9 Simple tips to keep your dog warm this winter
- by DR Roxanne Jones
We are lucky here in South Africa with our winters. We do not have long freezing winters but it does drop below 0 deg C a few times over our short winter so here are some helpful tips to keep your fur friend warm and health this winter.
Is My Dog Cold?
It is true that some dogs are well adapted to the cold weather and really don’t mind our South African winters.
These dogs typically have thick fur coats and can deal with cold weather far better than any human could. If your dog seems content outside in the cold, no intervention is needed. Such dogs could include Siberian Husky’s and Saint Bernard’s.
But If your fur friend appears uncomfortable, shivering, whining, anxious, hiding or begging to come into your house, this is and indication that your fur friend needs some extra warmth.
Dog jackets are a must especially for your smaller dogs or dogs with short coats. The jacket should cover the dog’s body adequately but still allow for normal movement.
Dog Blankets and beds offer a nice comfortable warm spot for Fluffy to sleep in and will go a long way in keeping them nice and warm during these winter months. This is also a great way to keep your dogs off your beds and couches if you don’t want them up there.
Avoid cutting their hair during the cold months as your dog’s full coat thickens during winter and it is needed to keep him nice and warm. Regular brushing of long hair will also insure that the dog’s coat is doing its job properly as matted and knotted fur is not able to hold heat properly.
Bath your pooch during the warmer parts of the day, if the sun is out you can allow your dog to sun dry, but on a very chilly day rather first towel dry your dog and finish off with the hair dryer.
Remember, dogs still need sunshine. Being in the sun activates Vitamin D3, making it usable for the body and it is proven that sun rays release good mood hormones leaving your dog feeling healthy, happy and reduces stress levels. So even in the winter months your pet should have access to sunshine, especially during the warmer parts of the day.
Most indoor dogs do not need extra food during the winter months as they are not active enough to burn off the extra kilojoules. A very active or working dog may need 10-20% extra energy during the winter to be able to maintain the high level of energy.
Dogs with existing conditions such as arthritis may need extra care during the winter months to keep them comfortable. Ask your local vet for some advice if your dog suffers from this when its cold.
In the cold months, there are many bugs in the air with Kennel cough being one of them. Keeping your dog dry and warm and away from other dogs will help prevent them contracting this disease. If your dog comes into contact with other dogs or you live in a residential area with a high density of dogs, your dog might be at risk. Enquire about vaccinating your dog at your local vet.
Heaters And Fireplaces:
Your pooch will love this and it’s a great way for them to keep warm but just remember, safety first. Always make sure you have a fire screen up in front of the fire place and your dog cant get too close to any heater that could burn them. Either their fur or doggy jacket could catch alight and injure your pooch.
Always remember that if you are cold, then your dog is feeling the cold too. Always keep an eye on them and if they look cold, use these 9 tips to help them get warm.