In most parts of the country, colder weather is upon us. So when it gets to be colder weather, we need to ask ourselves, how do we keep our pets and dogs healthy when cold weather strikes?
Should you live in a part of the country that never gets cold, consider you and your dog lucky! However, even in areas where it is always warm, there are weather events; rain, hail,wind and even very dry or humid air can affect your dogs health.
But colder weather seems to have more of an effect on dogs than other types of weather. Colder weather usually keeps us and our best friends inside more than warmer days or months.
It takes more effort to get our own coats, jackets, gloves and boots on to take our dogs outside in the winter than in the summer. And if there is snow, we have the added problems of wetness, cleared walking areas, salt and dirt debris and much colder weather. So how do we keep our dogs healthy when it gets colder? Below are a few tips;
Feed Your Dog Well – But Not Too Much!
We all have a tendency to eat more when we are stuck inside due to rain, snow or colder weather. And, unfortunately, most holidays (at least in the Northern Hemisphere) fall in the winter months. And since foods, of all kinds, are usually a highlight of the holidays, most of us overeat. So even though we are overeating, try and not let your dog overeat as well. Keeping a healthy diet during the cold winter months is as important, or even more so, than in warmer months. So though it may be tempting to slip Fido a piece of turkey or a leg of lamb, resist! Dogs can become overweight, just like people.
Keep Your Dog Warm
It is a mistake to assume that just because your dog has a coat of hair, that they are impervious to the cold. And as our dogs age, they are even more susceptible to cold as we are when we age. And even though dogs do shiver when they get cold, they can still get very cold. But unlike us, they can get cold in places we don’t think about.
We would never go out into the cold without shoes or socks on. Though we let our own dogs do so, even though their pads may not be thick enough to keep them warm. So on very cold days, when walking your dog, it’s a good idea to place a dog sweater and even booties on your dog to keep them warm.
And even your home, some of the usual places where your dog may sleep might be cold in the winter. That area by the door may get cold drafts. Or the area near the window may be cold and damp. Allow your dog to move about to find an area that is warmer in the winter. So keeping your dog warm when it gets cold, will also help them stay healthy as well.
Keep Your Dog Active
Keeping your dog active during the colder winter months is probably the most difficult challenge for dog owners. In warm and hot months, we take our dogs walking, to the park and just let run wild at the local dog park. Great exercise! But when winter comes, cold, rain and snow often keep us indoors. So our dogs don’t get the activity they need. And every dog owner knows what many dogs do when they get bored and need that time outside; they bark, they act-out, they become depressed or generally just not themselves.
So if you are unable to take your dog outside in colder weather months as much as you should, here are some ideas of where you might take them;
- An indoor pet play area
- An indoor mall that allows leashed dogs
- An indoor farmers market or flea market
- An empty car garage
- Or simply walk with them throughout your own home
Just because we can’t take our dogs on to their usual places, doesn’t mean they can’t go somewhere to work off some of the energy. Be inventive and creative! Do not let the cold weather keep you and your dog from getting all the exercise and activity they (and you) need during the winter months.
Colder weather does effect our dogs, just like it does us. Keeping your dog healthy in colder weather by feeding your dog well, keeping them warm and active are important. But sometimes, should your dog need additional nutrition, consider dog vitamins or supplements. And should your dog still not feel well, or you feel there is something wrong, don;t ever hesitate to take them to the vet – especially during colder months.