Pets and Cold Weather

Its no surprise to anyone (and if it is, you’re in for a rude awakening) that Chicago winters are windy, frigid and painful. We feel freezing cold under layers and layers of clothes, and coats – but what about your dog? Does a dog’s fur help them stay warm? Are dogs ok outside for long periods of time in the winter? Are some dog breeds better for the cold than others? There are a lot of differences between humans and dogs when it comes to how the cold affects us, so its important to know how your dog feels on those frigid Chicago days.

Wipe them down

Surprisingly, one of the most harmful things to pets in the winter time is the potential poisoning that comes from salt and antifreeze. Your dog runs around in snow and walks on sidewalks that are filled with chemicals. Give your dog a good wipe down when you bring them back inside so that if they decide to lick their paws or stomachs, they aren’t also ingesting harmful chemicals they picked up outside. 

Coats actually help

They may look goofy but coats for your dog actually provide a lot of warmth, that is, if your dog will let you put one on them. Coats are recommended in cold temperatures especially for smaller dogs or dogs with short hair. If you have a dog with longer hair that gets cut, never cut or shave your dog too short in the winter because their hair provides much-needed protection from the winter temperatures. Also, if your bathe your dog on a cold day make sure they’re thoroughly dried before going outside. 

Puppies are extra sensitive to the cold

Puppies (like babies) are even more affected by the cold weather. If you’re having trouble potty training, it may be wise to give them a break and use puppy pads on the coldest days as their little bodies may not be able to handle the wind and cold.

Keep them cozy

If your dog sleeps on the floor, make sure they have a bed or somewhere cozy to sleep. Floors and doorways can be cold and drafty in the winter and can affect your dogs health if they get too cold. Put down a blanket or bed or let them cuddle with you to help keep you both warm!

Never leave pets alone with electric blankets or heating pads

It may seem like you’re giving your pet the perfect day at home by leaving them wrapped up in a heated blanket or with a heating pad under their favorite bed, however, this can cause a lot of danger if it overheats or if your pet happens to chew into the electrical wires.

They can get colds

The cold weather can give them illnesses just like us. If your pet isn’t behaving normally or seems ill, be sure to take them to see a vet as soon as possible.

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