You might think that your dog is better equipped to handle cold weather compared to you, but the reality is that dogs can get cold just as much as we do.
Some breeds are indeed fitted with specialised coats that make them fully capable of handling inclement weather, such as Siberian Huskies or Alaskan Malamutes. But the majority of the other breeds thrive in temperate climates, so they can feel just a little uncomfortable in the winter. Here are some tips on keeping your dog cosy even during the cold season.
How to Keep Your Dog Warm and Healthy During Winter
First of all, what is cold for a dog and what ambient temperature do dogs most appreciate? 2 degrees °C is when most dogs start feeling really uncomfortable.
The optimal temperature for most pets ranges between 18 and 22 degrees, although some dogs tend to prefer the the former, especially if they have a very generous coat. This temperature should ideally match the temperature what you set on your thermostat during winter.
As they age and become seniors, some dogs will start to prefer warmer environments simply because their bodies’ ability to regulate their temperature decreases. This is why some senior dogs love taking long hot baths (which are great for their achy joints, too).
Get your dog a pet sweater
Dogs usually give their owners less of a hard time when it comes to wearing pet clothes, as opposed to their feline counterparts.
So, if your dog is relatively calm and you also use positive reinforcement, you might easily convince them to wear a pet jacket or a sweater when you take them out for walks.
If the ground is cold, you can take it a step further and protect your pet’s paws by fitting them with little booties.
Plenty of exercise
Even if your mate is used to living indoors exclusively, they still need some amount of physical and mental stimulation. This is particularly important for breeds who are genetically designed for hunting or herding - two activities that call for a lot of energy.
So, even if the weather is chilly, you should take your dog out for walks or even a jog or two. Whenever you have some time on your hands, play with your pet for at least 30 minutes so that their metabolism is boosted and they become slightly warmer.
When it comes to dog toys, a good option is the Rufus Junior Chew Toy, mainly because it’s durable and it comes with a fun squeaker. If you tend to take your pet out for a play session at the park in the afternoon or at night, the Chase: Glow in the Dark Toy might be a better choice.
Make sure your dog has the right diet
As you probably know, most people tend to put on one or two kilos each time winter comes around. Our bodies are in tune with the weather, so they automatically try to protect us from the cold by ensuring that we have enough fat tissue that can act as an insulator against it.
The same happens with dogs. Your pet needs a better diet in the winter because their body has to be able to provide them with enough energy to regulate their temperature and perform other tasks.
But if your dog already has a tendency to put on weight easily, which can happen if they’re neutered or spayed, you may need to control what they eat. Our FLY: Treat Me Toy can come in handy as it combines having a fun game of fetch while giving your dog some treats for them to be able to better handle the cold.
The toy can hold anything from meaty bars to bully sticks, as well as the obvious smaller dog treats.
Use a heated blanket
If you know for sure that your dog tends to sit and sleep for hours on end when you’re away from home, a good way of making sure they remain warm and cosy would be for you to invest in a self-heating pad or an electric pet bed.
The first is usually a better option because it heats from your dog’s body, so it can keep your pet warm longer. The second can be fitted with a self-shutdown mechanism that can make it go off after one hour or two.
If you don’t want to get any of these products, you can fill up several glass bottles with hot water, cover them up in blankets or towels, and put them in your dog’s house.
The winter calls for a different type of care
Not only should you take your dog to the vet when winter comes around, but there are other aspects that you should ensure during each cold season.
Your dog’s nose and paws have a higher risk of suffering from frostbite, especially if your pet lives outdoors in the yard. So these are two body areas you should inspect on a regularly.
Although the weather is cold, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take care of your dog grooming-wise. They can still shed here and there, and they can always pick up parasites like fleas from the park or even from other people.
You can use a Self Cleaning Slicker Brush to give your dog a nice massage and remove excess fur at least once a week. And since giving your pet a bath in the winter isn’t exactly ideal, our Water Free Wash can come in handy – this dry shampoo works great on all types of coats and contains natural ingredients.
Sitting in the cold day in and day out can affect a dog’s health.
Dogs can get colds just like humans can, and while these infections are indeed produced by microorganisms like viruses, these germs are capable of affecting a pet’s health when their immune system isn’t at an optimum level.
And that’s exactly what the cold weather does. It makes your dog’s body put up with the abuse of winter to the point that it becomes vulnerable to disease, and it's up to you as a pet parent to ensure that your bestie doesn't succumb to any illnesses during this time.