Taking care of your dog this winter
Are you feeling the cold now that winter’s here? Well, while we’re searching through our wardrobe to find our cosy winter woollies to wrap up in, think of your pup for a moment – with only one fur coat to suit every season, indoors or outdoors: it’s no wonder they’re now looking for a warm spot, or snuggling up on your lap on winter evenings!
Just like us, our puppers feel the cold, especially those with thin or short hair, and chilly, damp conditions can make any dog more prone to illness. Younger pups need special care, and for older dogs, winter makes them more likely to be affected by joint pain.
How can I make my pup more comfortable?
Start with bedding – every pup needs a warm, dry place to sleep. Beds should be raised off the ground (not too high for older dogs), and you can add an extra blanket or two for the winter months – make sure these are washed periodically. You could also try a heating pad, but power cords must be safely hidden away, and always ensure your furball can’t get too close to fireplaces and electrical heaters.
Most puppers prefer sleeping indoors, which is ideal, but if yours lives outdoors throughout the year, a warm, dry shelter is essential. Make sure it’s positioned to provide protection from rain, cold and draughts.
When spending time outdoors, especially in colder parts of the country, most dogs will happily wear a winter coat or jumper and you’ll even find waterproof gear for those rainy days. Check to see if your breed might benefit from a winter wardrobe. Though short-haired breeds in particular may need a little insulation on cold days, longer haired breeds can get chilly too, especially if they have fine or thinning fur. Remember to remove their jacket when your pup returns indoors to prevent overheating, and keep an old towel handy to clean muddy feet and to dry them off if necessary. You don’t want your pup to get the shivers!
What about diet?
Good nutrition is important for all puppers in supporting their health and wellbeing, especially during the winter months. Lyka’s complete and balanced meals are made from delicious human-grade animal protein, with the correct balance of fibre and omega fatty acids, to give your dog the energy and nutrients they need to stay healthy and active all year.
Keeping warm in winter requires more energy, so you may notice your pupper’s appetite increases during the colder months. If this is the case, it’s fine to increase meal size slightly, but watch their weight carefully and make sure you keep up their exercise routine. On the other hand, if cold weather means more time on the couch through the season, you may need to dial back their meal sizes slightly. Be careful not to double up on treats!
While dogs naturally drink less in the cooler months, continuous water intake is as important as ever, so keep an eye out on their water bowl, and wash and refill it regularly. You can find more information on hydration here.
Our easy winter dog care tips
- Make sure your pupper has a warm dry bed, either indoors or well-protected and sheltered if outdoors
- While it’s tempting to cosy up indoors on cold wet days, getting out for an active walk with your dog will do you both good. As well as the exercise benefits, it can be a great opportunity to socialise.
- Consider getting your pup a coat for getting out on cold days and dry your dog off when they come in if it’s wet outside
- If you can’t get out, then daily playtime with a favourite toy or ball will provide some mental stimulation and indoor exercise.
- Maintain your grooming regime even if your pupper’s going out less – it’s great for their skin and coat condition and your pet will love the attention while you get up close and personal to check them over. Remember to inspect their nails as well.
- Cold can exacerbate health issues like arthritis, so for older dogs it’s important to focus on keeping them warm and comfortable, and a healthy senior’s diet can make a big difference to their overall wellbeing. Monitor your senior’s condition, and if they’re limping or seem unusually stiff, seek the advice of your veterinarian.
With cool, dark evenings, winter is the time of year when we spend more time indoors, and your pupper will enjoy the extra attention and bonding time. They’ll repay your time in spades with loyalty, companionship and laughs. Meal times are the highlight of every day, and there’s no better way to support your dog’s health and wellbeing than with Lyka’s complete and balanced meal system. Whatever the weather, they’ll love mealtimes even more with Lyka!