Keep Them Wrapped Up – Going out for walks is just as important in the winter as it is in the warmer season. As we wrap up warm to head outside, it’s just as important for pups to be warm too. Yes, dogs have fur coats, but some breeds aren’t used to bred to be ok in cold and frosty weather. You’re probably okay with something like a Husky but Chihuahua’s, for example, are at risk of getting too cold.
Fashionable and functional dog coats are widely available from pet stores and online – maybe you could go out in matching winter warmers!
Be Seen – As mentioned before, the days are getting shorter which means a lot more of the day is, in fact, dark. You should still be taking your pooch out for regular walks, even if it’s darker and colder. Make sure you and your pup are easily seen whilst tramping the winter evenings/mornings with reflective gear. You can get collars, coats, light…all sorts of things!
Being seen by others dog owners, cyclist and cars is essential to make sure you both stay safe.
Salted Roads & Paws – Tis frosty and snowy this time of years – with the roads often get salted to stop road users getting into accidents. Be mindful of salt, grit and snow on the roads, try to avoid letting your dog walk through too much of it and check their paws after a walk. Snow can compact between their toes, which can be painful, and salt can irritate paws and cause harm if licked.
A thorough wash and dry of your dog’s feet will help make sure nothing is lodged between their toes; it will also stop your dog ingesting any salt if they try to clean their feet themselves. Keeping the fur between the toes trimmed will also help prevent ice building up.
Winter Diet - In the cold winter, your pet will burn more calories to keep warm. If your pet exercises outdoors a lot, think about increasing their food intake by a little bit. You should be able to feel, but not see, your pet’s ribs.
Depending on where you live, a change in season can result in a dramatically different exercise schedule and therefore a corresponding change in the number of calories your pet needs to consume. It takes more energy in cold weather to keep your body temperature regulated, so sometimes additional calories are necessary.
For example, if you spend more time outside with your dog walking in the cooler weather, your pet may need more food. Similarly, if your dog spends some time in an outside run or kennel with falling temperatures, they may need more food. However, if you and your pet are spending more time curled up by a warm fire and are only playing indoor games of fetch, they may require less food.
Car Dangers - Don’t leave dogs in the car in chilly weather. Closed vehicles trap the cold and your pet’s body temperature can drop dangerously low. Another winter danger for dogs is antifreeze, which accumulates on roads and driveways—and its sweet smell and taste can be attractive to pets.
But the ethylene glycol in most brands of antifreeze is poisonous to pets, even in small amounts. Clean up spills from your car, or better yet, use antifreeze that contains propylene glycol, which is less toxic (although still unsafe) and has a bitter, less alluring taste
Keep Them Close - More dogs get lost during the winter than any other time of year because they can lose their scent when the ground is covered in snow, frost, or ice. During a walk or a romp in the snow, keep your dog in sight at all times, and preferably on a lead, especially in a snowstorm. Pets should always wear ID tags.