Brrrr! It's cold outside! Here are some tips for keeping your Havanese warm and safe during the winter.
- Groom your Havanese regularly. While your Havanese's full weight coat helps him keep his warmth during the winter, it's important to maintain a good grooming regime. You will want to comb out knots and brush them regularly as matted hair is less efficient at keeping out snow or cold rain. It also doesn't insulate the Havanese as well.
It's also important to keep the hair around the paw pads trimmed. This will help prevent ice and snow from balling up in the footpads. After a walk outside, check their paws. It is beneficial to wash their paws off with warm water after a walk outside in the winter to help remove any salt or deicer chemicals they may have walked through.
- Bath your Havanese indoors. You wouldn't even consider bathing outside during the winter, then why should your Havanese? Bathe your Havanese indoors where it is nice and warm and be sure to dry your Havanese off completely before letting them go outside.
- Do not overfeed your Havanese. Unless your Havanese is very active outdoors during the winter, you do not need to increase your Havanese's food during the winter. Doing so can cause an increase in weight.
- Guard against illnesses. Just like humans, your Havanese can catch a cold during the winter. Research suggest that you cannot give your dog a cold or your dog give you a cold, however, dogs have their own viruses, such as Kennel Cough, that are very contagious. At the first signs of an illness, speak with your vet.
- Pay attention to your Havanese's existing ailments. Just like humans, cold weather an exacerbate certain conditions, such as arthritis. Speak with your vet about treatment options but remember to keep your Havanese where it is warm.
- Take shorter walks when the weather is really cold. When the weather is colder than normal or it is snowing (or raining) take shorter walks. Walks can be short enough to allow for enough exercise and relief breaks while not getting too cold.
- If you do have to be outdoors for extended periods, dress your Havanese appropriately. Putting a Havanese coat on your Havanese can help your Havanese stay warm when outdoors. Also, consider having your Havanese wear dog booties. These are design to go over your Havanese's paws and helps prevent snow, ice, salt and deicer chemicals from getting in their pads when walking outdoors.
- Ice is just as slippery to Havaneses as it is to humans. Watch for ice when outside and avoid it. Also, do not allow your Havanese to go onto icy bodies of water. While the ice may look solid, if your Havanese falls through they could drown. If your Havanese does fall through some icy water, call the appropriate authorities. NEVER try to rescue you Havanese that has fallen through ice as you may fall through and drown.
- Keep your Havanese on a leash. As noted above, never let your Havanese onto ice and keeping your Havanese on a leash will help prevent them from darting out onto an icy pond or in front a snowplow.
- Avoid all winter-time toxic items! Antifreeze tastes very sweet to Havaneses and they will lick it if they can access it. It takes only four teaspoons of antifreeze to kill a Havanese under ten pounds. If you Havanese ingest any antifreeze, see a vet immediately! Treatment needs to be given as soon as possible to save your Havanese's life. You will also want to avoid other items, such as deicers, during the winter.
- Keep your Havanese indoors during the winter, especially during really cold times. During the winter it's always best to keep your Havanese inside with you or inside a heated building. If your Havanese spends a lot of time outdoors during cold weather, be sure they have appropriate protection from the weather to stay warm.
- Give your Havanese plenty of affection. Give them the occasional belly rub or treat. While it may not help them stay warm, it will warm both their heart and your heart to give them plenty of affection.