Winter Care Guide for Dogs
The winter months are usually the hardest for most of us and can be particularly gruelling for us dog owners. Whilst we do get some wonderful wintery walks, we always get our fair share of wet, drizzy, cold and windy days here in the UK which are much less enjoyable. Here’s our top tips to keep your dog safe and happy during these cold dark months.
KEEP WARM AND DRY
Despite the cold weather conditions, your dog will need regular exercise thought the winter months. Fine coated dog breeds such as whippets and Staffordshire bull terriers may benefit from a dog coat when they go out for a walk to keep them warm and dry. After a rainy walk, be sure to dry your dog as much as possible and ensure they have a cosy warm bed to retreat to, away from cold and draughts. As the wet and dirt are usually worst on your dog’s legs, if your dog has long feathers or belly hair it may help during the winter to keep these areas trimmed short to make cleaning easier and reduce drying time.
CHECK PAWS AFTER EACH WALK
Snow, gravel and dirt can collect between the toes and pads and cause irritation and sores. Gently check each paw and clean and dry after each walk. Dogs that have long hair between the pads may benefit from having this hair trimmed to prevent impaction from the snow and dirt. We have a great selection of clippers, trimmersand scissors that are ideal for trimming around the paws and toes here. In frosty weather, paths and roads may be gritted with road salt which is very drying and abrasive to paws. Use a gentle wash to clean road salt away. This extra gentle formulation from Wildwash is our favourite.
When the weather is particularly bad, you and your dog may not fancy venturing too far. Instead, keep them occupied indoors by providing them with toys to keep them stimulated and active.
As colder weather may decrease the amount of exercise time outside, take note of your dog’s body condition and adjust their feed accordingly if they seem to be getting a little rounder.
TAKE CARE AROUND OTHERS
As the cold weather may prevent us from going too far with our dogs, we are more likely to use shorter walks frequented by other dog walkers. If this is the case, it’s best to keep your dog on a lead, even if your dog is friendly and has great recall. Other dogs may be less inclined to play or to say ‘hello’. Look out for leads or harnesses that may indicate that another person’s dog may be nervous or reactive. Of course, if both dogs look happy to greet each other, ask the owner if your dog can approach to explore and sniff each other. You may find your dog makes a new friend. As winter brings muddy paws, it’s also courteous to keep your dog on a lead in public areas to prevent them from jumping up at other people and covering them in muddy paws. Yikes!
BE EASILY SEEN
With the dark nights and mornings, make sure your dog is wearing bright, reflective clothing. Light up collars or tags can be great to spot your dog if they are off the lead and it’s dark or foggy. If you do take your dog off lead, make sure it’s only in a safe and enclosed space and that they have an excellent recall. Check that they always wear a collar with up to date contact details and that their microchip information is correct, should they get lost.
LAKES AND RIVERS
If your dog loves a splash in water, take care to let them near frozen bodies of water. It’s very difficult to tell how solid the ice might be and your dog might not be able to get out easily if they fall in to water. It’s not worth taking the risk.