Taking Care of Your Dog in Extreme Weather



Caroline Hampton recently provided this article for posting on Pet Guardian Angles of America.


Photo courtesy of Pixabay

You’ve probably given a lot of thought to how you’ll take care of your family when extreme weather strikes. You have your supply of nonperishable food and bottled water well-stocked, you know to watch the heat index in the summer, and you keep plenty of extra blankets for those cold winter nights. What sometimes gets overlooked is the importance of preparing and protecting your dog in these kinds of conditions, which many don’t realize calls for a few additional measures. Here are a few things to keep in mind about caring for your dog in extreme weather.

Protecting Your Dog From Summer Heat

Heat exhaustion is a threat to any dog that spends time outside during the summer, but especially those left without adequate shade and water for extended periods. It can be especially dangerous;; for short-nosed breeds like boxers and pugs, who may have airway issues and won’t be able to cool themselves by panting as effectively.

To protect your best friend from summer heat, try to limit your walks to the cooler morning and evening hours. If he normally accompanies you on hikes or trips to the park, be sure to bring plenty of water and monitor him closely. Provide some source of shade anytime he’s outside – if there aren’t any large trees nearby, bring along a beach umbrella, for example. If he has to spend time in a crate, be sure it’s well-ventilated. Never leave him in a car with the windows up or any other confined space with no cooling system.

Be sure your entire family knows the signs of canine heat stroke.

Protecting Your Dog From Freezing Winter Temperatures

Although most dogs have the benefit of fur to keep them warm, it’s still important to be cautious about his exposure to the cold winter season. You probably enjoy adding an extra blanket to your bed as the temperature drops, so make a similar consideration for your dog. Avoid long walks on particularly cold days, and warm him up with a towel fresh out of the dryer after returning from potty trips.

Don’t be deterred by the false notion that dogs shouldn’t wear clothes. Sweaters and vests are excellent for protecting your pup from hypothermia. You may even want to consider grabbing some booties for those snowy days. Not only will foot protection ease the shock of the cold, it can prevent your dog from making contact with sidewalk salt and other ice-melting chemicals that could be harmful to him.

Protecting Your Dog From Natural Disasters

You never know when a disaster – be it a hurricane, tornado, or earthquake – will strike or the effects it could have on your ability to care for your pooch. One of the most important ways to protect him is to prepare a pet disaster safety kit:

  • At least 5 days worth of food and water (per pet)
  • A few days worth of any medication he takes
  • Some kind of crate or carrier – even if you don’t have to evacuate, giving a dog his own space to retreat to can help him feel less overwhelmed
  • A hard copy (never rely on electronic resources in the event of an emergency!) of emergency first aid for animals
  • Extra potty bags
  • Familiar toys or blankets for comfort

Keep your kit somewhere safe but easily reachable in an emergency, and make sure your family and dog walker know where it is.

It’s scary to think of the harm that could come to your dog in extreme weather, but keeping him safe is much easier than many people realize. Prepare ahead of time, monitor him closely as tough conditions arise, and always seek the advice of a licensed veterinarian when in doubt.

Additional Resources:

How to Make Your Home More Pet Friendly

21 Symptoms You Should Never Ignore in Your Dog

Puppy Separation Anxiety: Symptoms, Causes, Prevention and Treatment

How to Prepare Your Pet for a Big Move

Protect Your Pet from Pests

Fire Prevention and Preparedness for Pet Parents

Hurricane Season Tips for Keeping Your Pets Safe

8 Tips for Caring for Your Pet This Winter
Winter may seem far off, but the cold weather will be here before we know it!

Submitted by Caroline Hampton at openeducators.org