Vet’s corner: Some advice to keep your dog safe from the cold and rain.
It’s winter! The cold and wet weather of this season is a real challenge for the immune system – threatening our health as well as our companion animal’s health, despite their thick layer of fur!
For this reason, we’ve decided to put this little guide together, created by our team of veterinarians, that can help you in protecting your four-legged friend from the inconveniences brought on by the cold season.
The majority of dogs who love inside a house, will only go out when their mum or dad takes them for a walk. The sudden change in temperature, the transition from a warm environment to a cold environment, can have detrimental health effects, even though their bodies are covered with fur.
Which parts to cover?
Short hair dogs, puppies and old dogs should be covered with a winter jacket, especially if they easily get cold. Make sure that delicate areas with less fur, such as the belly, are covered when going from the heat into the cold.
Try to take walks during the warmest hours of the day. If this isn’t possible, ensure to keep them warm by covering them up. When you go out in the early morning or the late evening, make sure to make use of reflective accessories and flashing collars. Think of ways to make the walk more entertaining by introducing doggy barkour of picking new routes that will excite them because of new sights and smells. It’s cold for both of you, so make it rewarding, it’s important to keep them (and yourself) active.
If you’re lucky enough to take a walk in the snow with them, you should keep an eye on them and make sure they don’t eat the snow. Dogs will try to out of sheer excitement or try to quench their thirst this way, but it can cause gastrointestinal issues, not to forget that you don’t know what could be underneath the snow. Always carry some water and snacks with you. Once you’re back in the house, you should fully dry their coat with a towel and check their paws. The grit from the road and/or snow can cause irritation. Use a fatty moisturiser like petroleum jelly to keep their pads soft. Also make sure that collars, harnesses and leashes are taken care off so they don’t tear due to snow or rain damage, and last but not least, make sure you are visible and dressed for the weather.
The cold can enhance joint problems for dogs, just like it does for humans. We recommend taking extra care during the winter when you look after an older dog. Make sure they’re comfortable and warm and inquire about recommended chondro protectors at your veterinarian.
In case your dog lives outside or spends the majority of their days outside, it’s essential to take some precautionary steps to protect their health. They must have a shelter that protects them from the cold, wind, rain and snow. Their kennel should be placed above the ground, on a little platform for instance, and it has to be well insulated and lined with soft, warm blankets that retain some warmth inside. Make sure they’re entertained, exercised, well-fed and warm.
If your dog lives inside the house with you, make sure they don’t gain weight. The wet and abysmal weather might deter you from leaving the house, it might even deter your dog from wanting to, but it’s important to take them out regularly to keep them fit and healthy. You won’t have to feed more than usual, even though you might be tempted to ply them with more snacks. Just keep a normal rhythm. On the other hand, if your companion lives outside or spends the majority of their day outside, then you will have to increase the normal amount of food. We recommend an increase of 20% and opting for meat-based recipes rather than fish. A product like Holistic maintenance kibble with fresh beef would be a good option to keep them well fed and help them to maintain energy. Always provide plenty of water and don’t forget to check that the water bowl doesn’t freeze over.
Have you ever wondered about the terms we use, such as Holistic and HFC? Visit our quality page to find out more, and whilst you’re at is, also find out more about our unique company model, allowing us to use 100% of our profits for charity projects.