It’s that time of year again. The temperature is dropping, rainy days are multiplying, and the increasing winds are causing a frustrating rise in bad hair days. Yep, the cold weather is gradually starting to set in, which means one thing: winter is coming.
For humans, this time means cosying up on the couch with a warm blanket and a hot choccie. But how do we make sure our furry best friends don’t feel the winter chills? Well, luckily, there’s a number of simple steps every dog parent can take to make sure their furry pals stay healthy and warm this winter.
1. Fashion Can be Multi-Purpose
There’s really nothing cuter than seeing a pooch dressed to the nines in a cosy jumper or snazzy coat. Not only do these fashion statements look super sharp, they also provide an extra layer of warmth to protect your fluffy friend from the cold.
While many pups have a thick natural coat to keep them warm, they can still benefit from a winter dog coat. This is especially true when they’re outdoors exploring the backyard or going for walkies. For short-haired, older or thin breeds, doggie coats are an absolute winter necessity.
When shopping for a warm dog coat, be sure to check the coverage. The best winter coats for dogs will cover from your puppy’s neck to the base of their tail, as well as around their belly. Make sure you also get the right size to avoid restricting their movement.
But remember, just because it’s winter doesn’t mean your pooch can’t overheat! Keep an eye on your fluffy friend. If they start panting or heavily salivating, it’s time to ditch the coat.
2. Cosy Bedding Will Keep them Warm in Winter
We all love snuggling up in bed when the weather cools down. Our fur babies are no different. When temperatures drop, you may notice your pooch spending more time curled up in comfy spots. Alongside providing a warm dog bed for them to cosy into, there are a few easy adjustments that pet owners can make to keep their snoozing pups warm in the winter.
Keep your dog’s bed away from drafty areas, such as doors or windows that haven’t been weatherproofed. These spots could blow cold air onto your dog while they sleep, making it hard for them to stay warm.
You should also keep your pet’s bedding elevated off of any cold, hard surfaces. A chilly surface can really affect the warmth of your dog’s bed. Try raising their bedding off the floor and line it with blankets for an extra cosy snooze zone.
3. Protect them from the Cold Weather Outdoors
An ideal way to keep your dog warm in the winter is to keep them snuggled up inside with the rest of the family. However, this sometimes isn’t possible for every pooch. If your pup is primarily outdoors, it’s essential that you know how to keep dogs warm outside.
Appropriate shelter and outdoor pet bedding are both a must here. An insulated dog kennel will go a long way towards your pet’s comfort when the winter chill rears its head.
To really stave off the frosty weather, line their kennel flooring with soft outdoor bedding for dogs. Deck their kennel out with additional dry blankets and cushions that are regularly washed. And, of course, ensure that your dog’s kennel is in a spot protected from the worst of the outside weather.
4. Crank up the Heater
Whilst us dog parents may love the sight of our fur baby in an adorable jumper, some pups aren’t too keen on being dressed up. An alternative way to keep your dog warm indoors is to simply turn up the heat.
A good heating system is a winter necessity that both pups and people can benefit from. An effective heater will keep your home at a comfortable temperature, so that your pup can just relax the day away.
If you have a space heater you may need to invest in a heat protection screen. Some dogs have the tendency to lie very close to heat sources. Long periods in front of a heater can lead to dry skin, overheating and potential burns. A protection screen will keep your pup at a safe distance from the heater, allowing them to warm up safely while they snooze.
With winter fast approaching, be sure to book in a professional service for your heating system. This will keep your heater nice and healthy, so that you and your fluffy friend are sorted for the frosty months ahead.
5. Maintain a Good Winter Grooming Routine
During winter, it’s tempting to just let your dog’s fluff grow out to wild lengths. However, more fur might not be the answer for how to keep dogs warm in winter.
Most breeds will naturally develop a thicker coat over the colder season. If left to grow, their fur can become matted and dirty. Regular grooming is needed to prevent this, as well as to promote skin health and stimulate body heat circulation.
After bathing your pooch, ensure you give them a proper dry off before letting them venture back outside. Long, wet fur can drop a pup’s body temperature very fast, especially when combined with the frosty bite of winter.
6. Keep your Dog Moving
When the cold weather creeps in, it’s very tempting to just stay indoors draped in the comfort of a warm blanket. But it’s important to make sure your dog still gets plenty of healthy stimulation and exercise. Remember, bored pups are naughty pups!
Grab a ball or soft toy and take time daily to play with them indoors. You could even break out the treats and try to teach them a new trick! This will stimulate your pup’s brain and keep them working hard whilst staying warm inside.
Or, you can brave the cold! A good walk with their favourite human is the best form of exercise for your pooch. So, grab the lead, rug up, and head on out! Your dog will still have a great time despite the cold, and you’ll likely enjoy the exercise too.
7. Senior Dogs Need the Most Attention
If you have a senior dog you’ll need to take extra care during winter. Just like people, older dogs can struggle when it gets cold, as the weather can aggravate arthritis.
Keep your elderly pups active during winter with a regular, low impact walking schedule. Stick to even ground and only go out for 20 minutes at a time. A good winter exercise regime will encourage circulation and muscle development to help support your dog’s joints.
You should also:
- Provide a cosy rest area away from drafts
- Elevate their bedding off of cold, hard surfaces
- Monitor their behaviour for signs of arthritis related discomfort
- Book a vet check up if you notice any worrisome signs
Signs to look out for include general stiffness, difficulty walking up and down stairs, slow eating, licking or chewing particular joints, and any noticeable changes in their behaviour.