When the temperatures begin to drop, bully breed dogs don’t have the advantage of pulling something out of the closet to wear. Though some parts of the country are likely to enjoy cold weather, sudden changes in weather can leave pets trembling in their boots. It's important to change your pet’s routine so you can keep them calm, happy, and safe. Different dog breeds react to weather differently. Some dog owners tend to believe that because their bully’s have a fur coat, they can stand cold weather better than humans. But that is not always true. Winter season is a time when your bully breed dog needs a little extra care.
Winter health risks and how to prevent them
Keeping your bully breed dog warm during this winter season is important to keep your canine in their best health. Just like us, dogs are adjusted to the warmth of the indoors. The cold weather can be as hard on them as it is to us. There are also health risks that your bully could endure during this cold season that you should be aware of. Frostbite and hypothermia are two of the most serious health risks your dog can suffer during the winter time. This can happen when your bully has been bare and exposed to cold weather for too long. Even though hypothermia and frostbite are curable, they can leave lasting tissue damage if the symptoms are not treated on time.
What dogs are more vulnerable?
- Wet dogs
- Small dogs
- Short haired dogs
- Short muzzle dogs
- Dogs that are left out in the cold for a long time
What is Hypothermia?
Hypothermia takes place when the temperature of your bully breed dog drops, and the dog begins to lose body heat faster than they can restore it. This can happen when you’re walking your dog outside. The heat from their paws quickly transfers to the cold ground they are walking on. On a very chilly day, your dog only needs to take a few steps before his paws begin to freeze because they are not able to restore the heat in their paws before they hit the cold floor again. During cold weather your dog will continually be trying to maintain their body heat at its normal temperature. Dogs maintain their temperature by either preserving their body temperature or by producing more body heat. They do this much like humans react towards cold weather. Shivering is the main way dogs produce heat, or piloerection which is much like goosebumps. The dog’s hairs stand up thus trapping a layer of warmth under them. This creates an extra layer of protection between the dog’s body and the cold weather thus helping them preserve body heat. Vasoconstriction is another form of preserving body heat that is performed to keep blood flowing to the dog’s body parts that are the most important for his survival such as the brain, lungs, liver, toes, ears, etc.
What is frostbite?
Frostbite refers to tissue damage that is triggered due to severe cold weather conditions. As mentioned initially, dogs lose body heat when there is not enough blood flow to different parts of their body such as ears, paws, and tail. When these areas are not getting enough blood, they starve of warmth and oxygen. This causes ice crystals to form which in turn can cause the tissue to die. Spotting the symptoms of frostbite can be difficult since they are usually covered by hair. But you can keep your eye out for pale skin which tends to be very cold to the touch. Some of the most common areas are the tail, ear tips, paws, and scrotum. When their skin begins to get warm it will redden and swell. This causes discomfort and in a few days the skin will dry up and have a scaly appearance. Depending on the seriousness of the frostbite, the dead tissue can turn black and slough off. Just like with hypothermia, the way to prevent frostbite is by not having your dog outside during freezing weather for long periods of time.
Here are more tips to keep your bully breed dog safe and cozy during the chilly seasons:
- Suitable shelter is needed to keep your dog warm and dry. Carpet and tile areas can become extremely cold, so make sure to put some blankets and pads on floors.
- Brush your bully regularly since keeping your dog well groomed will keep them protected.
- Feed your bully extra calories if it spends a lot of time outdoors since it takes more energy during the winter to keep their body temperature controlled.
- Just like us, bully breeds are also prone to illnesses during winter season. Take your dog to the veterinarian if you see any symptoms.
- Give your bully plenty of water since your dog is likely to get dehydrated in the winter as in the summer.
- Don’t use over the counter medication unless you ask your veterinarian.
- Protect their paws since they will be on the open road and exposed to ice, snow, and salt which can cause damage.
- Spend time playing indoors and take him/her outside when the sun shines.
- Play fetch with toys not sticks since this can be a choking hazard and can cause other injuries.
- Cold as well as hot weather can harm your dog’s skin. Foods like coconut and fish oils are foods that can help keep your dog’s skin healthy.
- Prevent toxins. Together with winter comes antifreeze, which dogs find sweet and will lick or drink it. Antifreeze is extremely toxic and can even be fatal.
Holidays precautions tips
- If your bully breed dog is not used to being around large crowds, holidays are not the best time to practice socializing.
- Don’t allow your guests to give your dog leftovers.
- Don’t leave your dog alone with a Christmas tree. You are asking for disaster!
- Watch out for electrical cords. Dogs tend to chew on them.
- Do not give alcohol or chocolate to dogs, since these are toxic for them.
Take the necessary precautions to keep your bully breed dog safe and happy during this winter season. They will appreciate it, and pay you back with lots of love and dog kisses!