The cold winter months are here, depending upon where you live. Many people are pulling out their heavy sweaters and jackets and turning up the heat inside. But what sort of preparations are you making for your dog? Dogs suffer from some of the same woes of winter as humans, such as sensitivity to the cold and the elements, dry, itchy skin from the indoor heat, and achy joints caused by cold temperatures. However, they also suffer from some issues unique to their species.
If your dog usually spends a lot of time outside, you might consider keeping the dog inside during the winter months. Depending upon your dog’s fur coat and size, you might supplement with a doggie sweater or coat when they go outside. And a comfy nap by the fireplace to get the chill out is always good.
PetMD.com suggests that if your dog is still spending a lot of time outside, either working or playing, you need to make sure that his or her water does not freeze. In addition, because they use more energy to generate heat, dogs may benefit from a high-calorie diet. Dogs that are used to frequent outdoor trips and exercise may need to switch to a low-calorie diet. Talk with your vet about a winter-friendly diet that will be right for your pet.
Other issues to look out for outside include chemicals. As more people load up their cars with antifreeze, your pet may be more likely to encounter spills of it on the driveway or sidewalk. Unfortunately, this chemical tastes good to your dog, but it can be deadly. Keep your pooch away from these puddles and get to your vet if you think your dog has ingested any. You should also beware of the salty solutions many people use to melt ice on the sidewalks. These salts are harsh on your pooch’s paws, so make sure to wipe off its paws after a walk or outfit it in booties.
There are some other wintery considerations to make for your dog when it is indoors. The air in your home may become arid when you turn on the heat, causing Fido’s skin to become dry and itchy. To prevent this discomfort, bathe your pet regularly with oatmeal shampoo for dogs or another moisturizing pet shampoo. Giving an Omega-3-rich supplement may also help condition your dog’s skin and promote a healthy coat.
Jackie Roberts is a writer for 1-800-PetMeds. She enjoys writing about dog health and wellness related topics.