To everyone outside Australia, we don’t have winter. Us Aussies allegedly spend 365 days enjoying the sunshine and the beach. Not so! Winter can be a cold, miserable time for us humans who need to battle rainstorms, frosty mornings and even snow, and, if it’s tough for us, it’s certainly tough for your dog too!
Dogs don’t change during the seasons. We have pampered and bred them over thousands of years, and they are now far from their wild ancestors, and they need the same care and attention in winter as the summer months. Here are our top Street Paws tips to keep your four-legged friend happy and healthy during the winter months!
Regular Exercise Is Vital For Your Dog
When it’s cold outside and still dark in the mornings, taking the dog for a walk may be the last thing you want to do, and even your loyal furry friend may grumble at getting out of bed. However, regular exercise is vital for your dog’s health and mental wellbeing. If you can be flexible with walking times, maybe wait until late morning when the sun is out, and the weather is a degree or two warmer. Walks can be shorter, as you won’t want to take a leisurely stroll in when it’s pouring with rain, but ramp up the intensity with some ball throwing to get the heart rate up, their muscles moving and their body temp rising.
Street Paws Tip: Generally dog exercise is less in winter, invest in some indoor toys to keep your dog stimulated and prevent them from getting bored and tearing up the house.
Paw Protection Is A Must
Salt and grit which is used to clear roads can irritate your dog’s pads and get caught up in the fur between their toes. Check your dog’s paws and pads every couple of days and if they seem cracked or sore, avoid the cold walks for a day or two to prevent them from splitting and becoming infected. You can buy winter boots for dogs, and yes, they look super cute and a little odd, but they will protect your dog’s pads and prevent infection.
Street Paws Tip: After a winter walk, soak your dog’s paws in some warm water. The warm water will get the blood circulation going and rinse away irritating salt and grit. Dry them off with a towel and your dog will be ready to come inside without treading mud and debris through the house.
If You’re Cold, Your Dog Is Too
Dogs today have been bred all sorts of ways. Modern-day pooches can have a thinner coat, less body fat and a vastly different diet and metabolism. The general rule is. If you’re wrapping up in a winter coat and scarf, your dog probably needs some extra warmth too.
There are all sorts of fancy dog coats out there, from plain ones which match your own, to quirky fun ones to bring smiles and cuddles from passers-by.
Street Paws Tip: Wooly jumpers and sweatshirts are great for warmth, but if the weather is wet, you need to invest in a waterproof coat for your dog to avoid chills and sickness.
Outside Dogs Might Need To Come Inside In Winter
Lots of dogs live happily outside in a kennel which protects them from the elements, but winter can be a tough, miserable time for your dog to be outside and drafts can cause aches, pains and sickness, particularly in older dogs.
Street Paws Tip: Look for a room in the house where your dog can snuggle down away from drafts, wind and rain. The laundry, or kitchen with an extra blanket will keep your dog happy and warm in winter.
Don’t Increase Your Dog’s Food Intake
It might be tempting to add a little extra or fill your dog’s bowl with scraps on a cold day, but like us humans, a few extra KG’s can creep up in winter. It’s likely you, and your dog will be less active, so monitor your dog’s mealtimes and ensure they don’t end up overweight.
Street Paws Tip: Add a little coconut oil to your dog’s food a couple of times a week to encourage a glossy coat and moisturised skin, preventing dry, cracked skin and dandruff-like scales and flakes.
Join in one of the Street Paws Doggy events and meet like-minded dog lovers and share tips, tricks and products to improve the connection between you and your loyal friend!