12 Tips For Caring for Your Dog Through The Winter
Does your dog love the winter or would they rather cuddle up under a blanket? Either way, it's time to protect them from the harsh winter elements.
Through the cold winter weather, paying special attention to your four-legged friend’s wellbeing will ensure that you both enjoy the season to the fullest.
Of course, cuddles are the very best way to keep warm, but many dog owners believe that because their pets have fur, they can tolerate the cold better than humans. However, this isn’t necessarily the case.
Like us, dogs are used to the warmth of the indoors and cold weather can be as hard on them as it is on us humans. Winter is a time when your dog needs a little extra care.
Here are 12 tips for winter care to keep in mind as you explore the harsher landscape with your faithful furry friend.
Tip #1 Cover up on walks
It may be cosy indoors, but your dog still needs their regular walks - regardless of the weather. When you venture outdoors it’s important to make sure your four-legged friend is wrapped up warm, so always be sure to put a dog coat on them when you go out. This is especially important if you have a fine-coated dog, such as a Greyhound or Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Tip #2 Check for snow between their toes
Check your dog’s paws and dry them thoroughly after they've been outside. This is especially important with long-haired dogs as they are prone to snow compacting between their toes and turning into ice balls which can be very painful. You can even trim the long hair between your dog’s toes to help prevent this.
Tip #3 Check their feet for salt and grit
Just like snow, salt and grit from the roads and pavements can get lodged between their toes, so be sure to give their paws a thorough clean after every walk.
Tip #4 Keep them warm and dry
Winter weather means your dog will definitely get wet and muddy! Dry them off as soon as they get home and make sure they have a cosy bed to return to away from any cold draughts.
Tip #5 Entertain them indoors
Some dogs (and humans!) can be reluctant to venture out into the cold. If this is the case, don’t force them out but make sure you provide them with lots of toys to play with and keep them occupied while indoors.
Tip #6 Adjust their food if necessary
If your dog is less active in the winter months, make sure you adjust the amount of food you give them accordingly to avoid any unwanted weight gain.
Tip #7 Make sure they have good recall
Winter months often mean reduced visibility due to foggy or snowy conditions. If you're letting them walk off-lead, make sure your dog has good recall to avoid them getting lost and, as always, make sure their microchip details are up to date with your correct contact information.
Tip #8 Help them be seen
As the nights begin earlier and last that much longer, attach a light to your dog's collar so they can be seen when out on walks in reduced visibility.
Tip #9 Never ever leave your dog alone in the car
Just as cars can become fatally hot in summer, temperatures drop very quickly in cold weather. Always take your dog with you rather than leaving them in the car – even if you think you won’t be long, it’s just not worth the risk.
Tip #10 Stay away from frozen lakes and rivers
Be sure to keep your dog away from stretches of frozen water as you can never tell how secure the surface is. Keep them on a lead if you think they’ll be tempted to jump in.
Tip #11 Protect them from heaters
Fireplaces and portable heaters pose a major threat so please make sure you have a pet-proof system to keep your heat-seeking pal out of harm’s way!
Tip #12 Special care for seniors
Cold weather often aggravates existing conditions in dogs, particularly arthritis. It’s important to maintain an exercise regimen with your arthritic dog, but be careful of slippery surfaces and make sure they have a warm soft rest area where they can relax after playing.