As humans, we often switch up our care regime during winter months, noting that our mental and physical requirements change with the seasons. So, it’s no surprise that our beloved pet’s requirements change too! The cold winter months can pose certain challenges for dogs in particular, from moulting to cracked paws. In this guide, we offer some of our top tips on how to take care of your dog during winter.
Wrap up warm for walks
The warmth, safety and comfort of your living room during winter months can make it hard to face going outside and braving the cold. But your dog needs regular exercise. When venturing out for walkies, it is important to make sure that your dog is wrapped up warm and isn’t exposed to the cold for too long. If you have a long haired dog or a dog with a thick winter coat, such as a husky, then chances are that they will be fine braving the winter chill. However for smaller dogs or dogs with less fur, it could be a good idea to ensure that your dog is wearing a coat when you go outside, if they have one.
Remember: Dry off your dog after a wet or muddy walk and make sure that they have a warm and cosy bed to snuggle up in afterwards. Drying your pet off properly will help to ensure that their skin is dry and doesn’t become irritated or flaky due to the rapid change in weather.
Apply a balm to paw pads
Apply a thin even layer of balm to paw pads just before going out for a wintery walk. After the walk wipe your dog's paws with a warm washcloth or try a paw plunger to remove any dirt, salt, snow or ice. Then apply another layer of balm/cream to soothe any irritation and to keep them from drying out.
It is best to treat cracked paws as soon as you notice them in order to prevent irritation and pain further down the line. If your dog is limping or is withdrawing their paws when near, this could be a sign of cracked paws.
Check between their toes
Ensure that your dog’s paws are thoroughly dried and cleaned after they've been outside to prevent snow compacting between your dog’s toes. This can be a particular problem for long-haired dogs, if snow manages to hide between the toes, as this then turn into ice balls which can be very painful for your pet. It is a good idea to try to keep your pet’s hair trimmed if they have long hair, to prevent snow or ice build-up.
You should also be sure to check for any salt and grit lodged between their toes, which can be picked up from walks on roads and pavements. This can cause irritation for your pet if left over a period of time. The best time to clean your pet’s paws is as soon as you return from your walk.
Make them visible
Wintry weather often means reduced visibility. If you're letting your dog off the lead whilst on a walk, make sure that they are visible (using a high vis dog coat or attaching a light to their collar) and have good recall, so even if all you see is a flashing colour on the other side of the park at least you know they’re not lost…yet. It is also good practice to make sure that their microchip details are up to date with your correct contact information.
Keep them active indoors
Sometimes dogs simply just don’t want to go out in the cold. If it is too cold for you, then it could be too cold for your dog. Even though exercise is important, it is vital that you do not force them to go outside if they appear reluctant. You can provide your four-legged friend with toys and games to keep them exercised and entertained while indoors.
Adjust their diet accordingly
If you find that your dog is less active in the winter months, be sure to adjust their diet accordingly. If your pet is less active, avoid weight gain by lowering the amount of food that you give them.
Brushing your pet regularly helps to get rid of dead hair, especially if your pet tends to moult during winter months. However, brushing also helps to stimulate blood circulation, which can help to improve the skin’s overall condition. Our YuDERM Moulting Dog coat and skin supplement uses Omega 3 and 6 oils to help your dog maintain healthy skin and a luscious coat. These natural oils help reduce moulting, aid dry and flaky skin and support coat condition.
How supplements for dogs can help during winter
Exercising is a great way to prevent your dog’s joints from becoming stiff. If you think that your dog may be experiencing joint stiffness, then light exercise can help. Taking your dog for short walks, two to three times a day can help to alleviate any pain and get their joints back in motion.
Another solution is introducing joint supplements, such as YuMOVE, into their diet. YuMOVE helps to keep your pet running, jumping, playing and moving comfortably for as long as possible! This can be added into their usual meals or even given as a treat
For more information on YuMOVE products and how they can help your dog maintain a healthy and active lifestyle, visit our products page.