Winter's not quite done with us yet!
As the weather reports threaten the arrival of the 'Beast from the East' we thought we would share some tips and treats on keeping your dog healthy, warm and fit while it's still chilly.
Extra warmth for your four legged friend can be provided through heat lamps, heaters, heat mats, heat packs and hot water bottles. It is important to make sure that any heating mats, packs or hot water bottles are placed under bedding so the heat radiates through. NEVER apply heat directly to your dog as it will burn the skin and cause discomfort. If your dog sleeps in front of an open fire it is important to make sure the fire has a screen so your dog doesn’t accidentally get burnt from embers.
How About a Winter Jacket
There are so many warm and protective winter jackets on the market that can keep our dogs nice and cozy in the cold nights. Dogs with arthritic conditions, older dogs, short coated dogs and dogs that have been unwell feel the cold so much more and will benefit greatly in these months with the extra warmth.
In the winter months our dogs can turn into couch potatoes and sleep a lot. They conserve energy whilst sleeping and exercise much less so you will need to adjust their diet accordingly otherwise they may start to put on weight! Outdoor dogs will burn more calories (up to 30%) and will need extra food if you can’t bring them inside. Water is just as important for Winter as it is Summer so make sure your dog has plenty of fresh water available at all times. Adding a Multi Vitamin to their meal can help them through the cold months will help boost the immune system. Turmeric (including in our Joint Care Plus) for mobility and it’s a warming herb as well. Consider adding these supplements to their meals to get through the cold days and nights.
Warm Winter Food - Why not cook up a doggie casserole with lean meat , vegetables (no onions) and some brown rice! A delicious nutritious winter warming meal for a cold day! Or if they are kibble fed add a few tablespoons of warm bone broth to their kibble (boiled chicken bones water, drained) this will warm their tummies!
Keeping walkways walkable and driveways drivable in the winter often requires the use of salt or chemical de-icers which are poisonous to pets. Try to avoid contact with de-icers when with your pet, and wipe them down with a wet towel then completely dry them off after outside play to remove any chemicals they could’ve come in contact with.
Remember, if you’re putting antifreeze in your car, use a pet-friendly or propylene glycol option.
Baby, it’s cold outside
While many pets have fur to protect them from the cold, dogs and cats need plenty of time to acclimate to the colder weather. Keep your pets indoors as much as possible, especially cats and small, sick, or short-haired dogs. Winter is a great time to look into indoor training or obedience classes, like agility and flyball, so your dog can get plenty of mental and physical exercise.
Catnaps and cars
In the cold winter, outdoor cats in the area may find the engine block under the warm hood of your car to be a great spot to snooze. Before you start your car in the morning, bang on your hood a little to wake up any sleeping cats.
Just like when it’s hot out, don’t leave your pet in your car when it’s particularly cold out. Your car can act like a refrigerator as it holds in the cold. When in doubt, leave your pet at home when you know you’ll have to leave them unattended in the car.
Fitness and exercise
If it’s not too cold out for you, your dog can get some aerobic exercise outside that will also keep them warm. Walking in wooded areas is a good way to protect them from chilly wind gusts. If it’s too cold, entice them to exercise indoors with tug-of-war, fetch, or a playdate with another pet-friend.
Winter skin solutions
Dogs get dry, flaky skin in the winter just like humans do. Bathe your pet less frequently and make sure to completely dry them after baths. Brushing their coat stimulates blood circulation and can help improve the overall condition of their skin. Supplementing with Fish oils is another great idea to help keep them in tip top shape, our Omega 369 Oils are another great option.
Stay safe and warm :-)