The cold winter months can be difficult and uncomfortable for all of us, and that includes our dogs. While we can take care of ourselves and buy all the stuff we need to keep cozy, our dogs rely on us to go the extra mile and keep them comfortable and warm.
This is especially true for older dogs, as they find it much more difficult to adapt to the cold than dogs in their prime years. Older dogs have a harder time keeping themselves warm, and when you factor in age-related conditions such as arthritis, the colder months can be a very difficult period.
Luckily, you can prevent most of this discomfort and keep them warm until the nice spring weather finally arrives. Let’s take a look at some of the most important things you can do to help your dog stay warm and comfortable this winter.
How to Keep Your Dog Comfortable In Winter
Dress Them In Warm Dog Coats
Keeping your dog warm all throughout the winter is the key to keep them comfortable. If you have a shorthaired dog, it’s wise to invest in a dog coat to keep them warm, especially when going on walks. Dog coats are the best way of keeping a dog warm outdoors in winter, and they look pretty stylish too.
Even if your dog hasn’t worn coats until now, remember that they’re not just a fashion statement. They’re essential during the cold months and will allow them to live a longer and healthier life.
When buying a coat, which you can do in any pet shop or online, make sure that you get the right fit. It should fit snugly and completely cover your dog’s stomach, but not get in the way of their legs. This will help them keep their warmth completely to themselves.
Raise their bed at least 3 inches
Floors can get extremely cold in the winter, particularly ones without carpets. And when you put your dog’s bed on a cold floor, it will make sleeping that much harder for them.
What you can do is invest in a raised doggy bed to help them sleeping on cold surfaces. If that’s not possible, you can lay some old towels or blankets under the bed to raise it at least 3 inches off the floor.
If this doesn’t do the trick and you notice that your dog still feels cold, you might want to change their bed. The best dog bedding for cold weather is one that’s soft and plush to help protect their joints and bones.
However, make sure not to buy overly thick or plush beds, as your dog might find it hard to get in and out of them.
To keep your dog warm at night and improve their sleep all the more, consider buying a self-heating pet pad. It will reflect your dog’s heat back to them and quickly become their favourite thing to sleep with.
Your dog’s fur is the only layer between their sensitive skin and the cold temperatures outside. That’s why it’s extremely important to keep their fur in perfect condition all year round, but especially in winter.
While you want to avoid trimming or cutting your dog’s hair, you still need to brush them regularly. This will prevent any tangles from forming in your dog’s fur, allowing them to keep most of their warmth to themselves. In addition, matted fur is not so effective in repelling water.
Another very important thing most dog owners aren’t aware of is the dryness of the skin in the winter. The cold weather can easily dry out your dog’s skin, which can lead to irritation and itchiness. To help prevent this, moisturize their skin regularly with coconut oil.
Keep Them Moving And Engaged
Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean that your dog should be laying around at home all day. This can lead to stiff and painful joints, making them even more uncomfortable.
Regular exercise is also crucial for your dog’s cardiovascular system, mental health, and overall well being. Although long exposure to cold is not recommended, a few short walks during the day when there’s at least some sun outside are important to keep them active.
However, if the weather outside is too cold, or if your dog is too old and frail, consider doing some physical activity around the house. You can teach your dog some new tricks to get them moving and stimulated, or just play around with their favourite toys for a few minutes multiple times throughout the day.
Protect Their Paws
You wouldn’t go out for a walk barefoot in the winter, wouldn’t you?
Your dog’s paws get more sensitive as they get older, so getting some dog booties is very important for protecting dog paws in winter.
Dog booties will not only protect them from the cold ground, but they will also ensure that your dog doesn’t slip on wet surfaces, which can be common in older dogs. This way, you’ll be able to prevent any unnecessary injuries.
In addition, dog booties provide protection against rock salt, which is often spread over roads and pavements during winter. Rock salt can dry out your dog’s paws, leading to cracking and bleeding.
Add Glucosamine And Chondroitin To Their Diet
Ensuring that your dog gets high-quality dog food is essential, especially as they get older. And although most foods have a good source of vitamins and minerals, not many of them contain glucosamine and chondroitin.
These two ingredients improve your dog’s joint health by providing adequate lubrication, which will prevent their joints from getting stiff as the temperatures drop. Talk to your vet about changing your dog’s food and how and when to include some supplements.
If you still take your dog on regular walks, make sure to slightly increase their food consumption, as they require more energy to stay warm. But don’t increase their food if you keep them indoors, as this can lead to excess weight and put more pressure on their joints.