Winter can take its toll on anyone, including your pets. Dogs are also susceptible to cold-like viruses, while the cold, dark nights could mean that dogs don’t get the exercise they need at this time of year. Just like you take steps to protect your health in winter, don’t forget about man’s best friend too. Take a look at the following tips on keeping your dog in good health this winter.
KEEP UP WITH THEIR EXERCISE
It’s easy to get lazy during the winter months, especially when the mornings are dark and cold. However, your dog still needs the same amount of exercise throughout the year. Make sure you stick to your routine throughout the winter to make sure your dog gets the exercise it needs. Invest in some cold weather clothing and make sure you get outside – you can take a flask with you to warm up or even try running with your dog to get the blood pumping.
GET THEM A COAT
Just because dogs have fur, doesn’t mean that they don’t feel the cold like you do. Pet dogs are used to being indoors in the warm, and heading outside during cold weather can leave them shivering and miserable. Get them a nice winter dog coat that you can put on them before you head out – a waterproof one is even better to help deal with that wintery weather.
LOOK AFTER THEIR FEET
Dogs’ paws can suffer during the winter, causing cracks and discomfort that can make walking painful. Avoid walking them in particularly icy areas, and you can help to keep their paws clean by washing them afterwards – especially if they’ve been walking through salt or grit. If you are particularly concerned, you can buy them some booties to help keep their feet good condition while also keeping them warm.
STAY ON TOP OF THEIR MEDICAL NEEDS
With the excitement of the festive season, it can be difficult to remember vets appointments or to make sure that they get all of their vaccinations and flea treatments. Make sure that you get a good supply of Advecta to keep them free from fleas and to protect against other pests that may be harder to avoid when the grass is long, or the ground is covered in leaves.
PROVIDE A COZY BED
In the summer months, many dogs are happy to sleep on the floor, but this can leave them cold during the winter. Make sure they’ve got a cozy bed near a warm spot that isn’t exposed to drafts. Add some blankets and raise the bed if you can to keep them away from cold floors and make sure that they get a restful night’s sleep. Take a look at these top tips on how to keep dog beds clean to keep them free from dirt and odors which could affect your home.
DON’T OVERFEED THEM
We all tend to overeat during the festive season, but that doesn’t mean your dog should too. Avoid the temptation of giving your dog scraps from the dinner table or giving them larger portions – this can lead to weight gain which can be unhealthy for your dog. Instead, try some healthy snack suggestions for dogs that they’ll appreciate when you’re munching away. If your dog is particularly inactive during the winter months, you might want to keep an eye on their food take and reduce if necessary to stop them gaining weight.
ENSURE THEY GET PLENTY OF FRESH WATER
It’s important for dogs to stay hydrated, and even though they might need less water than in the summer months – central heating and cozy fireplaces can leave them feeling warm and in need of a drink. Make sure there’s always fresh water to hand and keep an eye on any water that’s kept outdoors that may freeze as the temperatures dip. Try to encourage them inside to drink as much as possible and avoid any water sources you haven’t prepared yourself.
KEEP THEM PROTECTED FROM HEAT SOURCES
Cats and dogs love to seek out heat sources during the winter months, loving nothing better than to curl up in front of the fire or a radiator. Heat sources can prove a burn risk, so it’s important that stop them from getting too close. Putting heat guards around your radiators and making wood burners out of reach can help keep your pets from burning and give you one less thing to worry about during the winter months.
MAKE BATHS LESS FREQUENT
Winter can be dehydrating for your skin, and the same goes for dogs too. Unlike us, dogs can’t slather on some moisturizer to keep their skin hydrated – so it’s up to you to keep their skin soft. Adding a healthy coat supplement can help, as can spreading out the time between baths. This will allow their skin to produce the natural oils that help keep their skin and coats in good condition. If you do notice any particularly dry patches, like the ears, for example – you can always apply some coconut oil to give them a moisture boost.
KEEP A CLOSE EYE WHEN THEY’RE OUTDOORS
In winter, particularly when there’s snow on the ground, it can be difficult to spot hazards as well as keep your dog safe from icy rivers and lakes. Don’t take any chances and pay extra special attention when they’re outside. Don’t allow them any off-leash time and if they’re hanging out the front or the backyard, make sure all chemicals such as the potentially lethal antifreeze, are kept somewhere safe.
With the holidays just around the corner, there’s plenty of time to celebrate with your family – and that includes the dog! Read more about celebrating Christmas with your dog to ensure that you all have a happy and healthy Christmas full of great memories. Take care of your dog’s health during the winter months, it’s a tough time for anyone but they need your help more than ever to keep those tails wagging.