Just because dogs spend more time outside than we do it does not mean that they are more immune to the cold winter months than we are. It is extremely important to keep your dog warm and comfortable during winter to stop them from becoming ill. It is a common misunderstanding that dogs can withstand winter due to their layers of fur but this is simply not the case.
Here are 7 tips for caring for your dog in Winter.
Adjust your dog’s food
Dogs are not as active in winter and prefer to take it easy during the colder winter months. As their level of activity decreases you should also decrease your dog’s food intake. You should still be feeding your dog quality dog food during this time to ensure they maintain a healthy diet. A diet rich in raw meat and whole foods is best for your dog all year round.
Keep them hydrated
Your dog should be drinking as much water as they usually would throughout the year. If you live in an extremely cold climate you should avoid putting your dog’s water outside as there is a risk of the water freezing over. A cold water bowl will not only prevent your dog from staying hydrated but it will also bring their core body temperature down if they drink too much cold water. If you cannot avoid keeping your dog’s water outside try purchasing a heated water bowl or simply replace the water several times per day.
Minimise outdoor time
If the weather outside is unbearable to you it is likely that is also uncomfortable for your dog. On cold nights, try to keep your dog inside. If that is not possible dress them in specialty winter dog jackets and ensure they have shelter outside that is well insulated. If your dog is outside for extended periods of time bring them in every once in a while to warm them up.
Protect your dog’s feet
The feet of some breeds have very little protection from the cold ground. Try investing in some winter footwear to protect your dog’s vulnerable feet.
Even if your dog’s feet are protected by footwear it is still common for dogs to have cracked and dry feet throughout winter. Try using a warm damp towel to clean your dog’s feet after each outing. If you find that your dog’s paws are beginning to crack you can use a natural moisturizer such as coconut oil to keep the paws smooth.
Invest in some cosy bedding
Even if your dog is indoors they cannot keep warm if they are sleeping on the cold ground. Invest in some warm bedding that your dog can get cozy in. Keep the bedding clean and dry over winter so that your dog can stay comfortable.
Don’t leave your dog alone in a cold car
You might think that your dog will stay warm inside your car but this is not the case. Just as cars get extremely hot in summer, they also can become extremely cold in winter. Think about all the ice and frost that forms on your vehicle on cold nights. Try leaving your dog at home instead of taking them with you while you are running errands.
Beware of Antifreeze
In extremely cold temperatures, it is common for people to use antifreeze in winter to prevent ice build-up in their vehicles. The problem with antifreeze is that it has a sweet taste and it is common for dogs to lick surfaces covered in the substance. As little as one teaspoon can cause kidney failure in dogs. It is important to monitor your dog during this time and it is important to be aware of the signs of antifreeze poisoning. If your dog is showing signs of vomiting, seizures or drooling it is important to take them to the vet as soon as possible.
Things to remember
Dogs are a part of the family so it is important to keep these tips in mind during winter. Cuddle up with your pet in order to keep each other warm over winter and look out for your pet’s wellbeing during the colder months.