The 5 Things to Do to Take Care of Your Dog in Winter
As much as your dog loves to play in the snow and you are as eager as he is to let him, the winter is not an ideal time for dogs. The reality is that winter is a challenge for taking care of your dog as it is a challenge in so many other ways. To get the most out of every season with your dog you have to be aware of how to handle those kinds of challenges.
When you have things figured out and do things a certain way then you’re able to take care of your pet properly. In this article, we will go over several of the things that you need to do to make sure that your pet can be happy, healthy, and safe during this long, cold season.
1 – Have the right food
An hour spent outside in the winter is far more rigorous for your dog in the winter when it’s cold than at other warmer times of the year. They burn a lot more calories during this time to keep themselves warm. Even the house temperature is generally lower so even more calories are being burned.
It is very important to have the right blend of dog food and the right quantity to make sure they are getting the calories and nutrition they need during the winter.
We like to recommend personalised dog food at any time of year since it is formulated specifically for their needs, but it is especially important to have it in the winter. The right blend is going to have more calories for them and keep them warm with the layer of fat they need under their coat.
You should consider adding at least 25% more food at feeding time to make up for the extra calories lost due to the cold.
2 – Frostbite
The way that a dog’s anatomy works when it is cold is to pull in the body heat to their core to keep their organs working as they need to. This means that as they spend more time outdoors, there is less blood going to their extremities like their feet and legs.
When this happens, they’re not able to properly keep their feet warm. Since they aren’t wearing any protection besides their fur, they can get seriously cold. So cold, in fact, that they can get frostbite much faster than you can imagine.
You’ll need to be extra careful about how long you let the dog play out in the snow or be exposed to freezing temperatures. The damage to the tissues that frostbite causes is not immediately apparent. Your dog may not even fuss much which leads you to believe they are fine.
Limit walks to less than 15 minutes and allow them to play in the snow for about the same amount of time.
3 – Bundle them up
A dog’s coat is only going to protect them so much during the cold weather. Many short-haired dogs barely get any warmth out of their coats. Try to outfit them with at least a coat to help them stay warm out on their walk.
An extra layer on their body can only help so much, however. The real issue is on their feet. If you can manage to get them to wear some foot booties then this will make a world of difference. It can be tricky to get them to wear them however as most dogs don’t care to have their feet covered.
If you’re unable to convince them to wear the booties then make sure to check their feet for snow packed in their paws when you get home. Not only do they need to be cleaned, but there could be ice formed on the fur on their feet which will continue to chill them long after the walk is over.
4 – Make sure they’re visible
The short days of winter can be depressing but that isn’t the worst of the lack of daylight. It can also be very difficult to see your dog in those twilight hours. They can be difficult to see when you are out for your walk after work.
This poses a problem when you can’t see them and they can’t see you so it is easy to get separated. Then there is the issue of them possibly wandering into the street unbeknownst to you. This makes them vulnerable to being hit by a car.
There is also a risk that they get into some water without you seeing and that could be very bad news. If there is a stream, lake, or sea around then make sure to keep them on a leash so they aren’t tempted to jump in.
5 – If your dog is older
Older dogs have even more issues with the winter weather than younger ones and require more attention. Arthritis pain is far more likely to occur in cold weather. Even if they are staying in the house the lower house temperature can cause a flare-up.
Make sure that their walk outside is gentle and shorter than during the summer months. Don’t ask them to try to keep up with you and instead go at their pace.
You should also be mindful of any icy patches that they will have difficulty getting over without falling.
Lastly, the winter has an effect on the immune system and an older dog with an already fragile immune system will be more susceptible to catching colds and other illnesses. Make sure to keep them in mind if somebody brings a cold home and ask them to not snuggle up too much with the pooch until it passes.
Life doesn’t simply stop for the winter. We have to make sure that we keep up our lifestyle and that of our dog as much as possible to get the most out of the season. The key to remember is that you have more of a responsibility to make sure your dog stays safe and healthy during the winter.