We are all used to the warnings on keeping your dog safe through the hot summer months but it’s also essential to make sure you and your dog are prepared for a happy and safe winter. To see you through the colder months we have compiled our top tips on things to watch out for whether taking a break or staying home.
1. Paws for Thought
It’s a really good time to pay more attention to your dog’s paws during the winter. The obvious reason being they are having their pads against cold surfaces so you must ensure they aren’t getting cut or chapped from snow or ice or very cold water. The lesser known reason for watching your dogs feet in these conditions is both salt and other de-icing agents on the ground where they are walking can both irritate the pads themselves but also cause issues for dogs when they try to clean the salt etc from their paws and ingest it causing stomach issues.
2. Chilly Dogs
We tend to assume that as our four legged pals own their own in-built fur coat that they can brave the elements and don’t suffer from the climate like we humans do. That is, however, a false assumption. Dog’s fur helps regulate their temperature but that doesn’t mean they are always warm. Some dogs more than others suffer from lower temperatures and not all of them show immediate signs of discomfort like shaking or refusing to go out. Make sure you research the needs of your breed and ensure you are taking extra precautions with smaller and older dogs and those with short or thinning fur coverage.
3. Take Extra Care (and extra layers if needed!)
If you can see your dog suffers in the colder and wetter weather season then take extra measures to make them more comfortable. They may need a coat or a jumper to wear – especially when they are outside and on walks. It’s also vitally important they are able to get warm and dry once they are back inside, a towel down and a toasty fireplace or radiator will do just the trick. Try and get some winter attire that fits and matches your breed so it’s doing the intended job.
4. Old Dogs, New Tricks
It’s important to look after our frail and elderly and this goes the same for our veteran four legged family members. As dogs age they tend to feel things like cold more acutely when their temperature regulators don’t function as they once did. Older dogs often suffer from conditions such as arthritis that can be exacerbated by the cold – make sure you check in with your vet on any ailments that need special attention through winter.
4. Vary the Routine
Just as the mid-day sun is to be avoided so dogs don’t overheat it’s also a good idea to alter your routine for the colder months. Short, sharp laps of the block may be preferable over an all day hike, unless there is a welcome pub stop and warm up spot for your pet en route.
6. Bed Time
Make sure that your dog’s usual bedtime spot isn’t one that drops dramatically in temperature through the night. If your pup usually sleeps somewhere open or outside do consider bringing them inside as the weather drops.
We hope these top tips help you to prepare your dog for the winter months and also give you some extra peace of mind when travelling with your pup. If you have any suggestions for me we can add to drop us a line.