As the winter months begin to creep closer, we have to remember that it’s not only our lifestyle that’s in for a change but also that of our doggies’. Unless you live in a tropical climate (yay, Florida!) then you’ll need to manage the harsh winter periods for your dog, especially if you don’t want them to spend that time cold, shivering, and stuck inside the house until spring.
Here are five tips that’ll help with taking care of ol’ poochie during winter:
1. Setup an adequate environment
Is your dog staying outside or are they inside for those winter months? Every pet is different, so it’s important to understand their threshold when it comes to the cold. Larger, wolf-like breeds hold up pretty well during the moderately cold times if they are to stay outdoors, but you wouldn’t want to put your Pomeranian outside, obviously.
· If they are an outside dog make sure their shelter is highly insulated; keep their bed elevated above the ground to prevent snow from melting and soaking their sleeping area.
· If they are inside make sure that the temperature is comfortable and setup their normal sleeping area with plenty of extra blankets (such as covering the crate with a comforter).
2. Dress them up
They already make costumes for dogs for the holidays so it comes as no surprise that they also make doggie wear for the colder months. A dog sweater is nice because your pooch can go outside when he pleases and stay warm (or if the two of you decide to go on a walk, he won’t be looking up at you with an “are you kidding me?” face). Just make sure that it’s not too tight.
3. Shag it out
Dogs naturally go through different shedding periods throughout the year, so let their bodies do their thing and bulk up on the fur. Now isn’t the time to groom down poochie to make them look dapper; they are growing those coats to handle the cold so let them shag it out.
4. Put more care into the food and water
Remember that most animals are going into a hibernation mode during the winter months to conserve their energy. Even though your dog is domesticated they are going to experience this process so they will generally be a little sluggish and not as active.
Remember these tips when it comes to food/water:
· Always make sure the water isn’t too cold (or goes icy)
· Try to stick to their normal diet unless they are staying outside and being active (in which case you should give them a little more to beef up)
· Get them exercising (take ‘em on walks) just as you would in the warmer months to make sure they are staying a healthy weight
5. Keep an eye on the warning signs
Dogs are just as susceptible to illnesses during the winter months as we are so it’s important that you keep an eye on them whether they’re inside or out:
· Do understand that dog paws can get frostbite (and what to do about it)
· Do realize that the dryness can possibly lead to kennel cough
· Do take notice if poochie is having trouble eating (possibly due to throat harshness)
If your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms then you should seek professional aid immediately to avoid furthering the damage caused by these issues. Treat them as you would like to be treated during the winter months – with love and care.
If you’re feeling the chill then your dog is certainly feeling the effects, too, so crank up the heat and be okay with the extra cost of the heating bill if it means the two of you are comfortable. Winter, for your dog, can be a whole lot of fun – just make sure you do some of these items from the post to ensure they’re comfortable when doing so.
How do you “winter-fy” your dog during the colder months?