If the end of 2018 was anything to go by, we could be in for some serious chills in the coming months. The ice and snow brought on by last year’s ‘Beast From the East’ was a wake-up call for a lot of dog owners who hadn’t thought about keeping their dog warm during Winter.
To ensure that the country’s pet parents are fully prepared the next time the mercury plummets, we’ve put this guide together so that your dog can stay happy and comfortable, even when the weather gets a little ruff. Here are seven top tips that will help your dog stay safe and warm during the winter months.
Know their breed
The first thing you need to think about when the weather gets colder is your dog’s breed and where they originated from. Some dogs relish the cold, while others prefer to spend snowy days curled up in front of the fire or under a blanket and this is mainly determined by the environment they’re ‘built’ to live in.
Often, you can tell whether or not a dog will be comfy in the cold simply by looking at them: the Huskies of Siberia, the Malamutes of the Alaskan tundra, the St Bernards of the Swiss Alps and other big fluffy beasts will be more than happy to spend their days bounding around in the snow. Because these breeds originated in cold climates, their thick double-layered coats ensure that they stay toasty in bleak weather conditions.
Dogs that originated from warmer climates tend to have much thinner coats and are often on the slimmer side. This means that they’ll need as much warmth as possible during the winter months. If you own a Chihuahua, Pharaoh Hound, Saluki or similar shorthaired breed, it’s best to keep them away from the cold as much as possible. This is especially the case if you have a hairless dog because these breeds really suffer in the cold.
Get them a coat
If your dog’s breed doesn’t deal well with the arrival of Jack Frost, a little doggy jacket could be just the ticket. A dog coat will keep them warm so that even a short-haired dog can go for a walk in the cold.
We should warn you that some pooches may not be thrilled with their new jackets at first, but if they love their walkies they’ll soon forget they have them on once distracted by all the smells, playmates and open space to enjoy. Calm, perseverance is key and they’ll hopefully get used to the coat in no time at all.
And choosing which coat to go for can be fun too. There are tons of great designs and materials out there. Check out our favourite doggy apparel in this article for an idea of some of the great designs that are out there. Or even turn to Instagram to see what the doggy influencers recommend.
Keep them inside
The lupine ancestors of your pet pooch may have relished being outside in the cold. However, after thousands of years of warm beds, dog treats and roofs over their heads, this isn’t necessarily the case anymore.
When it starts to get especially cold outside, bring them inside particularly if they are a breed meant to more mild climates. This is especially true at night. So if your dog loves to sleep outdoors in a kennel during the summer months, that should change in the winter. Of course, if you have a husky or a similar dog, they might enjoy spending their days outside in the snow, but even those fluffy fellas are likely to prefer spending their nights in a comfy bed indoors once the frost begins to hit.
Go on shorter walks, but keep them frequent
Short but frequent is the key to successful cold weather dog walking. If your dog enjoys taking you on a mini-marathon, we’d recommend curbing that once the weather gets cold. Going outside for very long periods when it’s chilly outside will make your dog cold too, leaving them (and you) susceptible to a variety of health issues.
Of course, the cold isn’t an excuse for you to slack on their exercise needs either. Frequent walks mean that you’re walking them just as much as before, just in shorter stints. Even if you might put on a bit of weight during the festive period, that doesn’t mean your dog should too!
Ice, ice baby
Be aware of ice and not just under your feet but your pooch’s paws too! We can forget that ice can cause problems for our pooches too. Despite their fur and claws, much like us, our dogs aren’t immune to the odd tumble – especially when jumping in or out of cars.
Old dogs, in particular, are most prone to falls and slips. As such, it’s important to avoid slippery patches when you’re out walking them in the cold or plan your routes with this in mind.
It should go without saying, but ice is particularly dangerous when it comes to frozen lakes. Keep your dogs away from these at all times. We’re not in Antarctica, so even if the ice looks thick, there’s no guarantee at all that it will support your dog’s weight.
Watch out for antifreeze
Unfortunately, at this time of year, antifreeze poisoning is an all-too-common occurrence affecting our pets. Make sure that any antifreeze products are kept well out of the way of your dogs. If you notice any amount of antifreeze – or similar chemical products – leaking from your car, clean it up as soon as possible. Better still, avoid using any antifreeze products on your windscreen and use a scraper to remove the ice instead. Even very small amounts can have serious consequences when it comes to your dog, so avoid anything that could cause even trace amounts of the chemicals being eaten by your dog.
If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for them
Ultimately, all of the advice we have given comes together in this statement. Unless you have a particularly hardy hound whose breed originated in the snow and ice, then you’ll be a pretty good benchmark as to what they can take. If you wouldn’t want to spend the day outside due to the cold, don’t put your dog through it either. And if you cover yourself in special outdoor garms, check if they need any cover too.
Now that you know how to keep your dog warm during the winter, it’s time to treat them to a hearty meal. While you’re tucking into that wintertime stew, why not have your pup try out one of our delightful Butternut meals? Build your box today!