The winter months can be a magical time of frosty early mornings or cozy sunset walks with your canine companion. But, just as the colder temperatures and extreme weather conditions can take their toll on us, they can also take a toll on our pets. Learn how to combat the conditions and keep your four pawed friend happy and safe this winter:
Adjust Their Diet:
When the temperature drops, you may need to adjust the amount and type of food that you offer. It could be that dogs who are outdoors and being active will require richer food, while animals that become reluctant to exercise outdoors may need less food in order for you to manage their weight. Look up care tips for the particular breed and age of dog, like German Shepherd puppy care, to adjust the food mix to your particular dog and nourish them right.
Keep Them Active:
For some dogs, nothing puts them off from exploring, while others can be very resistant to going outdoors when it gets colder – much like some humans! If your canine companion is less keen on venturing out, make sure that you can keep then active indoors. Provide lots of dog toys to keep them busy and consider setting up an obstacle course if you have the space to keep their bodies and minds active.
Prepare Them For Walks:
When you do go out, bear in mind that bad weather conditions such as fog and the darker early mornings and evenings can reduce visibility. First, make sure that you have good verbal command of your dog and that you can recall them easily. Check to ensure that their microchip details are up to date in case they do get lost. Look for reflective collars or attached LED lights to collars and coats to make them more visible to drivers. And, make sure that you have a winter dog coat if needed, especially if you own a short haired breed such as a greyhound – they will really need the extra warmth.
Keep Up With The Grooming:
Don’t let winter be an excuse to get lax with your animal grooming! Make sure that you are still regularly brushing out the coats of longer haired breeds and using a mild dog shampoo to get out any mud and dirt that becomes matted into their coat during walks. Inspect your dogs paws regularly too, especially if the weather turns icy. A lot of the gritting agents used to stop the ground icing can be damaging on delicate paws, and you may need to use a protective paw balm in icy weather to prevent sores and cracks from forming. If your dog has a longer coat, check that the hairs between their paw pads aren’t trapping little balls of ice and damaging them.
Beware Of Food Hazards:
With your pet in the house more and lots of festive food around, there can be dangers, as most dogs are opportunists when it comes to sneaking a snack! Chocolate can be a particular hazard, as it’s as enticing to canines as it is to humans and yet it contains a compound called theobromine which is toxic to them and can cause their kidneys to fail – this substance is present in the highest concentration in dark chocolate. Foods like avocado can cause an upset tummy, corn on the cob can block their intestines, cooked bones (say from a roast bird) could splinter and perforate their insides, or anything sugar-free containing Xylitol can cause hypoglycemia in dogs. All of these must be stored safely away from curious noses.
Providing your dog with the best care year round, especially during the winter months, will keep them happy, healthy, and around for many more Christmases to come!
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