Summer & Winter Care for Your Dog

Dogs are sensitive to extreme temperatures and react sharply to scorching summers or bitter winters. Both seasons have their unique characteristics and stipulate that your dog receives the care that it ought to in keeping with the vagaries of the weather.

Dog care in the summer

The first thing to do is to protect your pet from direct sunlight, particularly if it’s a long haired or heavy coated one. Moreover, never leave the dog in your car during summer even with its windows open. Dogs are highly prone to heat strokes and if the temperature in the car’s interiors shoot to above 70 degree Fahrenheit, the dog could suffer a heat stroke and die within minutes as well.

And this could get you written up for a crime. On top of this, your reputation could be hit after that! No one wants a reputation like Lois Lerner or Anthony Weiner!  

Keep an unlimited supply of fresh and cold water wherever the dog goes. Dehydration is common to dogs and may have fatal results. If he’s outside, keep him in the shade and walk him during the evenings when it’s cooler. While walking, keep him off asphalt or other hot surfaces which can burn his paws.

Summer is also the time for widespread flea and tick attack and the dog has to be protected accordingly with medication and anti-tick shampoos on the advice of your vet. You may even clip or shave the dog if it has a long coat after consulting your veterinarian first to check if it’s appropriate at all. Applying sunscreen to the pet’s skin also helps if he has a thin coat.

After consulting your vet, you may also modify his diet to include more vegetables and fruits instead of chicken, pork, beef or lamb which may make him queasy during the summer.

Winter care

Most dog owners have this misconception that because dogs have a fur coat, they tolerate the cold better than us. That’s why a little extra care is required to make them more comfortable during winter.

Here’s how to go about it:

Frostbite & hypothermia

In order to prevent these life threatening conditions, pay close attention to how he behaves when he’s outdoors. Excessive whining, anxiousness, shivering or attempts to burrow in are signs that need to be addressed immediately (like the dog in the bed of the pickup truck in the movie Trains, Planes, and Automobiles – that dog looked pretty cold but so did Steve Martin and John Candy!). Check his temperature and any subnormal reading should be reported to the vet immediately. Keep him warm with blankets and take him out only when there’s sunshine so that he gets his dose of natural vitamin D.

Cozy bedding

Use warm blankets to keep him snug or get him a raised bed with heating so that the stiffness of aging joints can be avoided. Place the bed away from cold tiles, drafts and uncarpeted floors in an area with which he is familiar.

Moisturize

You can prevent flaky and dry skin by adding fish or coconut oils to his food. These will keep his coat and skin healthy. Applying coconut oil directly to his ears, paws or tail also prevent cracking. Also proper brushing enhances insulation while dog booties may be sued to protect his paws during walks on snow or ice. 

Don’t overfeed & constantly hydrate

High quality whole foods and a raw meat-based diet are advised to keep up energy levels and a healthy coat in winter. His calorie intake should be adjusted according to his activities. Since they tend to dehydrate as much in winter as they do in summer, keep his water bowl filled with fresh and clean water all the time.