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How To Keep Your Dog Healthy This Winter

According to AVMA, dogs can be prone to frostbite and hypothermia, amongst other things, which is why we suggest taking special care of your pet during the cold season. Since the snow season is just around the corner, let’s walk you through some tips: 

Limit Outdoor Activities 

Most dogs love to spend time outside the house, be it walking or just playing in the backyard. Most dogs even love to play in the snow but it’s imperative that you limit your dog’s outdoor time during the cold season to avoid any potential health risks. 

Let your dog out for a short time during the day (advisably during peak sun hours) to soak in some sunlight and a good amount of Vitamin D. 

If your dog becomes restless, lethargic, or starts whining, look into some indoor activities you can stimulate your dog’s mind with. Moreover, you can also enroll your dog in a daycare during the winter season. 

Try Winter Clothing 

Look into winter outerwear options for your pet. Many people assume that a dog’s coat is sufficient, but that might not always be the case. Purchase additional clothing for your dog for freezing temperatures, cold winds, snow, and rain. This is important especially if you live in very cold regions or areas that receive winter rain or snow.

Here are a few things to consider when buying winter clothing for your dog:

  • Breed 
  • Size 
  • Health condition 

The material should be apt for winter and comfortable to wear. Some clothing items can be very heavy and can soak water, it’s best that you stay away from them.

Don’t Overfeed 

Since most dogs spend the majority of their time indoors during winter, they’re less active and don’t require too much calorie intake. This is why it might be a good idea to offer reduced meals and avoid the risk of overfeeding, which can lead to obesity, which, in turn, can result in bloating, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and other health conditions. 

We suggest setting out a balanced diet for your pet but make sure to take care of nutritional value. 

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Hydrate Your Dog 

Winter means a drop in the humidity level, which can cause your furry friend to experience dehydration. A dehydrated dog requires adequate energy to stay warm, which is why your dog should have access to fresh, unfrozen water. This is vital for your dog’s health and can protect your dog from: 

  • Kidney failure 
  • Unconsciousness 
  • Failure of other organs

Many animals refrain from drinking water if it is near freezing. We recommend providing your dog with water in a heated bucket to avoid issues.

Groom Your Dog 

Grooming your dog is more important in winter than in any other season as it helps maintain body temperature. Tangled, unclean, and matted fur is not effective in protecting your dog against winter elements. For this, make sure that your dog’s coat is washed and brushed routinely to manage natural oil production. 

However, don’t bathe your dog too often as this can cause dryness and low production of essential natural oils. Also, make sure you only use warm water to bathe your dog.

Moisturize

Dry and flaky skin is not uncommon in winter, especially when central heating systems are switched on. Dry skin can be itchy and can cause discomfort to your dog. If not managed properly, dry skin can eventually lead to dandruff build-ups that could be detrimental to your dog’s health. 

Moisturize your dog’s skin and coat regularly to avoid this issue. You can invest in a branded product or use natural solutions such as coconut oil, aloe vera, and diluted apple cider vinegar.

Paw Care 

Winter brings road grit, snow, antifreeze, and ice, which can cause harm to your dog. Pay special attention to your dog’s paw during the winter season and ensure no ice or other such elements get stuck in your four legged friend’s paws. 

This might not look dangerous but ice can cause issues such as soreness, redness, and cracking. Plus, salts and chemicals used to melt ice can irritate the pads of your dog’s feet. As a result, your dog may start licking its pads, which can lead to more issues because consuming even a small amount of salt and these chemicals can cause digestive issues, kidney problems, and dehydration 

Paw care is necessary to avoid these conditions. Make sure to wipe or wash your pooch’s feet after a walk and opt for a salt and chemical free ice melt. Furthermore, massage petroleum jelly onto your dog’s pads to ensure protection from salt and other chemicals. 

Alternatively, you can also buy boots for your dog to protect it from the cold weather. 

Keep Antifreeze Away 

Antifreeze is found almost everywhere in winter. The chemical tastes sweet and your dog is sure to lick or drink it if it comes across antifreeze. Unfortunately, the chemical is extremely toxic to animals and even a little amount can cause fatal kidney failure in your dog. Hence, keep it away from your dog’s reach.

Look Out For Arthritis

Existing arthritis symptoms might get worse when the temperature drops. Contact a vet and discuss pain relief options if your dog is feeling stiffer or having pain and pay attention to these signs:

  • Stiffness 
  • Limping 
  • Irritability 
  • Increased sensitivity to touch 
  • Reduced activity 
  • Exhaustion
  • Comfortable Bedding

Lastly, it is necessary to give your dog comfortable bedding or a warm surface to retain heat on cold winter days. A cozy bed with warm blankets in a room – one that is away from drafty areas of the house – would be ideal for your furry friend. As an added measure, put in some pillows. Moreover, you can opt for a heated pet bed.

This is important because sleeping on the floor can cause issues such as body aches, raw skin, joint pain, and weak bones.

Conclusion

All in all, pay special attention to your dog. Remember that puppies and older dogs may need more care and it might be a good idea to visit a vet to create a customized plan to ensure your dog sails smoothly through the harsh season.

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