10 tips on how to prepare your dog for the Winter

Autumn has finally arrived and with temperatures dipping, your dog will need special attention to stay warm, happy, healthy and safe this winter. It can be very tempting to cut dog walks short, however, it's important to keep their routine of daily walks as familiar as those during the warmer months. 

There are many precautions that can be taken to keep your pooch safe and well despite heavy rain, snow and ice.  Follow our ten top tips below to help keep your furry friend as safe as possible on those dark chilly walks!

 

  1.  Once the winter weather becomes bitter, you may need to cut dog walks short. Keep a close eye on your pet’s weight and body condition score, you may need to adjust their dietary requirements, Consider changing their meals to twice a day and feed a natural high protein, low fat diet containing easily digestible carbohydrates for energy, and Glucosamine to support joints and the immune system.  It’s worth considering other forms of indoor exercise too.
  1.  Dogs can catch colds too and at this time of year walking can be a wet and muddy business, so keep a doggie towel handy to rub your dog dry when you get home, or use a hair dryer on a very low setting held some distance from their coat. Put your dog's bed in a warm place as cold temperatures aggravate any arthritis your dog may have and can cause increased stiffness in joints. 
  1.  Buy your dog a sensible waterproof coat or jumper, these are widely available and are not just for pet fashion! If you walk in the dark, a high visibility doggie-jacket or/and collar with lead will prove even safer.  Dogs with low body fat, very thin coats and young puppies and older dogs are particularly sensitive to the cold weather.
  1.  Don’t just remember your dog’s safety, but think of your own as well. If possible always try to walk in daylight hours it is generally much safer.  When dark, it is never a good idea to let your dog off the lead.  If you have no chose and must walk them in the dark, wear reflective clothing and carry a torch, and remember that most smartphones have a built-in torch.
  1.  Dog boots are considered to some as a fashion statement but what you may not realise is that dogs can get frostbite as well as humans. You will need to gradually train your pet to wear boots, so start now before the bitter cold kicks-in.
  1.  If you choose not to use boots for your dog, check your dog's paws, especially if there is snow or grit on the ground to prevent sores, cuts and frostbite. Rinse the salt off your dog’s feet immediately once back home, salty paws could otherwise cause serious irritation for your pet’s delicate skin. Consider using a paw protection cream and snout balm to prevent and soothe cracked pads and snouts.
  2.  Always keep an eye on your dog when out walking, more dogs are lost in the winter than any other season, possibly because cold weather can impair their sense of smell.
  1.  Ensure your dog is microchipped and wearing an ID tag in case they get lost.
  1.  Never, let your furry friend walk on frozen ponds or lakes, even if the ice appears to be thick.  They could fall through the ice and become trapped, if your dog does fall through the ice never be tempted to go after them but encourage them to swim back to you.
  1.  Antifreeze has a sweet taste dogs like bit it's toxic enough to cause serious illness and even death. Ensure your car isn't leaking an fluids and keep containers well out of your dog's reach.

What about your experiences?
What are your experiences? Do you have any advice for our readers?

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