With trees and gardens remaining bare, winter can sometimes feel like an eternity. Yet while some enjoy the colder weather - since you can “wrap up” all cosy (unlike escaping the summer heat)...
Many of us can’t seem to escape the “brrrrr” temperatures!
So with the cold UK weather here for now, what can you do to help keep your dog safe and comfortable during this time? Here are six tips to help you take extra care for your friend this season.
Check on those frosty paws
After a brisk walk outdoors, make sure to check your dog’s feet. Now, pay particular attention to icy surfaces as ice crystals can accumulate between your dog’s toes, causing a hard, uncomfortable chunk of debris.
Brush or rinse off any ice you see. If they have a lot of hair between their toes, keep it trimmed short during the winter months. Also, remember to regularly examine the pads of the feet. Just like our heels can crack and bleed in the colder, drier months, so can your dog’s! So keep a watchful eye on their paws.
Check their “undercarriage”
Just like ice can accumulate between the toes, dogs can also get ice accumulation on the hair of their armpits, chest and belly. Consider wiping these areas down after a walk.
In many towns and urban areas, councils use deicing salt, which acts like a sort of anti-freeze. Unfortunately, this and ice can stick to their hair. Therefore it’s important to check this and clean them as dogs will lick these areas and could ingest chemicals.
These sorts of chemicals can cause serious gastrointestinal problems…even toxic to organs like the kidneys.
Always be prepared
When you’re heading out and there’s the potential for the weather to take a turn for the worse…have an Emergency Kit with you at all times.
If you’re taking the car, it can be as simple as packing a few extra blankets and keeping some water with you. Easy to remember, but just as easy to forget! So it’s worth keeping these in your car at all times anyhow.
If the temperature plummets, stay in
If it’s so cold that after only a few minutes you feel chilled, then your dog will most likely feel it too! Dogs bred for colder climates, like huskies and malamutes, may be able to stay outside for a longer period. However, even they have limits on what they can stand should the temperature drop.
Luckily in the UK, we don’t suffer EXTREME freezes like other parts of Europe or the US where minus 20 celsius is normal during winter.
Short-coated breeds like dachshunds, Chihuahuas, boxers, and pit bull terriers get cold very quickly. So if you do have one of these types, invest in a warm jacket or wooly for them because the NEED it! Just remember, if it’s too cold for you, then it’s too cold for them.
Identification tags and monitoring
Cold temperatures and snow in particular can mask the odours that dogs pickup when they’re out.
If you get separated from your dog when visibility is low, he or she may have a tough time finding their way back to you. So make sure the identification tag on their collar or harness is up-to-date with your current contact information.
It’s also worth considering a microchip as a backup means of identification and way for you to be reunited with your dog should they become lost.
Truth is, many people feed their dog MORE during the winter months, believing that an extra layer of fat may keep them more warm & comfortable. However, this isn’t a particularly helpful way to keep them warm.
Because remember, any extra weight they put on now will have to be taken off during the spring. And this is a lot of work!
Aside from that, the extra weight could put your dog at a higher risk for stiff joints, and possibly diabetes. Just share with them a few tasty (but low calorie!) snacks as “treats”.
FOR A HAPPIER, HEALTHIER DOG THIS WINTER...CLICK HERE