Do dogs need winter coats

Winter and cold

© BTK Hebeler
Can my dog ​​catch a cold?
In dogs too, drafts or lying on cold stones or in a cold environment can lead to diseases such as bladder infections or a weakened immune system. This can promote an infection of the respiratory tract, because viruses or bacteria then have an easier time. Targeted treatment of the sick animal by the veterinarian may be necessary.

How do I know my dog ​​is freezing?
If the dog feels uncomfortable in the cold, he will shiver and pull in the tail, walk clammy and usually slower.

Is a dog coat necessary in winter?
Healthy dogs usually do not need a coat for walks outside. For old or sick animals, breeds with short fur and no undercoat, a dog coat can be useful in exceptional cases. When buying, you should pay attention to light, skin-friendly and breathable material. Wool, cotton and things you knit yourself from them are not water-repellent and therefore not suitable. The "coat" must fit well and must not constrict any part of the body or rub the skin. But it shouldn't sit too loosely either, because then it won't warm enough or the dog will get stuck on objects or bushes.

Should dogs wear dog shoes (booties) in snow and ice?
The dog's paw is by nature quite robust, but the pads are sensitive and soft in some individuals. Regular checks are important. For dogs with soft or cracked pads, it can be useful to put booties on in the ice and snow in the city. These protect against the sharp-edged ice and salt. In the case of slush, the firmer variant of booties should be chosen for these sensitive dogs.

Does the dog need special foot care in winter?
The main problem in winter is road salt. Salt is especially a problem with dry, cracked bales as it can penetrate the cracks and cause pain. Many dogs are reluctant to be touched by the pads, which makes it difficult to rub in milking fat or petroleum jelly. Training for this can be useful so that the pads and the hairy areas in between can be treated before the walk.

What do I have to consider after a walk in winter?
A thorough, lukewarm "foot bath" for the dog after the walk is enough to rinse off the salt. After that, the pads should be rubbed again with fatty ointment.

If the pads are painfully irritated by salt, the dog will lick the areas excessively, thus promoting further irritation and inflammation. He also consumes more salt, which can lead to gastrointestinal irritation. The hair can be shortened there to prevent too much ice from forming between the pads.

Is wetness particularly dangerous in winter?
A wet dog should be dried off in winter and then at home in a warm, dry and draft-free place until it is completely dry again. Wet dogs should not lie on cold surfaces such as stone or tiles, as this can cause inflammation of the lungs or bladder.

Go for a walk in the dark?
In the dark, people and animals should wear highly visible reflectors so that drivers can see them and keep their distance. A reflective collar and additional moving indicators are one option, a whole harness with reflectors is another.

Do I have to feed my dog ​​differently in winter?
Animals that are mostly outside or kept outside have an increased energy consumption in winter to keep warm. With such animals, the feed ration and quality must be different and higher in winter than in summer. For most city dwelling animals, the cold does not play a role in the diet, as they only go outside for a limited amount of time.

But be careful:Animals with short fur and no undercoat also need more energy in winter to regulate their heat balance. This may also apply to shorn animals (after surgery or ultrasound examination) or sick animals. Therefore, ask your veterinarian specifically about the treatment.

The amount of feed depends on the individual and his or her husbandry conditions. If anything is unclear, the vet can give advice, because too much food is just as harmful as too little. Obesity is a problem for some dogs, both in winter and in summer.

Can my dog ​​eat snow?
Eating snow and licking icy puddles should be prevented, because not every dog's stomach loves ice cold. This can cause abdominal cramps, gastrointestinal inflammation, bloody diarrhea or vomiting. It is better not to throw snowballs, because it stimulates snow-eating.