keep an eye on the clock When its cold outside, take your dog out for shorter but more frequent walks. How do you know when your dog is ready to come in? When you’re ready, he’s probably ready as well. If your protection dog goes outside in your yard by himself, don’t leave him unattended for a long period of time.
4. A warm bed is best Your dog can also get cold inside during the winter if he sleeps on a chilly floor. A warm bed and blanket will keep your dog comfortable. Be sure your dog’s bed is out of the way of drafts and is raised if its on a uncarpeted or tiled floor.
5. Keep away from heaters Dogs will often snuggle right up to heat sources like space heaters and radiators in the winter, which can cause them to be burned. Avoid using space heaters and install radiator covers to prevent that from happening. Be sure to pet=proof your fireplace as well.
6. Food supplement Add a skin and coat supplement to your dog’s food to prevent dry, flaky skin during the winter.
7. Watch the diet Like humans, protection dogs can gain weight during the winter due to inactivity. Watch your dog’s diet and adjust caloric intake as necessary.
8. Hydration is keep Make sure your protection dog has plenty of good, clean water to drink during the winter. Although many dogs eat snow while they are outside playing, it is not a good substitute for water.
9. Don’t neglect grooming Pay attention to your dog’s coat during the winter months. A healthy, clean coat is what insulates him against the cold, After you’ve given your dog a bath, be sure he is completely dry before you allow him to go back outside.
10. Pay attention to those paws If your protection dog has hairy paws, keep the fur trimmed in between the pads in order to prevent ice buildup. Salt that is used on sidewalks is both toxic to dogs and can cause burns on their paws. Be sure to rinse their feet off after you’ve walked on sidewalks that have been treated with the compound. Another way to prevent paw problems is to buy a pair of doggie boots.
11. Say no to snow piles Even the best trained personal protection dogs for sale find it hard to resist a large pile of snow, which provides an easy escape route when piled up near a fence. Keep snow piles low.
12. Be watchful If you are walking in an unfamiliar area, keep an eye out for frozen ponds or lakes which may be difficult to spot.
13. Poison prevention Many dogs will lick up sweet tasting antifreeze, so be sure to keep your dog out of the garage in the winter.
14. Just no. Never leave your dog alone in the car in the winter.
15. Senior care Cold weather can aggravate arthritis in senior protection dogs, so be sure to include a joint supplement in their diets and give them a warm and comfortable rest area when they come inside.
Using these tips will help make winter a fun time for you and your protection dog.