Winter brings along with it heavy downpours, strong winds and even snow as we’ve recently witnessed, and this weather can be quite a challenge for our pets.
As pet owners, it’s our responsibility to protect the health and wellbeing of our furry loved ones, especially when the blistering cold weather comes knocking. As the South African Veterinary Association (SAVA) explains, the thermal discomfort in animals due to cold spells can often lead to stress, which results in the suppression of the immune system and the increased risk of diseases.
We often choose to stay indoors when the cold weather comes knocking, and what usually comes to mind during these moments is “if it’s too cold for me to be outside, it’s probably too cold for dogs as well.”
This is certainly the case according to Dr Falon Olfsen, who explains that it’s possible to identify when your pet is cold, which is determined by several factors – age, body condition, breed and any predisposing factors like arthritis, hip dysplasia or incorrect joint development.
Breeds like the Husky, who originates from cooler climates are anatomically and physiologically equipped for colder temperatures whereas puppies, shorthaired dogs, older dogs and dogs with predisposing factors are usually more vulnerable to the cold weather.
Here are valuable tips to keep in mind when the clouds turn dark and the wind starts howling:
- Provide a well-insulated kennel if your dog has to sleep outside.
- Ensure that the roof of the kennel is secure (no leaks).
- Add fluffy blankets to make it more comfortable.
- Ensure that the joints of dogs suffering from pain is kept warm.
- Perform regular grooming to avoid dirty, wet coats that can often lead to skin conditions (even though you might be tempted to allow their coats to grow out during winter).
- If you need to give your dog a good scrub, choose to do it inside instead.