Winter warmth for the wet nose!
Winters can badly affect dogs if they are not properly cared. Some tips to keep your pets warm in winters.
There are many signs in the air that tell you that winters are setting in. But for me personally—as with all the others who have dogs at home—the clearest sign of the onset of winters is when your four-legged member begins to shift over to the carpet or mats that he can find. While there are many who are rigid about not letting their dogs into certain areas, I personally don’t follow that demarcation. And I think my dog knows that. So, every winter, when even the slightest of chill sets in, Mr. four legs trots over to my bed and curls himself in. For me, THAT is the sign that its wintertime folks!!!
As humans, we begin to prepare ourselves to brave the chill by digging out our woollens, our heaters and our hot water bottles. Once we are ready with our winter paraphernalia, we feel well equipped to enjoy the winter season. However, not many people realise that even our four-legged companions need certain preparations for them to be able to go through the winters. Nature definitely has equipped them to face different weathers, but sadly, its not enough sometimes. Most dogs succumb to the winter chill.
The worst part however is when the dog-owners have the resources but have still lost their dogs to the bitter season—only because they were not so well aware of how exactly to take care of their pets in this period. I know of a family who brought a Labrador home. Bozo, as he was called, had soon become a part of their family, and was loved by one and all. But it was during winters, that Bozo suddenly lost his appetite and would just lie with a lost look. Sleeping all night long on cold floor had brought him fever that finally went to his brain. He died within a week, and his family — or owners — still haven’t gotten over his death. To this day, they haven’t forgiven themselves for not being careful about their dog’s care during the winters.
I sympathised with them for the loss they had suffered. I also learnt a very important lesson from the tragedy—NEVER consider your pet different from humans as far as care, love and protection are concerned. They need as much—if not more, to be safe, secure and warm in winters—if only certain things are kept in mind.
Make sure your dog is always at a safe distance from the heaters and blowers. Place a bowl of water in front of the heater to prevent dehydration in dog, especially pups. While most owners intentionally keep such supplementary heat sources close to the dogs, it can sometimes be harmful. They could get severe burns, and often, the dog catches cold when he shifts from a very warm zone to a cold one, especially when he goes out for a walk.
Walking the dog
Much as your dog jumps at the idea of a walk, make sure he is as well equipped as you are, to brave the cold. It is important to get him a sweater or a coat to keep him warm during walks. Pet breeds like Dachshund, Beagle and Boxer, having thin hair coat, are more likely to catch cold especially in chilly weather. Also, if ever your dog gets wet in the rain during the cold season, make sure to dry him with a towel or a blow dryer. They sure will really be happy and healthy with your loving care.
Your pet’s diet needs to be taken care of, they need to be fed additional calories, since it takes more energy in winters to regulate body temperature. They should be fed more of non-vegetarian food since it provides heat to their body. Meat, chicken, fish and eggs are some of the food items that keeps them warm from inside. Also our dear canines need plenty of fresh water. For this, not only is it important to check if the water dish is full and fresh, but also see to it that he constantly has some of it.
The biggest threats that the pet dogs face in winters are wind chill, frostbite and hypothermia. Though we don’t have snow in many places in India, there are quite a few places, where temperature drops really low. While most people think otherwise, the winter chill can actually be fatal for some pets. In order to ensure your dog is safe, make sure that the place he usually sits on, is carpeted or at least has a mat. Tiles and uncarpeted floor usually becomes very cold and since the dog’s whole body has a direct contact with it, the floor needs to be covered. If that is not possible, put down a blanket or pads for him to lie on.
The happiest dogs in winters are those, who have doting owners to take care of their food, shelter and walks. And believe me, when you see them safely cuddled amidst the family, carefree and oblivious to the chill outside, snoring away to glory, winters will not seem so bad after all….For our pets, the best way to show your concern is to have them safe and warm in your home, with the entire family. And when all is said and done, the bottom line is that give them plenty of your love, care and company, and they will be just fine.