Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe & Warm Over Winter

Are the nights getting cooler and the days getting shorter?  Are the early mornings feeling ‘fresher’?  Reaching for warmer clothes and a jumper?

While we can pull on a jumper or turn on the heater to keep ourselves warm, our pets rely on us to keep them safe and warm.  If we’re starting to notice a change in temperature then so are our pets.

Dapper Dog CoatsShelter

The number one thing for your dog or puppy during winter is somewhere warm and comfortable to sleep with protection from wind & the cold in general. 

For outside dogs, kennels should be lined with a warm rug or mat and ideally be slightly raised off the ground so they don’t catch a chill and to prevent moisture accumulation.   If you don’t have a protected area where your dog can sleep (even when they are in their kennel) then consider bringing them inside during wet and windy weather. 

Remember the impact of thunderstorms on your dog as well.  The loud claps of thunder and bright lightening can be very distressing and we often have stray dogs wandering into the shop after an afternoon storm.  ID tags for collars and microchipping are a must to help others to help your dog find their way home.

Dog Bedding ProductsInside dogs still require a sheltered spot in the house and a nice warm bed or cushion.
Remember to keep an eye on them if they’re too close to the heater or fire.  Some inside dogs may actually become uncomfortable if the house is too over-heated for them as well so they should also have access to a cooler area.  

Warmth

Young puppies are particularly susceptible to the cold as are older dogs with more sluggish circulatory systems that make it a little harder to stay warm.  Remember too that if your dog is an arthritis sufferer that this will be made worse by the cold.

Dogs with lower percentages of body fat or dogs with single coats/short hair may benefit from a coat or jacket.  Heat pads under the bedding can also provide a soft, gentle heat.

Most dogs will also shed their summer coats in Autumn before putting on their winter coat. This is usually light (certainly lighter than when they shed their winter coat!) but special attention should be paid to hair coats and daily or weekly brushing (as needed) should help your pet and you be happier

Feeding

Feeding can be a bit of a balancing act over winter to maintain your dogs weight.  Some of the finer coated dog breeds may actually require a little extra food to maintain their weight. Others may have slightly less activity during winter and will therefore require less food to prevent them from gaining weight. 

Outside dogs or working dogs may also need additional food during winter to meet the ‘warming’ demands of their bodies.

It’s good practice for any time of year to be aware of changes in weight of any of your pets and to adjust your portions accordingly.  Watching the treats is always good advice !

Entertainment

Winter months generally mean less daylight and more darkness – possibly limiting the time we may have to get out and about and exercise with our pets. 

When you can’t get out as much as you like, think about what you can do at home to keep your pets active and entertained.  Filling a treat ball with some liver jerky or a Kong with a smidgeon of Vegemite can keep your dog busy.  There are also many interactive toys available to keep them busy. 

For extra safety during the winter whilst walking your dogs, night blinkers and reflective collars, leads & harnesses are available to help you both out.

Fresh Water

It can be easy during winter to make the mistake of thinking that pets need less to drink. Clean fresh water should be available & having more than one source of water for your pet is a must.  A waterer is a great way to ensure a steady supply is available at all times.

And don’t forget lots of warm cuddles, pats, strokes & some time inside with you for all your pets during winter! 

 

** DISCLAIMER: This article is the personal opinion of the Pets Unleashed team. We always recommend seeking specialist or veterinarian advice when it comes to making decisions about the health or well-being of your pet, particularly in respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention.