Taking Care of Your Dog This Winter

As the colder weather sets in, it’s essential to continue providing proper care for your dog. But with snow, freezing temperatures and a general hibernation mindset, keeping your dog healthy and active can be challenging. Below, Landheim’s expert team provides tips to care for your dog this winter.

Keep your dog warm – but safe from heat sources.

Even though dogs have fur, they are at risk for frostbite and hypothermia. Keep your dog warm by limiting outside time. For dogs with sensitive paws, opt for boots or dry them immediately when coming inside from the snow. For smaller and older dogs, dog coats or jackets are ideal for keeping them warm. Ensure your pup stays away from heating vents and heat sources that could burn their skin.

Adjust your dog’s calorie intake.

Because dogs don’t run around as much during the winter, they don’t necessarily need the same amount of food. Unfortunately, the same food intake at a lower energy expenditure can mean weight gain for your dog, and weight gain can lead to joint pain and even canine heart disease! So if you’re worried that your pup might gain some weight this winter, ask their vet if you should adjust their food intake.  

Limit baths during cold weather.

Dry winter air means dry skin for your dog. Unfortunately, too many baths can dry your dog’s skin further! Dry skin can lead to itchiness, excessive scratching, scabbing and even hot spots. Keep your dog’s skin healthy by limiting baths during the winter, chances are that if they aren’t playing outside as much, they won’t need a bath anyway! Supplementing their diet with fish oil or coconut oil can help with skin and coat dryness.

Make everyday activities engaging!

Most dogs hate being cooped up and inactive. For example, when your dog doesn’t get their daily walk, they might become agitated, whiny or nippy. Fortunately, you can keep your dog active with mentally engaging activities. Make everyday activities interesting by feeding your dog with a slow or puzzle feeder. Here are some of our favorite engaging games you can play indoors with your dog:

  • Tug-of-war. There are many tug toys on the market good for playing tug with your dog. Knotted rope toys and many other toys with handles designed for that purpose. Be certain that you are the one that starts and stops the game of tug. You are the leader and you want your dog to recognize you are always in control instead of the dog demanding you play tug. 
  • Hide-and-seek. Teach your dog the “stay” command and their release command like “break”, so you can hide from them before you release them to search. Then start playing the game! 

Clean up. If your dog has a basket of toys, teach them to clean it up. Then, you’ll get two activities in one whenever you play with them.

Important Factors to Consider With your Dog and Cold Weather

In addition to the above tips, there are some critical factors about your dog to consider. While you should follow these general tips, some dogs may prefer cold weather, and others may need even more oversight this time of year. Here are three things to consider about your dog.

  • Age: Older dogs and younger puppies may react more severely to cold. Keep these dogs warm and pay extra attention during their outside time.
  • Breed: Centuries ago, humans bred specific dogs for cold winters. For example, Akitas, Malamutes, German Shepherds and the Great Pyrenees love snow and freezing temperatures. However, other breeds prefer to stay warm and dry at all times. 
  • Health: If your dog wasn’t the healthiest before winter, they might react worse to the cold than healthier pups. For example, dogs with skin conditions and thinning fur may be at greater risk for hypothermia and frostbite. 

Schedule Your Dog’s Training Today

Another great option for keeping your dog healthy and active this winter is trainingLandheim k9 offers extensive training services, from basic to advanced. Training keeps your dog mentally and physically active while providing invaluable skills that can be utilized no matter what the season. Contact the Landheim team today to learn more!

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