Myth-busting winter for your dogs!
There are a lot of dog myths and lies out there about what our dogs can and can’t handle when it comes to winter weather. Maybe you’ve been told: “Just tie them up outside; their coat can handle it”! Or something as extreme as: “Make sure your dog wears a boot, goggles, and a coat”! Even if they are outside for only a few moments. We may not know everything about dogs here. However, WE are here to help set the record straight, bust the dog myths, and get you winter tips for what your dog can handle this winter season.
5 Common Dog Myths You Should Know About:
Dog Myths: You MUST feed your dog more in the winter!
This area has some truth to it and also some falseness, which is why we are putting this in the dog myth category.
The truth is that some of our dogs need to be fed a bit more during the winter months! You may ask yourself: “Why do they need more food? This sounds like a money scheme”. Some dogs love to be out in the winter weather.
Some of the long-haired dogs, such as Huskies, Golden Retrievers, or Australian Shepherds, could spend all day outside if we would let them. They love to be out where it is cooler, so the winter is a great time for them to get out and let out a lot of the energy they need to expend. With doing all of this extra running around, you may find that these snow buddies need to have a bit more dog food so that they do not lose too much weight.
The falsehood is that other dogs who HATE to be cold or should not be out in colder weather for too long need to be fed more food. If you have a dog with shorter hair like a Pit Bull, Pug, or Chihuahua, they probably fall into this category of how famous comedian Jim Gaffigan puts it “…our family is what you call indoors…”. When your dog is not out expending as much energy, it may be time to consider cutting back on some of the food or, at the bare minimum keeping it the same.
So, in short, dogs who are outside a lot in the wintertime and expend energy may need more food than usual, while dogs that stay indoors and out of the cold the majority of the time probably don’t even need as much food as normal.
Dog Myths: All dogs can handle extreme temperatures
While all dogs can tolerate being outside in the winter, not all dogs can handle the extreme cold for so long. Let’s talk about that more.
Did you know that different dogs have different coats?
Long-haired dogs generally have hair that is known as a double coat. The hair on top that you see is long in appearance and is known as a top coat or guard hair coat. This hair is what you see on hairier dogs like Golden Retrievers, Australian Shepherds, Huskies, and other long-haired dogs. The coat beneath the top guard coat is called an undercoat. The fluffier a dog appears, the more undercoating they have.
Dogs that have a double coat are able to tolerate extreme weather conditions better, as this is what they are literally bred for. However, some other dogs do not have this luxury.
While short-haired dogs still have a top coat and undercoat, the hair that covers their body is substantially less and is much shorter. This means that they can not handle the winter conditions as easily as the dogs that have a double coat. They may need something like a jacket or boots to help protect them from the elements.
So to recap, all dogs can be outside in the winter. Some dogs have double coats, so they can handle the conditions with relative ease, while other dogs having shorter hair may require some additional protection to prevent frostbite or sickness when out for a longer period of time.
Dog Myths: The winter weather will make your dog drink more water.
While all dogs drink more after a lot of exercise, there are many reasons why your dog may be drinking more. If your dog is drinking more water throughout the day, you may need to take them to the vet, as this can be a sign of a medical condition. However, if you notice that your dog is only drinking slightly more, this can be expected in the winter months.
Your dog is 80% water (well, maybe less when he peed on your kid’s shoes). In the winter, we usually turn on the heaters. This causes the air to be drier and causes your dog to be thirsty more quickly.
So to recap this dog myth, all dogs may drink more in the winter because it is warmer in your home and the air is drier. However, if they are consistently looking to drink more water (how did the toilet bowl lose all the water anyway?), that may be a sign that your dog needs to go to the vet and be checked for a health issue.
Dog Myths: Fireplaces are dangerous for dogs!
All dogs enjoy curling up by the fire, just like we do. Who wants to sit inside and feel like you are freezing to death? Your dog enjoys being warm and cozy as well, so you may see them come closer to a wood stove, pellet stove, or even a fireplace.
The dangers of an open fire are no different for a human than they are for a dog. A regular fire is a source of comfort and warmth for a dog and is no danger to its health. Of course, beware of sparking and popping fire, as sparks or embers can fly out and cause burns or, even worse, a full-on fire!
To prevent this from happening, make sure that whatever flame source you are using is properly covered. Something as simple as a fireplace cover can make a world of difference. This way, you and your pooch can enjoy the warmth of the fire all winter long.
So let’s recap, a fireplace can be just as dangerous for dogs and humans alike. However, with the proper safety measures in mind, you can enjoy the fire all winter long with your pooch.
Dog Myths: My puppy or senior dog doesn’t need special attention in the winter.
Who doesn’t love to take a picture with their puppy or senior dog in the snow? (We think the white makes the old guy’s grey hair look a bit better, but you be the judge of that). It is so easy to think to yourself that it will only take 5 or 10 minutes to snap a picture for your social media page, share it, and be the dog influencer that your pooch thinks you are! The problem can be that you forget that a dog in this phase of life can have some additional needs when outside.
Puppies and senior dogs require so many of the items that we talked about for short-haired dogs. A little less time in extreme conditions, and if it can’t be avoided, some booties or a jacket will help! We know it may seem like extra spoiling, but knowing your dog is safe is something you can not put a price tag on!
So to recap, even though you may have a long-haired dog, making sure that you have them bundled up for warmth with a jacket and booties is probably best if they are a senior or a puppy.
In dispelling these 5 dog myths about your dog and the winter season, we hope you were able to learn something new along the way. To make it easier to find all the information (because you are going to send your friends here, right?!) In one place, take a look below to see our main dog myths.
1.) You may need to feed your dog more food in the winter if that is when they are most active. Otherwise, keep their diet the same or consider cutting back a little bit so that they do not become overweight.
2.) All dogs can tolerate cold weather. However, you need to know if your dog has a dull coat or short hair and a short undercoat to make sure that you prepare them in the best way possible for the elements of winter.
3.) Drinking a little more water in the winter isn’t a bad sign. However, if they are looking to drink so much water that even the toilet bowl is empty, it may be time to take them to the vet to see if there is an underlying health problem.
4.) Fireplaces are no more dangerous to a dog than they are to humans. It’s important that your live flame has the proper coverings around it to prevent fire or injury to your home or your pup!
5.) No matter what kind of hair your puppy or senior dog has, making sure they are bundled up when in the cold weather is very important.
So this winter, let’s put these tips into practice and make the most of enjoying the most wonderful time of the year with the most wonderful friends of our life, our dogs.
Maybe these tips have given you some ideas of how to make your dog’s life the best possible! Maybe you are starting to think, “How can I keep my pup from being a pup-cicle and let them enjoy more time outside this winter”? Take a look at our wide assortment of outdoor dog kennels. With the proper insulation and the proper sizing, we can give you, your family, and your dog peace of mind about the care they receive not just this winter, but also this summer.
We have a kennel solution for every need! No matter if you are a vet looking for a way to add some boarding space for your patients when it becomes crowded or a farmer looking to give the farm dog a warm place to sleep at night, we have what you are looking for!
If you need any further assistance or have any questions regarding our commercial dog kennels or anything else on our website, please contact us, and we will be sure to help you find the dream dog kennel that you have been looking for. The Dog Kennel Collection phone number: 888-318-4404.
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