With the cold weather upon us we must consider the effects it can have on our dogs, especially puppies and the elderly. There are many things we can do to help our dogs and here are a few ideas:
Ensure their bedding is dry and give them extra bedding at night.
Make sure their beds are not in a draft.
For puppies and older dogs or those that feel the cold at night give them a heat pad to keep them warm but ensure they can move away if they become too hot.
Not everyone can afford to keep the heating on all day and night (and it’s not good for the environment) so you could invest in a jumper for indoor wear if your dog feels the cold. You will need to introduce it to them slowly and carefully so they feel comfortable wearing it.
Place a coat on them whilst out walking to protect their body and give extra warmth especially dogs with short coats. You will need to introduce it to them slowly and carefully so they feel comfortable wearing it.
Always ensure wet dogs have been dried off after each walk.
Wash their feet with tepid water if the salt spreaders have been out. Salt can be dangerous if they consume it when licking their pads.
Gently dry their feet if there is snow on the ground. This is especially important with long haired dogs where snow can compact between their toes. If your dog feels comfortable, trim the hair back to keep the hair short.
Use Coconut oil for cracked dry pads. It can also be added to their diet to help with flaky skin.
Booties can help protect dogs feet against ice and snow but also help those dogs that feel the cold through their feet. You will need to introduce them slowly and carefully so they feel comfortable wearing them.
Stay away from frozen lakes, ponds and rivers. If your dog is likely to seek out water then keep them on lead.
If you can, try to walk whilst the sun is shining. Dogs need Vitamin D just like we do.
Make sure you and your dogs are seen in the dark. There are several pieces of equipment on the market now from reflective leads to little flashing lights so there really is no excuse. Using a torch can also be helpful not only to see where you are walking but to pick up poo.
Older dogs can be less active in the winter months so you may need to adjust their food accordingly to prevent them from gaining excessive weight.
Older dogs may be reluctant to venture outside in the cold but will still need gentle exercise to keep their joints moving which can be done inside or through interactive food toys.
Dogs still need fresh water daily to stay hydrated although they can drink less in the winter compared to summer.
If you have antifreeze make sure it is stored correctly. Spills can be toxic to all pets.
With care and a little forward planning you will both be able to enjoy the colder months.