10 Ways to Look After Your Dog This Autumn/Winter
When the colder weather comes around, it’s important that you know how to care for your pooch. Many dog owners are aware of how to care for their dogs in the summer – keep them in the shade, provide plenty of water etc. But, when temperatures start to drop, how to care for your furry friend is less known. Here’s everything that you need to know to keep your dog happy, healthy and warm this autumn and winter.
1. Wrap Up Warm on Winter Walks
Although it might be minus temperatures outside, your pooch still needs to have regular exercise to keep them healthy and happy. Just like us, your dog can feel the cold and it’s important that you provide them with a jumper or coat – especially if they have a fine coat (like bulldogs and greyhounds). This will keep them much cosier, which will allow them to enjoy their winter walks and prevent them from becoming too cold and uncomfortable as the icy winds appear.
2. Don’t Leave Them in Your Car
We all know this to be true in the summer, but it’s also the case in the winter! How many times have you got into your car during the winter months to find it even colder than the temperature outside? This is because your car becomes icy cold during the winter months and leaving your pooch inside is sure to make them extremely cold, uncomfortable and unsafe. You should always take your dog with you when leaving your car, so if you’re going somewhere that isn’t dog-friendly, consider leaving them at home or with someone else who can look after them.
3. Check Their Paws
Your dog’s paws are prone to getting stones, grit, snow and other small objects stuck in between them. As you can imagine, this can be incredibly uncomfortable and painful for your pooch and can even lead to a nasty infection. Although this can happen in the summer months too (so you should check their paws regularly in any weather conditions), it’s more likely to happen during the colder months. This is due to snow, stones, grit and leaves covering the floor, which are the perfect size to get caught in their paws, providing a lot of pain and discomfort for your pooch.
4. Keep Them Away from Antifreeze and De-icer
For us, these products can be a lifesaver in the winter months but they can be extremely dangerous and toxic for your furry friends. The sweet taste of the product is known to draw your pets towards it and therefore, you should always make sure that your pooch isn’t nearby when you apply the product and that you’re not storing it in a place where they can easily reach.
5. Beware of Ice
Cold weather and ice go hand in hand, so it should always be expected. If your pooch has fragile limbs or suffers from arthritis, it’s really important that you walk carefully and in well-lit areas. Black ice is particularly dangerous, as it can be incredibly hard to spot. We recommend walking your pooch cautiously and slowly in areas that look particularly icy or dark, as this will prevent any nasty accidents occurring to your pooch, or even you!
6. Adjust Their Food if Needed
Although you should try and exercise your dog as much as possible, it’s no surprise that many dogs get walked much more in the summer. With evenings becoming dark and temperatures dropping, a long walk isn’t as appealing to you or your pooch! As a result, this could mean that their portions need to be adjusted as they’re exercising less, to help prevent unhealthy weight gain.
On the other side of the spectrum, some dogs burn more calories in winter! From running around trying to keep warm, or playing in the garden as much as they can, many dogs will need feeding more in the winter.
7. Make Their Bed Cosy and Warm
If you feel colder during the night, chances are that your pooch does too. While you gather all the blankets and throws that you own, make sure that you add a couple to your dog’s bed as well, so that they can snuggle up in them when they get chilly. The extra blankets are sure to keep your dog’s bed feeling much warmer, which is just what they need when the temperature plummets during the winter nights.
8. Don’t Forget to Moisturise
Just like ours, your pooch’s skin is prone to becoming chapped and dry when the colder months arrive. Therefore, you need to make sure that you moisturise your dog’s paws, tail or ears regularly to avoid them becoming painful and sore. Coconut oil is an amazing natural moisturiser that will deeply moisturise their skin, without containing any chemicals that could be harmful to your pooch!
It’s impossible for your dog to properly keep warm and insulated if their fur isn’t clean and smooth. By using a moisturising shampoo and regularly brushing their fur, you can be sure that their coat can keep them as warm as possible. It’s also a good idea to groom your pooch regularly during the winter to remove any dirt that they have on their fur after those muddy, winter walks!
10. Make Sure That Your Pooch is Visible
The colder months bring dark mornings and evenings – the times during the day where you’re most likely to be walking your furry friend! Therefore, it’s important that your pooch can be seen by drivers and other dog walkers to avoid any accidents from occurring. To keep them safe, opt for a reflective winter coat or a light-up dog tag so keep them visible – even on the darkest of mornings and nights!