Do you have severe winters where you live? Count yourself and your rescue dog lucky if you don’t suffer the cold. Harsh winter weather can affect your dog’s health. Check out why below.


German Shepherd Mix Breed in snow

A fur coat is great in winter, but it doesn’t prevent some negative impacts to your dog’s health. “It’s easy to spot when dogs are cold. They shiver and seek warmth just like we do. Your dogs may not act like themselves. They may be lethargic, or they may want to spend more time inside,” says Dr. Kelly Ryan, director of veterinary services at Animal Medical Center of Mid-America.

Don’t be fooled into thinking all heavy coated dogs are protected from cold weather. A wet coat in low temperatures can chill your rescue dog to the bone. Be sure to dry your dog when bringing him in from inclement weather

Blankets Or Hay For Your Dog’s Warmth?

I love German Shorthaired Pointers as hunting dogs. One of the ways we protect our outside dog’s health in the middle of winter is adding hay to their barrels. The barrels are kept off the ground on heavy metal stands. Hay is stuffed in the barrel when the first cold snap hits. Hay is better than blankets as it has air pockets that work as insulation. Blankets can absorb the moisture from the dog’s bodies and remain damp. As a result, the damp blankets draw in the cold and actually chill the dogs. 

As a bonus, there is no better photo, than that of your prized pup sticking his head through the hay to say, “Good morning!”

Fleas and Ticks In The Winter

Photo Credit pets4home

One misconception about fleas is they die off every winter. The flea facts beg to differ. Only under extreme weather conditions, such as five consecutive days of 30.1 degrees Fahrenheit, do these dog pestering critters begin to die off. Therefore, your dog needs flea protection and consistent bathing even in the winter to prevent the little blood-suckers from claiming a winter home on your pet.

In harsh winter weather, ticks will die off without a blood-meal over the course of 24-hours. But if they have a host, they can survive a lot longer. Some go dormant during the low temperatures but resume activity on warm winter days. 

Older Dog’s Health

cold weather can impact older dog’s health

Older dogs need pampering in the winter. Consider getting them some booties especially if they walk on cold floors during the day. Senior dog ailments such as arthritis cause joints to ache just like in humans. Ask your vet, what you can give your dog to ease his or her pain during the extreme weather days. 

Are you considering adopting an adult dog? Check this out.

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