Winter is just around the corner and there’s a definite chill in the air, which means it’s very important to start thinking about how to keep your greyhound warm during the next few months.
Due to their low level of body fat and thin skin, greyhounds are much more susceptible to extreme weather conditions. Very young and elderly dogs are also more sensitive to weather changes as well. The need to maintain their vital organs at a fairly constant temperature means that a greyhound’s body has to work harder during the winter to keep warm.
Exposure to cold temperatures increases the risk of muscle injuries, chills, respiratory and sinus problems, as well as aggravating arthritis. If a greyhound becomes too cold for long periods, it may begin to suffer from hypothermia as the body restricts blood flow to their skin and extremities. Hypothermia can lead to serious problems such as unconsciousness, tissue death, coma and in some cases – death.
Here is some advice on how to make sure your furry family member(s) stays warm and dry this winter!
Housing & Bedding
The best thing you can do during winter to ensure your greyhound stays warm is to provide sufficient protection from the rain and wind. The easiest way to do this is to bring your greyhound indoors. However, there are times when this may not be possible or practical. In those cases, make sure your greyhound sheltered area or good-sized kennel they can retreat to. Preferably, the kennel should be raised off the ground, or an elevated bed should be provided.
Warm blankets and extra bedding are also a great investment. It’s important to ensure that these stay clean and dry as wet bedding can get cold and uncomfortable quite quickly. If you want to spoil your greyhound a bit, heated beds and mats can be purchased at pet stores for a reasonable price. If your greyhound is older or suffers from a condition like arthritis, these products can assist greatly.
Winter Dog Wear
A good winter coat is a necessity for any greyhound during winter. This extra layer of insulation is vitally important, and your greyhound should be wearing one most of the time, but even more especially when outside or on a walk.
There are many places online where these can purchased and you can even find them with cool patterns or designs as well. Greyhounds As Pets have our own winter coats available for purchase for $25. If you’re interested in buying one (or two, or three…), email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As well as jackets and coats, there are some other more non-conventional forms of dog wear that might help to keep your greyhounds warm. Snoods (cross between a scarf and a hood) are becoming very popular among greyhound owners. There are many online stores such as Etsy that sell them, or if you’re a bit more creative, you can even try and knit one yourself!
Another unusual but practical piece of dog wear are booties or socks. While they may look funny, they can also be quite practical especially if you live in an area where the temperatures are more extreme and walking surfaces such as icy pavement can become quite harsh on your greyhound’s feet.
While us humans tuck into casseroles, soups and other winter staples, there are a few reasons why it’s worthwhile to have a think about your greyhound’s diet as well. Firstly, underweight dogs will feel the cold more so than other dogs. Even though greyhounds have a naturally low body fat level, it is important to ensure they have as much as possible during the colder months.
Secondly, all dog’s bodies work harder during winter to ensure they are kept sufficiently warm and greyhounds are no exception. More work equals more calories burnt, so we advise speaking to your vet about increasing or changing your dog’s diet during winter to accommodate this.
Even though it may be very tempting to stay inside wrapped up in a blanket in front of the heater, it is actually beneficial for both you and your greyhound to get outside and start moving. Exercise will get your greyhound’s blood circulating more rapidly which will stop them from getting too cold. This also goes for humans too! It also won’t be as hard to get them back into routine when summer comes around as well.
Where possible, you should try and take your greyhound for a walk during warmer hours and try to keep them as dry as possible. If you live in an extremely cold area, you may also want to invest in some socks discussed above to protect your dog’s feet from harsh surfaces.
We’d love to see the ways you and your greyhounds keep warm during winter. Make sure to share them with us on our social pages!