As the temperatures drop and we enter the clutch of winter, we might all be wondering how to stay warm throughout the next few months. But did you also think about your canine pal? As it turns out, dogs are also at risk during the winter season and can develop colds, flu, pneumonia or even hypothermia.
If you’re worried about your dog’s wellbeing this winter, here’s what to look out for and how to protect them against the cold.
Avoid long walks
Dogs need daily exercise, even in winter, but it’s best to play it safe as the temperatures drop. Make sure they don’t get too cold by taking them out in the middle of the day when the day is at its warmest and avoid early morning and late evenings whenever possible.
You also want to minimise the amount of time they are outside, so keep the walks short and brisk and work off the rest of their energy with some indoor play.
Give them a cosy spot to sleep
It’s a mistake to think that just because they have a higher body temperature and insulating fur that a dog can feel warm anywhere. However, it’s a good idea to make sure your pooch is warm during the night.
Make a cosy bed for them and line it with plenty of blanket and throws for extra warmth. This is especially important if you have hard or tiled floors. Make sure their bed is also placed away from doors and windows as they can let drafts in.
The rule goes that if you’re feeling cold in the house, it’s most likely they are too.
Buy extra insulation
Doggie jackets might give plenty of cute factor – after all, who can resist cooing at a canine bundled up like a human in a coat – but they play a vital role in keeping your dog warm outside. This is especially important if your dog has shorter hair or low body fat.
Invest in a winter dog coat that is snug without being too tight and avoid zippers and Velcro as this can irritate their skin. And due to cold, wet weather, their paws could do with some extra TLC too. Make sure to wipe their paws whenever they’ve come in from outside and apply some coconut oil to keep the paws moisturised and healthy.
Feed them well
Just like us humans, dogs need to eat more during winter. Keep up their body fat by increasing their meal portions – this will help them stay warmer for longer. Consider also warming up their food before giving it to them.
In between meals, give them some chewy dog treats that will keep them engaged and active for a little while.