With the bitter sting of winter well upon us, it’s important to consider our four-legged friends at the moment. From rain, sleet and snow to icy winds and sub-zero temperatures, our pets are particularly at risk during this season if they spend a lot of time outdoors. To protect your dog this winter, consider the following advice:
Provide adequate shelter for your dog
Your dog should be kept inside with you during the winter months, even if they prefer to roam outside during the warmer seasons. Naturally, dogs love the outdoors, and there’s nothing more pleasing to see your pet living their best life on a long woodland walk – but they should be kept inside for the rest of the day during the winter. You should never leave your dog outside overnight when the temperature drops.
If your dog prefers to be outdoors during the day, you might want to consider purchasing a heated outdoor shelter. It’s also worth pointing out that when dogs spend a lot of time outdoors, they will need more food. This is because keeping warm outdoors in the winter depletes a lot of energy.
Be wary of your winter environment
During the winter, we often make use of various substances to protect our vehicles, homes, gardens and driveways. Take antifreeze for example – it’s incredibly useful for ensuring our vehicles aren’t frozen during bitter winter mornings, but it’s incredibly toxic to dogs (and humans, too). If you regularly use antifreeze to defrost your windscreen, ensure it is stored correctly with the cap tightly screwed on so that your dog cannot accidentally access it (in a kitchen or utility room, for example).
Grit salt used to prevent ice on driveways and footpaths can also be harmful to dogs. Some dogs will lick the de-icing salt from the pavement that collects on their paws after a winter walk – so it’s important to pay attention and perhaps clean your pet’s paws with a warm damp towel after a trip outside.
Get adequate dog insurance
Winter is the most difficult time of year for dogs, and each year veterinarians will see an increase in pets that require attention due to exposure to the elements. To ensure your dog is adequately covered, you might want to consider taking out dog insurance. Companies like Petsure offer tailored cover that will work for you and your pet – not just in the winter, but all year round.
Use a pet overcoat
Wind chills can be particularly nasty for dogs. Exposed skin on the ears, nose and paws are particularly susceptible to frostbite during cold spells. If it’s particularly windy, try to avoid being outdoors with your pet for a prolonged time. Hypothermia is also an issue for dogs at this time of year – so consider wrapping your pet up warm in a doggy overcoat or sweater, even for short walks.