Winter is coming, and with it, cold weather and snow. This can be a challenging time for our furry friends as they are susceptible to colds, arthritis, or other ailments that come along with the colder temperatures. However, you can take some simple precautions to ensure your dog stays healthy throughout the winter months. In this article, there will be a list of ways you can keep your dogs healthy this winter, as well as a few tips on what not to do.
Limit Outdoor Time In The Winter
To keep your dog from being exposed to the cold, try keeping them indoors during the worst of winter. Keep in mind that these tips are for dogs with a moderate amount of fur on their paws and belly. If your dog is one with short hair or very fluffy fur, it will not handle as much cold. The winter months are hard on dogs because they are not used to the cold weather. While you don’t want to take your dog out all of the time, it is still essential to get some exercise every day.
Get A Cozy Bed
One way to prevent your dog from catching a cold is by keeping them warm. If they are cold, their body will try and heat itself, which can cause a lot of issues. A bed that is a bit warmer than the room it is in will be beneficial for keeping them warm during the winter months. You can also use bedding to help keep them extra warm. Having a dog bed specifically for the winter could be a good idea.
Be Careful Around Ice
Dogs are good at finding ways to get hurt, so you must stay on the lookout for ice patches or slippery floors during winter. If you notice ice near your dog, be sure to use extreme caution around it just in case they skid or slip. You can outfit your dog in booties or other things to help with traction if it is a recurring problem in the area you live.
Keep Your Dog Hydrated
Water is essential for our dogs, and most will need more water in the winter than they do in the summer. Make sure you are giving them plenty of freshwater throughout the day to ensure they can flush out any toxins and keep their body temperature regulated. Keeping your dog hydrated will not only keep them healthy but will also help keep their fur stay shiny and clean. It’s easy to overdo it with the water, though, so make sure you observe their intake.
All dogs need exercise, but you must be keeping your dog active during the winter. This can take the form of walks, jogs, playing inside, or just giving them extra time outside. Just make sure they do not get too cold while exercising and check on them often. They can even get a winter workout by playing in the snow. Exercise will help keep your dog healthy and ensure they do not gain weight from being cooped up during the winter months.
Make Sure To Clean Teeth And Ears
Since your dog will not be able to clean its teeth during the winter, you will need to make sure to do it for them. This can take a little more effort than usual but is necessary if they eat anything extra (or anything that gets stuck to their teeth). Their ears will also need cleaning since they cannot shake them as much and get clogged with gunk.
Feed Them Healthy Food
During the winter, your dog’s diet will change a little bit. They will be eating less food overall but making up for it by eating higher quality food to help their body stay warm and healthy. In the winter, you should be feeding your dog a diet high in vegetables and fruits while lowering down on carbs. This will keep them from being sluggish during the colder months because they are underfed.
There are a few things you should make a point of not doing this winter, though.
Things To Avoid
Be Aware Of Salt
While salt can be helpful to remove ice and snow, it also is hazardous for our dogs. Make sure you clean your dog’s paws after walks in areas that get salted often to help prevent them from getting sick. If there are salty spots on the floor or pavement, avoid walking through those areas, so they do not lick their paws off to clean them. Salt can also cause some minor issues like diarrhea or upset stomachs.
Never Leave Your Dog Unattended In The Car
It is hazardous to leave your dog in the car during the winter. Even if it is warm enough, they are still at risk of being stolen. Be sure you check on them frequently when they are in the car with you and make sure there is nothing around that can damage their body or face. Your dog is a crucial member of your family and will need your extra attention this winter.
Paw Care Is A Must
Dogs can be just as susceptible to cracking and bleeding as we are during the winter. Make sure you keep your dog’s paws safe by wiping them off before they enter the house, checking for cuts or scrapes, and giving them protection if necessary. Taking good care of their paws can make a big difference in dealing with the winter. They’ll be more comfortable and heal better if they get hurt.
Winter can be a challenging time for pets, but they will be just fine with a bit of extra care and attention. Since dogs cannot do many things to take care of themselves, their owners must be the ones in charge of keeping them healthy and happy this winter. If you have any queries or concerns, speak with a veterinarian.