A spaniel with a red sweater poses in snow

8 tips in the cold!

It is really cold in Vestfold these days. The weather can offer a lot of fun and long skiing trips for both two-legged and four-legged, but unfortunately we also see animals with various cold injuries. Last week we received the first dog of the year with frostbite on the scrotum. It is a painful experience. In addition, we often see dogs with frostbite and general hypothermia, and occasionally we also get dogs with gangrene. Then there is no time to lose. Wondering how to best care for your dog in the winter cold? Here are your vet's top tips.

Your dog needs warm and windproof clothing

What is your dog's coat type?

Some dog breeds have only guard hairs and thus lack undercoat. These dogs are naturally a little less hardy in cold weather than others. If the temperature drops below five degrees below zero, they should wear suitable clothing when going out for a walk.

How big is your dog?

Remember that small dogs are less tolerant of the cold than a large dog. Most dogs are fine without clothes for short walks, but if you're going on a long walk, you should consider both warm and windproof clothing. Don't forget that clothing must cover the abdominal area - the fur is often thinner here than elsewhere. This means you shouldn't use a blanket, but instead invest in a proper winter suit that will keep your tummy region nice and warm.

Is the dog reluctant to go out?

Then you should take it as a sign that he's cold!

Remember that puppies and older dogs need extra care!
The puppy coat is not fully developed, this means that puppies need extra care in the winter cold! Also remember that older customers are more sensitive to cold winter weather - they may have a low metabolism, which means that heat production is reduced.

Does your dog also have stiff joints, hip dysplasia or osteoarthritis? Then the severe cold can make it even more painful to move around outside. Keep an eye on your dog to see if he shies away from the cold!

Invest in a wallet warmer for your dog

Scrotum warmers are a good investment for male dogs that are active and spend a lot of time in the snow. The scrotum of male dogs has little hair, and is particularly vulnerable to cold and abrasion when running in snow. Scrotum warmers are designed to allow your dog to pee without getting wet - so they're a good solution if you're often out on long skiing trips. Alternatively, you can apply an anhydrous petroleum jelly to the scrotum, but this won't provide as much protection from the cold.


Wear socks!

Cold can do serious damage to your dog's paws. A lot of cold and snow creates cracks, which can then become inflamed. Remember that the slush that often occurs in cities is a brine - it can be very painful for small, unprotected paws! Does your walking area get salted a lot? Then you should always wear paw socks! The same goes for long skiing trips. Alternatively, you can use a paw wax whose grease protects your paws from the surface.

A dog wearing a red sweater runs through the snow and cold

Take care of your claws!

In winter, you should pay extra attention to your dog's claws. When your dog walks on snow, its claws are sharpened less than in summer. It is therefore important that you clip them regularly. In addition, the claws tend to get a little extra dry and cracked in the winter - then Jojoba oil is good to apply to the claws a few times a week. We also recommend that you trim the fur around the wooden pads to avoid ice clumps.

Use a warm surface

Remember that dogs get cold more easily when they are lying or standing still. You should therefore avoid leaving your dog alone in cars for long periods of time, or lying directly on snow, when it's really cold outside! A good bedding, such as sheepskin, can work wonders.

In the worst case scenario, hypothermia can cause major injuries - check your dog regularly to see if he's okay. If the skin is sore, swollen or shows colour changes, there is danger. Then you should see a vet right away!

Dry dogs are hot dogs

Wet dogs freeze more easily than dry dogs. Therefore, we don't recommend bathing your dog outside in the winter - they will get cold quickly and won't be able to dry off until they are back inside in the warmth.

Use a longline on your dog near rivers, streams and lakes in winter. This way you can stop your dog before he rushes into the water and gets a really cold shower. With a longline, you can also prevent your dog from walking through the ice.

Even dogs need scarves!

Did you know that some dog breeds are particularly prone to skin lesions on the earlobes? We often see it on Rhodesian Ridgebacks (NKK.no), but other dog breeds can also be at risk. Something as simple as a head scarf can protect your ears in cold and sour weather!

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Elisabeth is a veterinarian and certified ophthalmologist specialising in eye surgery, with further training in internal medicine, general surgery, oral surgery and ultrasound from the European School for Advanced Veterinary Studies in Toulouse.

Elisabeth Bjørnestad

Elisabeth is a veterinarian and certified ophthalmologist specialising in eye surgery, with further training in internal medicine, general surgery, oral surgery and ultrasound from the European School for Advanced Veterinary Studies in Toulouse.