Caring for your Dog during the Winter Months

warm dogAs the nights get longer and the temperature drops it’s time to think about ways of keeping your four legged friends healthy, safe and warm throughout the winter period.

Keeping Fit

It isn’t always possible to walk your dog in daylight hours so if you’re going out after dark make sure that you’re clearly visible. Dog walkers should wear a bright jacket and carry a torch and dogs should be kept on a lead with a reflective collar.

  • Every responsible dog owner knows that a healthy dog is a happy dog; so don’t spend the winter months hibernating. If the weather is particularly grim you can have plenty of fun playing games indoors.
  • Dogs’ immune systems are run-down in the winter months (just like ours) and they are more vulnerable to illness and infection.

Staying Warm

  • Hypothermia can develop quickly in dogs and the signs aren’t always obvious, look for lethargy and disorientation rather than shivering. If you think your dog may have hypothermia, or even frostbite, visit your vet immediately.
  • Don’t leave your dog in the cold for long and be aware of the compounding effects of wind chill.
  • Small dogs, lean dogs and dogs with little fur are most susceptible to the cold, which explains why you see everything from Chihuahuas to Greyhounds wearing warm winter coats.
  • Regular grooming to keep your dog’s coat in top condition will help keep in the warmth
  • If you have been walking in the rain get out the towels (or even the hairdryer) as soon as you get home. Don’t forget to dry your dog’s paws and a little Vaseline will help stop the pads from cracking.
  • As in the summer months never leave your dog in the car, even if you are just popping into the shops.

Festive Fun

  • Christmas is an exciting time but it can also be stressful for your dog. The house filled with strange smells, strange decorations and strange visitors. Make sure your dog has a place they can call their own that’s comfy, cosy and quiet.
  • Remove baubles and fairy lights from the lower branches of your Christmas tree and steer well clear of edible tree decorations.
  • Christmas is a time for giving and there’s no reason why your four-legged friend should miss out; just be careful what you give. Stick to doggie treats and dog toys rather than hand-downs from the dining table, some of which can be poisonous, notably: onions, nuts, raisins, chocolate and alcohol. Holly and mistletoe are also toxic to dogs.

 


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