For the third year in a row, we’ve experienced extremely cold temperatures here in Calgary. This winter, temperatures plummeted to -30 and below during our winter break cold snap – briefly making parts of Alberta the coldest in the world! Us Canadians and our furry friends are used to braving the cold, but with the extreme cold comes the need for us to put extra care into keeping our pets safe and warm.
Here are 7 tips on how to keep your dog protected from winter conditions, while still enjoying the enriched and active life they're used to.
Wear a Sweater
First and foremost, bundle! Dog clothing and sweaters are a go-to for a reason – especially for small dogs. Wearing a sweater can be a crucial way to not only keep them warm but keep them from getting wet and having a drop in their body temperature.
With so many to choose from, you should have no trouble finding one that fits your dog comfortably, suits your and their needs, and keeps them looking super-stylish. We carry options including the RC Pets Baseline Fleece and RC Pets Circuit Coat, which can be combined to create layers of warmth.
Have Fun Indoors
Some days it's just too cold to go outside for more than a few minutes, and supplementing the outdoors with additional stimulus indoors can make all the difference in your dog’s activity levels over the winter. Take this as an opportunity to finally dive into teaching that time-consuming trick, try out some nose work, or make them work for their dinner. Even just walking around somewhere indoor and pet-friendly like Pisces Pet Emporium can be a great way to get some stimulus and physical activity without dealing with the cold.
Similar to our first point, wearing dog booties is an incredibly effective way to keep your dog's paws safe from the cold, salt, and even sub-zero sidewalks. Paws are often one of the most at-risk parts of the body, too, as they are in constant contact with the cold ground. Additionally, salt on a dog's paws can cause dryness, cracking, itching, and even burns. Keeping paws covered eliminates both risks and keeps your dog's paws feeling comfy and cosy.
We have lots of options available here at Pisces, and can even help you with fitting.
Keep Paws Clean
Paws run more of a risk of injury from the cold due to their constant contact. And for some dogs who aren’t fans of booties or can’t logistically wear them daily, keeping paws clean is important to remove any salt, ice, or chemicals they may have had contact with. Trimming long hair on a dog’s paws will prevent ice and other winter debris from building up on their paws, and wiping them after a walk can prevent any soreness or dryness.
Yes, moisturize! If you live in Calgary, then you've undoubtedly noticed how dry our winters are. Our dogs have an extra risk of developing dry and sore paws after contact with cold and salt and can develop a dry nose pad from the cold as well. Routine use of a balm such as Hemp4Paws Nose & Paws Protection Balm will keep areas unprotected by fur from drying out.
Try a Heated Dog Bed
We don’t know about your dog, but ours has a tendency to sleep as close to the fireplace or heater as possible each winter. This is, obviously, hazardous and finding another way to keep them snug and warm will ensure that they stay safe and that you can keep the fireplace on. Try a heated dog bed, like the K&H Lectro Soft Indoor/Outdoor Bed and give your dog their own designated go-to-get-warm spot.
Know the Cold’s Warning Signs
Lastly, knowing the signs of risks such as hypothermia and frostbite is an important way to keep your dog safe in the cold. Like us, dogs can develop frostbite in as little as 30 minutes when outside in temperatures below 0. They most commonly develop frostbite on their ears, tail, and paws. It can take longer to show on the ears and tail, but keep an eye out for lifting paws and any signs of discomfort while keeping them outside for longer than 20 minutes.
Hypothermia occurs in dogs when their internal temperature reaches 37°C or lower. This can be more dependent on breed, coat, and even outside temperatures so be sure to come inside if you see any signs of rapid breathing, shaking, or lethargy.
Come visit us at Pisces this winter for a doggy field trip, or shop online to shop our wide selection of supplies for dogs – year round!