With winter just around the corner, it’s time to start preparing. And we’re not just talking about making preparations to ensure your two-legged family members are healthy and happy over the winter season. We’re also talking about making preparations for your beloved four-legged friend, your dog.
If you’re unsure how to prepare your dog for winter, this guide will point you in the right direction. Keep reading to discover our top 5 expert tips your pooch will be thankful you followed.
1. Invest in a Quality Dog Sweater
After an easy way to keep your dog snug and warm, even when it’s freezing out? Put a well-made dog sweater on them. Not only do dog sweaters look absolutely adorable on dogs, but they also help them to retain their body heat during chillier days and nights.
At Muttropolis, we have a variety of gorgeous dog sweaters both you and your dog are sure to love. We even have Christmas-themed ones to bring some festive cheer to your household! Some highlights from our Christmas sweater collection include the Santa Fair Isle Dog Sweater, Rudolph Reindeer Pom Pom Dog Sweater, and Christmas Elf Dog Sweater.
2. Be Extra Vigilant About Monitoring Their Health
While it’s vital to keep an eye on your dog’s health year-round, it’s a good idea to exercise extra vigilance during winter. After all, winter poses a number of additional health hazards for dogs, such as frostbite and hypothermia.
Even if it doesn’t get too cold where you live, the transition to cooler weather may nevertheless come as a surprise to your dog. So be sure to monitor any physical and behavior changes in them, and take them to the vet if you have any concerns. Needless to say, you don’t want to worry about being slapped with a sky-high bill if you need to take them. That’s why finding the right insurance company to sign up to should be a top priority as winter approaches.
The right pet insurance can help you to get a better handle on the cost of veterinary treatments, whether winter-related or otherwise. Pet insurance doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg, either. In fact, if you do your research, you’ll find plenty of affordable and reputable pet insurance plans to choose from.
3. Ensure They Get Plenty of Exercise
We usually associate winter weight gain with humans. However, dogs are just as likely to add a few pounds over the colder months. Why? Well, for the same reasons as we do! Dogs don’t usually get as much exercise in wintertime, and they’re also prone to eating more.
That’s why you need to be mindful to offer your dog plenty of opportunities to get their daily dose of exercise in wintertime. In addition to walking them regularly, why not try incorporating fun games into your daily exercise schedule?
For example, you can play some rounds of catch with a chew toy or introduce some interactive toys to your dog that will get their heart beating. In short, taking a proactive approach to exercising your dog will help ensure that winter weight gain is never an issue for your pooch.
4. Modify Their Diet Accordingly
“Should I feed my dog more during winter?” is a question many dog owners ponder. The answer in most cases is a big “NO!” As we touched on above, your dog will probably be less active during winter, so feeding them more than usual is a recipe for unwanted weight gain.
This means that you should try to resist the urge to give your dog too many food scraps. The occasional piece is fine, but just remember that you may not be the only one feeding them secret scraps! Plus, most festive season food isn’t healthy or suitable for your dog to eat, so it’s best not risking it.
Instead, focus on giving them an adequate amount of nutritious dog food for winter—not too much and not too little. Many experts also recommend giving your dog an extra boost of Omega 3 fatty acids during winter. Not only do fatty acids help to relieve achy joints that may become even more painful in the cold, but they also help to keep your dog’s skin from becoming dry and flaky.
5. Keep Them Hydrated
One final tip to prepare your dog for winter is to keep them hydrated. Some dog owners aren’t aware of the fact that dogs can become dehydrated even in winter. While it’s certainly more likely to happen in the warmer months, dehydration can affect dogs regardless of the season and temperature.
To prevent your dog from dehydrating, always ensure your dog has easy access to water. If your dog’s water bowl is outside, you’ll need to regularly check the water in it hasn’t frozen over when it’s particularly nippy. An easy solution is to simply place another dog bowl inside your house as well.
Jenny Jarvis is a frequent contributing author for Pet Life Today. She’s originally from Central Ohio but has lived all over the world with her family, including Texas, Florida and Germany, among other places. She’s taken her two fur babies (and human ones, too) with her along the way and currently calls Eastern PA home. Jenny has been writing on all things pets (mostly focused on dogs) since 2015 and hopes to continue honing her expertise for many years to come.