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Albuquerque VetCo

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Polar Vortex and Your Dog

cold weather dogIt is already cold in Albuquerque and the Polar Vortex seems to be taking a big toll on the country this winter. With extreme temperatures you need to make sure your dog is protected. You might need to do a few extra things to ensure your dogs comfort and safety.

If your dog sleeps outside:

  • Face their dog house towards the house. This will block the wind from getting in through the door.
  • Add cedar chips to their bedding. This will help keep them warmer. You can also leave a pile of cedar chips for that feral cat living under your garage.
  • Change their water and food daily. Cold temperatures can freeze their food and water quickly, so they might not be eating or drinking as much. Giving them fresh water will ensure that they get some non-frozen dinners.
  • When they come inside, check their paws and face for ice. If they have ice in their pads, it will keep them colder for longer.
  • Bring them inside! If it is really cold, it is better to bring them inside to stay warm. If you don’t want them in your house, you can also put them in your garage. It might not be as warm as the living room but it is warmer than the backyard. Make sure to give them some blankets or cedar chips to sleep in.
  • Dog blankets. You can get outside dog sweater/blankets for your dog to wear. This can give them an extra layer of warmth.
  • Booties for their paws. If touching the ground for more than 5 seconds is really uncomfortable for you, then it is likely too cold for your dog’s feet. Plus, ice can cut up their paws. Get some booties to give their paws some extra protection.

Inside pets:

  • Sweaters! Yes they can look both cute and silly but for smaller dogs, like Chihuahua’s, a sweater can be a big help in beating the cold.

When to bring them in:

  • Lethargy
  • Lifting paws to not have to set them down
  • Looking for a place to burrow

These are all signs that it is too cold for your dog to be outside. If you are worried that your dog might have frostbite, look for:

  • Pale white or blue skin in the affected area
  • Swelling and redness as circulation returns
  • Blisters
  • Dead black skin

If your dogs paws are really cold and you are concerned, you can warm them up by putting them in warm water. Make sure it is not hot water, because hot water on really cold skin burns.

If you think your dog may have frost bite, call your vet immediately.

Remember to not leave your dog in a cold car, really low temperatures are just as dangerous as really high temperatures.

Don’t forget that dogs love to play in the snow, so have fun and stay safe!