Dog Owner Guides | Winter Months
Some dogs really enjoy the cooler months, especially if they’re a breed built for colder climates. But not all of our dogs will do so well when temperatures begin drop.
During the winter months it’s important to remember our dog’s needs begin to change with the weather. Like us, dogs are used to the warmth of the indoors and cold weather can be as hard on them as it is on us. Winter is a time when our dog's need a little extra care and when planning your colder month adventures, keep the below tips in mind. And don’t forget that winter dog cuddles are a great way for everybody to keep warm!
Winter weather can irritate your dog’s skin as much as it does own. Help prevent dry, flaky skin by adding a skin and coat supplement to their food. Your dog also needs a clean, well-groomed coat to keep them properly insulated. This is especially important if your dog spends a lot of time outdoors. After bathing, dry your dog thoroughly, especially before allowing them back outside. Coconut oil is a great natural moisturiser that can help keep your pet’s skin and coat healthy.
During the winter months it’s a good idea to check your dog’s paws and dry them thoroughly after they've been outside, as damp paws can be very uncomfortable for your dog and cause joints to stiffen. Salt and grit used on roads and paths can irritate animal’s paws, so make sure to clean your dog’s feet if they do come into contact with this while out walking.
A dog's paw pads are naturally tough, but they can still be damaged by cold weather, rough terrain, road salt and other surfaces. Once the pad surface begins to break it can be challenging to heal, and may even lead to infection. Specialised dog balms and waxes can moisturise and soothe cracked paws.
The cold weather can often aggravate existing medical conditions in dogs, particularly arthritis. It’s very important to maintain an exercise regimen with your arthritic dog, be mindful of wet surfaces that may be slippery and make sure your dog has a warm and cosy bed to recuperate in after any outdoor activity. Winter is also a good time to look at adding a natural joint supplement to your dog’s diet to help ease and discomfort. Usually your dog’s fur will be enough to keep them warm when they’re out and about, but sometimes dogs with thinner fur or older dogs can feel the chill a little more. Investing in a good winter coat is an ideal way to keep them warm on colder walks.
Plus a few extra blankets for their bed over the winter months will help your pup stay cosy and warm.
Dog Walks in the Dark
In the shorter days and longer nights of winter, it’s not uncommon for many dogs to get their daily walks during the hours of darkness. Though relaxing, night walks introduce a whole set of new challenges not present in the daylight. With reduced visibility, there are several dog walking safety measures to consider keeping you and your dog safe when walking your dog at night or early morning. You can read our guide to walking your dog at night here
It’s really important you don’t let your dog become a winter couch potato! If they’re reluctant to go out in bad weather, make sure they still get their exercise by scheduling a few extra play sessions inside.
If you are finding your dog is less active in the colder months, make sure you adjust the amount of food and treats you give them to avoid any unnecessary weight gain. If you do have a dog that is reluctant to venture outside when the weather is bad, try and make sure they get their exercise with some indoor fun
Finally, just like in the summer NEVER LEAVE YOUR DOG IN A COLD CAR! It can be just as deadly as leaving them in a hot car. Your car can be as cold inside as it is outside; even if you have had the heating on while driving the temperature will drop very quickly. Your dog would much prefer to stay at home in their own warm bed then come with you while you run a quick errand.