Winter Care Tips For Your Four-Legged Friend

Don't be under the misconception that your dog's fur will protect them from the winter cold. As the chilly nights draw in, you must do all you can to protect pooch from the ravages of the season, as well as yourself and your family. As with their human companions, your dog can suffer from both frostbite and hypothermia during the winter, and both conditions can become life-threatening. So, to keep your dog happy and healthy this winter-time, follow our tips below. Your dog will surely thank you for it, as like you, he/she would much rather enjoy the comfort of a warm and cozy home during the season, rather than the icy conditions that exist at this time of the year.

Dress up your dog
Some dogs have thick coats, so while you will still need to adhere to some of the tips on this page, you won't need to dress them in winter thermals when the temperature is cold. However, should you own a dog with a thin coat of fur, you should dress them up in something sensible to protect them from the chill. Check out these winter dog coats as examples.

Limit time outdoors
The best times of day to walk your dog in the winter are either late morning or early afternoon. These are the hours when the temperature will be at its highest, and you might even get a little bit of sun. Try and avoid those other times of day when the temperature is at its lowest, such as very early morning and into the evening. However, in all cases, use your common sense. If the temperature is too cold for you to go outside, then it's probably too cold for your dog. And when you do go for a walk, don't prolong any exercise, as your dog is at risk of those winter health issues we mentioned at the beginning.

Sort out your dog's bedding
Your dog needs to be as snug as a bug in a rug, literally, as now is the time to add more dog blankets to your dog's bedding. Make sure you place their bed away from any cold spots in the house too and ensure they don't sleep on tiled and uncarpeted floors, as the cold flooring can be both uncomfortable and harmful to your dog.

Don't overfeed your dog
Your dog will be exercising less over the winter, so they will have less opportunity to burn off any calories. Speak to your vet for advice on your breed of dog, and then adjust their diet accordingly. And with Christmas around the corner, don't be tempted to let your dog indulge as much as you do. Treat them with food that is made especially for them, and avoid giving your dog any of those Christmas foods that are particularly bad for them.

Be careful in the snow
Your dog will love playing in the snow almost as much as you. However, dangers await. For starters, extended time in the white stuff could lead to frostbite on your dog's paws, so you need to limit time outside, and then paws for thought with the advice given here. You should also take time to clear your garden or yard of any sharp objects. In the event of a snowfall, your outdoor area could become a minefield of danger, so ensure there is nothing harmful outside that could be stepped on. And if you intend on removing any ice and snow around your property with deicer, don't use anything toxic. Look for pet-safe brands, or use sand and gravel as natural alternatives.

Ensure your dog is microchipped
In the event of a snow-blizzard, your dog may become lost when out on a walk. He/she may also go walkabout if your fencing is damaged by the wintry conditions. In both cases, your best course of action is to confine your dog's movements, such as keeping them on a leash when on a walk, or inside your home if the temperature is too cold to venture outside. However, mistakes can happen, and your dog can go walkabout for any number of reasons. Getting them microchipped is a must. Not only is it a legal requirement in the UK, but it also increases the chances of your dog being found.