Keep Your Dog Safe and Happy this Winter
Don’t let the winter weather get in the way of having fun with your dog. Here are some suggestions that will help you care for him during the colder months.
- You can still go for a stroll with your dog in winter, but you’ll need to take some precautions. Watch for little balls of ice forming between his pads, as these can be painful to walk on. You may want to buy him some protective booties while there is snow on the ground. Make sure you wipe his feet and body dry after his walk. If you find that it’s dark when you go for your walk, stick to well lit and familiar pathways and wear a reflective jacket. If possible, particularly if you are female, walk with a friend.
- Buy your dog a coat to wear when the temperatures are low, particularly if he is a short coated breed. If your dog’s coat is usually kept short, let it grow longer over winter, and this will help to keep him warm.
- One of the most frustrating things about winter is that some dogs just don’t want to leave your warm home when they need to go to the toilet. You may need to put your dog on a leash and physically take him out to potty. It can be particularly challenging to toilet train a puppy when it’s cold outside. If this becomes a problem for you, then you may want to use toilet training pads for a little while until it gets a bit warmer.
- Arthritic joints are often more painful during the colder months. If your canine senior citizen is stiff and sore, think about giving him a soft orthopedic bed to lie on, and chat to your vet about whether some anti-inflammatory medication would help him.
- If the temperatures in your area regularly drop below freezing, keep an eye on your dog’s water bowl. If it freezes over, he won’t be able to drink. Think about buying a heated water bowl that prevents freezing but doesn’t warm the water up.
- Some parts of the country have snowstorms and it’s not easy to get out to the shopping mall. If you’re in such an area, stock up on some extra food and water for your dog as well as yourself. Don’t forget, if he is on any medication, keep some spare just in case you can’t get to your veterinarian for a prescription refill. You may not need the spare food and medication but that’s much better than needing it and not being able to get any.
- If the weather is really bad and you just can’t get outside to play with your dog, you can still exercise his body and mind indoors. Play hide and seek with a favorite toy, or set up a small hurdle in your hallway and teach him to jump. Trick training is a great way to stimulate his mind and you can do that just about anywhere.
Cold winter weather may mean that you need to think more about how to look after your dog, but you can both still have fun and stay safe until spring arrives.