As the winter months begin, dogs, just like humans, will want to keep warm and comfortable. To help your canine best friend through winter, it’s important to know that there are things you can do to keep them as cosy and comfortable as possible this winter.
How? Well, read on for some top tips for winter dog care to work into your routine.
Alter your dog’s grooming for winter
First of all, it’s essential to not forget your pooch’s grooming schedule. You might think that during winter, your dog should keep as much of its coat as possible. While that can be the case, it’s important to adapt your canine’s routine to ensure they are as comfortable as possible.
After all, health and well-being don’t stop just because it’s colder. Dogs need help preventing matting, and we’d recommend regularly brushing two to three times per week. This helps to prevent knots and removes loose hair.
Wrap up warm when winter walking
If you’re concerned about taking your dog for a walk on a particularly cold day, an insulated dog coat will help to keep them warm. Make sure you get a coat that fits comfortably and allows enough room for a collar or a harness to be worn should they need one underneath.
Ideally, the coat should also be visible, so both style and substance are a must to assist with visibility in snow and fog.
A warm coat is especially helpful if you have a short-haired breed such as a French bulldog, or a fine-coat breed such as a Staffie.
Check out some of the newest dog winter wear additions from our store.
Check paws for snow, grit, and dirt
After a walk, check your dog’s paws for snow that could be wedged between their toes. Ideally, it’s wise to avoid taking them on walks when there’s settled snow on the ground. But if you do, ensure you dry off your dog as soon as they come in, and prepare a warm, cosy bed ready for their return.
It’s common for local councils to grit the roads and pathways to stop the snow, but this inadvertently can become trapped in your dog's toes too. If left unchecked, the grit and dirt can become painful and even cause infection. Additionally, you should also be aware of potential chemical burns or rashes caused by gritting salt. Rock salt can be toxic for dogs, so be sure to keep an eye on your dog if they are licking their feet or the ground itself.
It’s better to be safe than sorry when thinking about winter dog care.
Avoid excessive bath time
Excessive contact with water and the wrong soap or human soap, can cause dry skin problems. Baths are a necessity of course and shouldn’t be abandoned altogether, particularly after a wet, muddy walk. You’ll obviously want to get them clean again before your sofa is ruined.
Specialist shampoo can be used in hard-to-reach areas, such as armpits, groin, and feet. After their bath, make sure you thoroughly dry them off before they head outside again. You don’t want to risk your dog developing hypothermia or any other related issues. This can often be more of a threat to smaller breeds.
Provide entertainment indoors
When it’s cold outside, some dogs may not want to go on their usual walk, or maybe not for as long. You can try to substitute a walk with some playtime – just make sure you’ve stocked up on some new toys. We’ve always got new dog soft toys in our online store.
Of course, once they’ve finished playing, wrap them up in an extra blanket. They might be more interested in staying indoors if they are snug.
Adjust food intake
If you aren’t taking your pooch out for as many walks as normal, then ensure you adjust food accordingly. They won’t be using as much energy if they are not as active, so this is advisable to reduce the chance of weight gain. Adapting food intake to your dog's needs is an overlooked part of a winter dog care routine. A creative way of incorporating movement into feeding is to turn feeding time into a game. Why not throw a cone filled with dry food down the hall? Your pup may then get at least a little movement while inside.
We have some tasty treats and food options for you to choose from. You can buy online or pop into our Surbiton dog grooming salon or our newer Weybridge dog grooming salon.
Look out for the signs your dog is feeling cold
Whether you are out at the park or inside your home, there are often clear signs to look out for when your dog is too cold. These include:
- standing with a hunched posture
- lifting their paws off the ground
- shaking or shivering, even when inside or seemingly cosy
- displaying anxious or uncomfortable behaviour, which is not normal
- actively seeking shelter whilst out
- stopping during a walk, refusing to continue, or trying to turn back