For most dogs, that first winter snowfall brings nothing but joy and fun as they frolic outside. However, like most of us, by the time February comes they may be sick of the cold temperatures, howling winds and piles of snow and slush. Here are five tips to help your pup thrive through the winter months:
How Cold Is Too Cold to Go Out?
As a general rule, if you still find it cold out even with a jacket on, your pup is going to feel the cold as well. When outside with your dog, look for signs from them like shivering, whining or a general lack of desire to run around. If those signs are present, they may be telling you it is time to go in.
During the winter months, try walking your dog during the parts of the day that are warmest like the late morning and early afternoon. If the sun is shining, that will also help your pup get a little added warmth as they quickly do their business and head back inside to their warm house.
That Extra Layer
There are plenty of clothing options to help your pup during the winter. For short-haired or single-coated dogs, there are jackets that will help keep their chest and stomach warm while still leaving them plenty of room to move their head around and go to the bathroom when needed.
Boots are also a helpful (and oh-so-cute!) option to help protect their delicate paws during the winter months. It may take them a couple of weeks to get used to wearing them, but they will appreciate the added protection for their little feet.
Aside from piles of snow everywhere, that winter wonderland is filled with many possible hazards for your dog. They won’t be able to recognize patches of ice and could go sliding when they least expect it. When taking them to a dog park or similar places, survey all the land to ensure there aren’t any places where they could slip and fall.
The common rock salt that people use to melt the ice on their driveway and sidewalks are the perfect shape to get caught between your dog’s unprotected paws. Watch how they walk and if you see them limping, they may have one of those pieces stuck there, causing pain when they step down.
Food and Water
Many dog owners are tempted to overfeed their dog during the winter months to help give them extra fat to fight off the cold temperatures. Your dog does not need the extra calories as they may have less chance to burn those off. Some dogs even like to sleep more in the winter so be sure to keep an eye on their weight and reduce how much you feed them if necessary.
When it comes to water, despite being less active, your dog may actually need more water than usual in the winter due to dehydration. Some homes tend to get dry with the furnace going and your dog may need more water than usual.
Just because it is winter doesn’t mean your dog should get away with being less active. There are plenty of indoor games such as tug-of-war that can be enough to get your dog off their warm, comfy bed and help them stay lively.
If you are stuck in a deep freeze with little time to give your dog that extra bit of exercise, we here at Dogtopia can help. We can treat your pup to a fun-filled day of running around and socializing with other dogs in a climate-controlled environment that will help your dog kick those winter blues. To learn more about our dog daycare services, please contact us for more information.