When the temperature starts to drop we always think about ourselves, but we need to think about our pets comfort too. Here are eight tips we have curated to keep your pet safe over the winter months.
1) Spend more time inside while it is cold.
Cats and dogs should be inside during cold weather. If your dog is outside in winter it is recommended to stay outside for shorter periods and for them to be closely monitored. Vets recommend that puppies, kittens, and short haired dogs be brought inside for extended periods when the temperature drops below 10 degrees.
2) Protect your pets feet.
Your pet does not have the same protection as us while outside in the snow and cold weather. We recommend putting a paw balm on your dog's feet before venturing out into the snow to provide a barrier between their skin, and the salts used on our roads and footpaths. It will also help to keep your dog or cat's feet soft and supple. You should also re-apply the balm once they are back from their walk.
3) Snuggly bedding.
When the temperature drops you can add a few extra blankets into your pets bed to make them more comfortable. You can also buy fluffy snuggly beds that have the added effect of reducing anxiety in your pet. Dressing your dog in a comfortable dog shirt or pyjamas will help to keep warm.
4) Avoid overfeeding.
Activity levels for your dogs may decrease over the colder months as time spent chasing a ball outside in the snow-covered ground is a less viable activity. They won't need as many calories if you are reducing exercise time so you need to watch their diet levels closely.
We also recommend increasing your dog's levels of omega 3's during the winter months. Omega 3s act as a natural lubricant and help ease arthritis. Omegas also help with cognitive functions and skin health.
5) Dress them in warm dog apparel.
Many dogs aren't made to handle the colder winter months. Particularly the short-haired breeds: French Bulldogs, Pugs, Chihuahuas, and Pit Bulls. Wearing a dog shirt can help them to stay warm, and comfortable.
6) Keep an eye out for arthritis.
Sore joints become common as dogs and cats age. Arthritis symptoms do become worse over colder months. This is due to the effect colder temperatures have on our bodies. Studies have found that barometric pressure, temperature, and humidity affect how we feel this pain. Symptoms are worse when the weather is wet, cold, and with high humidity, and are more comfortable in dry, warm weather. Keep a watch out for signs your dog may be suffering from arthritis.
Common signs of arthritis.
- Reluctance to move: Walk, avoid stairs, jumping, and play.
- Limping, lameness, and lagging on walks.
- Yelping when touched
- Behavioural change (Aggression).
- Licking, chewing, and biting affected joint areas.
- Muscle Atrophy
If you notice any of these signs please book your dog into the vet for advice on arthritis management and pain reduction.
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6) Pet-proof all heating sources.
If you are using heaters, and fire places its important to keep your dog safely away from the heat source. This can be done via heat guards to provide a barrier between your dog and the heat source.
7) Watch out for poisons.
As Christmas approaches we need to be mindful that our furry friends find a number of our treats poisonous. Fruit pies, Christmas puddings, anything containing grapes and raisins, onions, and macadamia nuts are all poisonous to dogs.
Road salts used during winter months are irritants to dogs and cats skin, and if ingested are poisonous. You should wash your pet's paws after returning from any outdoor adventures where they may have came in contact with road salt.
8) Watch out for ice steps, roads, and footpaths.
Older dogs, particularly with mobility and ageing issues are more susceptible to slip on ice covered grounds. Lots of care needs to be taken.
Vibrant Hound specialise in creating unique, and comfortable dog clothing, and if you have any questions regarding them feel free to contact us.