Taking great care of your dog during the wintertime may be a little more challenging than it is during the more temperate seasons of the year. There are fewer opportunities for fun expeditions, you’ve got to help your dog maintain a good level of activity and adequate nutrition, and you need to ensure that your dog stays warm and comfortable. Here are some tips on what you can do to help your dog stay strong and healthy during the coldest months of the year.
Give Your Dog High-Quality Food
Winter weather can mean a little less activity than your dog is accustomed to. Less exercise makes your dog’s nutrition and digestion even more important than usual. When your dogs can’t run around and play outdoors as much as they would like to, they may be more subject to stiffness and inflammation. Ensuring that your dog gets optimal levels of key minerals and nutrients can help to prevent pain or discomfort caused by inflammation. Being more sedentary could also lead to more digestive irregularity, which may in turn lead to an overpopulation of bacteria in your dog’s digestive tract. Food that’s specially formulated to provide good nutrition and promote optimal digestion such as Dr. Marty Nature's Blend will support your dog’s overall health all year long.
Don’t Leave Your Dog Outside for an Extended Period of Time
If you have a fenced in yard and your dog enjoys spending a lot of the day hanging out there, you have to be conscientious about the temperature. In general, dogs should not be left outdoor for more than fifteen minutes in freezing conditions. This particularly true for smaller dogs who simply don’t have a lot of body mass to keep them warm. Freezing temperatures could make a dog vulnerable to hypothermia, joint pain, anxiety, and overall discomfort. When you let your dog out into the yard, make note of the time and consider setting an alarm to remind yourself to let him or her back inside. Also, keep an eye and ear out in case your dog alerts you that he or she is ready to come back in.
Moderate Your Walk Times
If you usually take your dog for a walk instead of letting your dog out into a fenced in yard, you may need to shorten the amount of time that you go for a walk or the distance that you cover. However, this doesn’t mean that you should make walk time as short as possible. Your dog still enjoys getting to go out and go for a walk as a recreational activity even though it’s cold. Also, regular exercise is important to your dog’s overall health. Nevertheless, be attentive to your dog and be responsive to indications that he or she wants to head back home.
Dress for Winter Weather
Going out for a walk or heading out into the yard can feel a little more bearable with the right winter gear. Even dogs with thick coats can benefit from wearing an insulating jacket. Some outwear is particularly good for combatting the chills that wet or snowy winter weather can bring. When you’re going to walk along a sidewalk or the road, bear in mind that the ground and any accumulated snow or ice could feel uncomfortable on your dog's paws. Furthermore, the salt and ice melt that’s used to remove snow and ice from where people walk and drive could be particularly irritating and cause your dog to experience pain or cracking on the bottom of his or her feet. Some snug-fitting paw covers or booties can protect your dog’s feet from cold and irritation.
Try to get a tight fit but so not so tight that it will cut off your dog’s circulation. Some dogs take to paw covers very naturally while others may feel a little uncertain right after you put them on. Nonetheless, whether your dogs know it or not, they’ll be far more comfortable walking if their paws are warm and protected.
About the Author:
Mia Morales is a loving wife and mother of twins from Colorado. She is a self-described “DIY addict”, and loves to decorate her house and office with her creations. As a mother, Mia is really passionate about health, nutrition, and what she puts in her body. When she’s not writing, you can find her playing with her little dog and kids. Who says moms aren’t superheroes?