Winter Pet Care
\\\ Winter Dog Care
You may be one of the million or more new UK dog owners that haven’t experienced a winter with your dog. Just like humans, your dog needs to stay warm in winter to avoid frostbite and catching hypothermia.
“My dog was visibly shivering whilst out walking. I didn’t know I should walk him less.”
Winter suddenly arrives although we all know it is coming and with pets it’s best to be prepared.
Shorter Dog Walks
It’s better to walk your dog less when the weather is really cold to prevent pets from getting very cold which can lead to hypothermia. Dog extremities suffer the most, their ears, nose and paws when out in cold temperatures. Walking on cold ice can be a numbing experience.
If you’re walking once a day, then mid morning – lunchtime is best when the temperature has almost reached the maximum for the day and the limited light is at it’s best.
Back home, engage more with your pet to keep them active and alert to compensate for less walking and introduce some new toys to stop them getting bored.
Most dogs can wear dog jackets or jumpers during colder weather, with the exception of dogs suited to winter climates such as St Bernard and the Alaskan malamutes who do not need any coat for additional warmth.
Jackets are generally made from robust machine washable fabrics, fleece lined and are brilliant for helping to retain some body heat for your pet whilst out dog-walking. They can get some serious use preventing your dog from getting extremely muddy and wet, also beneficial when it snows helping to prevent ice from attaching to long haired pets which can lead to frost bite and hypothermia. There are many designs to choose including water proof full body styles. Make sure you order the right size for your breed.
Knitted sweaters are ideal for your dog to wear on cold days around the home, particularly if they are short-haired dogs, who tend to suffer the most feeling the cold. Knitted scarfs aren’t really a solution as dogs can incidentally wrap themselves up and choke.
Some jackets are made with reflective trims which are ideal for darker weather walking helping your dog be seen by motorists whilst out walking on paths and country roads.
Experience teaches you to always have a selection available winter time, two as a minimum, allowing a rota to be worn whilst the other may need washing and drying.
Blankets are ideal to pop over your dog on cold days to keep them snug. There’s plenty to choose from, again made from robust machine washable fabrics in soft fleece fabrics.
Siting your dog bed away from a door and nearer to central heating radiators will help, particularly at night and it may be necessary to keep the thermometer up in the room your pet sleeps in at night when outside temperatures are really low.
If you’re considering buying a new dog bed then beds with sides are a great way to help keep draughts out and look for beds that are slightly raised off the ground, avoiding your pet sleeping on a cold floor.
Cars can become very cold when not in use so it’s best not to leave your dog in a cold car.
Winter pet food
Increasing your dogs food during very colder months is a good idea to help them increase body fat to keep them warm – but this needs to be decreased as soon as the weather changes to compensate any overfeeding. You can always check the weight of your dog at the free weigh-ins that most good veterinary practices operate.
If your dog is shivering and you cannot can get your pet warm, they are whimpering and slow in movement, contact the vet immediately as they may be suffering from mild hypothermia.
Dogs do not suffer from colds.
Any signs of a runny nose, sneezing and coughing contact the vet as your pet may be suffering from kennel cough.
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