How do dogs protect themselves

Dogs: Go for a walk in winter - you should be aware of that

When the temperatures drop in winter, we wrap up thick. But dogs can also freeze. Tips on when and how to protect your pet from the cold.

Some dogs are well prepared for winter: Bernese Mountain Dogs, for example, have a long, dense undercoat that warms them and protects them from moisture. It is different with dogs with a short, thin fur dress, such as Podencos or greyhounds. Such dogs have no undercoat and are only slightly hairy on the belly - moisture penetrates quickly to their skin.

Old and sick animals can also freeze quickly: Older animals that tend to move slowly can cool down more quickly. In such cases it can make sense to put a dog coat on your four-legged friends. You should make sure that the coat fits well and is neither too wide nor too tight and does not rub.

Protect dog from getting too cold

There are many dogs who find it much more comfortable to wear a coat in winter. Dog owners can choose between lined coats and sweaters. However, the latter are not suitable for every four-legged friend: The sweater of small dogs can get wet when they walk on snow - then they freeze even faster.

Just like us humans, dogs can catch colds too. Respiratory diseases can occur, especially in the cold season. When it is cold outside and dogs are exposed to dry, heated air indoors, the animals are more susceptible to colds. It is therefore advisable to set up a room humidifier to protect the animals' mucous membranes.

Protect the dog's paws

While dog owners in thick winter boots trudge unscathed through grit and slush, the winter walk can become an ordeal for the dog: chunks of snow get caught in the fur between the toes. Sharp litter cuts small slits in the bales. And to top it all off, road salt penetrates these lesions, which then burns nastily.

But dog owners can do a lot to protect their paws:

  • First, you should carefully trim the fur in the area between the toes with nail scissors. In this way, fewer clumps of snow adhere and do not affect the dog while walking.
  • It also helps to rub petroleum jelly or milking fat on your paws before you go for a walk. The fat layer isolates the underside of the paws and forms a protective layer.
  • With very sensitive dogs it can also be advisable to put on shoes to protect particularly sensitive paws from worse. The dogs have to get used to the shoes slowly. In the beginning it often looks like they're stepping on eggs. Therefore, running with shoes should only be tried at home.
  • After the walk, the dog's paws should be rinsed briefly under lukewarm water and then dried off. This flushes out ice, grit and salt and cannot cause any further damage. Blow-drying your dog's coat, however, is not a good idea. A blow dryer is very noisy and most dogs are scared of it.

This way, no lumps of ice stick to the fur

Going for a walk: Hair oil prevents snow from sticking and clumping to a dog's fur. (Source: Tobias Hase / dpa-tmn)

For dogs with long fur on their legs, a walk in the snow can quickly become a torture. With a simple trick, you can prevent stubborn ice lumps.

Just a moment ago he was romping through the snow full of joy, suddenly the dog no longer wants to run - lumps of ice have formed on the hair under the stomach and on the legs. This can happen quickly to dogs with long fur. Hard snowballs can also get stuck between the toes. Ordinary hair oil helps against both.

Applying the oil sparingly to dog paws and legs before going for a walk will prevent the snow from sticking. This saves you the constant plucking. In addition, the dog does not nibble on its paws to remove the annoying lumps, where it may swallow ice and grit.

That is why dogs are not allowed to eat snow

Dog: There are a few things to consider in winter. (Source: Anna-av / Getty Images)

During the walk you should make sure that your animal does not eat snow. If snow gets into the stomach, the stomach lining can become irritated - the result is gastritis. Typical symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea.

Do walks have to be shorter?

Just because it's cold doesn't mean the walks have to be shorter. If the dog likes to move around, you can definitely walk long distances. However, you should then take a quick walk so that the dog does not get cold. Older dogs are an exception: they freeze more easily and should therefore do shorter laps.

Sled dog breeds such as the Alaskan Malamute, on the other hand, only really perk up in winter. You can easily take a long winter walk.

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