Winters are around the corner and there will be sudden and steep drop in temperature, resulting in many dogs getting fever, allergies, runny nose and other complications. During this season, there is less of sun and the dogs mostly prefer to stay at home, resulting in higher chances of allergic and yeast infections. However, there are ways you can keep your dogs healthy and reduce chances of them getting sick by taking few precautions.
If it’s too cold for you to stand without a coat then it is probably too cold for your dog as well. Dress up your dog in some really nice and fashionable winter jackets for dogs, dog sweaters and tees. Some dogs are furrier and do not need jackets but some do. Besides, dog coats are not just fashionable; they prevent from frostbite on the ears, feet and tail. Yes, dogs too are prone to frostbite in extreme cold
- Make their bed warmer and cozier
Don’t let your dog sleep on the floor during winter. Beds and mattresses for pets come in various shapes and sizes. Get one and see how your pet loves snuggling up on it. Also, place the bedding in a warm spot (carpeted area) preferably where he sleeps every day so that the area doesn’t feel unfamiliar.
If your dog is used to sleep in crates then make sure you add extra layer of dog mat and blankets to provide better insulation. For strays outside your house, you can provide them with jute gunny bags and newspapers along with blankets for them to sleep on.
There are many dog beds of various shapes and sizes to choose from, so go pick up the coziest one for your pooch.
- Bathing regime:
Try not to bathe your dogs during winters unless there is an access to full sun. Sudden change in body temperature and lower possibility to dry the coat can make the dog fall sick. During winters, the coats and skin of dogs also get dry and using shampoo can strip natural oil off their skin and coat.
Keep dry brushing your dog’s coat regularly and also use dry shampoos in extreme conditions.
- Spruce up their diet
Dogs just like humans need some changes in diet during winters to help them stay healthy and fine. Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories, and making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help keep her well-hydrated and her skin less dry.
Increase protein intake; add fresh winter greens and carbohydrates in their diet. Eggs are the easiest source of healthy protein and adding them in your dog’s diet will give him or her the much needed energy and nutrition while keeping the coat maintained even during severe cold spells.
Adding supplements like fish oils and multivitamins in their diet will strengthen your dog’s immune system while adding an extra sheen to their coat. Fish oil and even olive oil and coconut oil relieve dogs that suffer from arthritis during winter.
- Paw care:
Massaging petroleum jelly or paw butter into paw pads before going outside can help protect from extreme dryness and cracking.
Most pets will get really sleepy and lazy in winters and will not want to walk or exercise that much. Dogs love to use most of their day snuggling in a corner. Sp, it is our job to keep them active by involving them into various physical activities. Going for long walks with your dog is a good way to bond with them and will also keep both of you fighting fit during winters. Believe it or not, even a few minutes of exercise will help make a difference.
- No chilling outside
Don’t leave your pet outside for long because low body temperature (hypothermia) can lead to death. If the wind chill index is below 20 degrees, do not take small pets, older dogs and cats, or short-haired dogs outside. However, dress them in a nice winter jacket or sweater, if you wish to take them out. This will protect them from the chilly weather.
Older dogs are usually more susceptible to the adverse effects of winters. Dogs with health conditions like a hormone imbalance, heart problems, kidney disease or diabetes are not able to regulate their body heat appropriately.
Older dogs who are suffering from arthritis can experience considerable discomfort as cold weather can make their stiff joints stiffer. Talk to your vet about medication, treatment options, and ways to keep your arthritic dog fit and warm through winter.
Winter is all about love and warmth. Keep yourself and your pooch safe and healthy during the extreme chills and soak up lots of winter sun.
A marketing and communications specialist by qualification and an abstract artist by design – with over a decade’s experience in both fields – Priyanka Lahiri has had a lifelong association with pets in general and dogs in particular. At present, she and her husband share their home with Loki and Stella, three-year-old Beagles that they dote on.