Dogs can’t escape the winter season. When the cold weather rolls in, they need special care to keep them hydrated, moisturized, and clean. In this article, we’re going to cover everything from natural dog paw balms to high-quality dog shampoo for itchy skin, covering nine winter care tips for taking optimal care of your best friend.
In addition, you’ll find everything you need to know about dealing with dermatitis brought on by dry weather, cracked or injured paws, and ways to keep your dog feeling content and warm all winter long.
Nine Ways to Care for Your Dog This Winter
1. Take Care of Their Paws
Paws are prone to cracking and injury due to ice and salted walkways in the winter months. If you live in a colder climate, consider applying a paw balm to their pads before going outside to keep them protected from the elements. Dog boots are another way to protect your dog’s paws, though some pups aren’t keen on walking in them, which is why balms work best. After walks, it’s essential to clean your dog’s paws thoroughly to remove any salt or ice that may have built up. Be sure to get in between their pads to make sure they’re immaculate. Follow up with a moisturizing balm to keep paw pads healthy in dry weather.
2. Keep Them Hydrated
During the winter, it’s important to keep your dog hydrated. Many folks don’t realize that our pets often need more water during winter than in other seasons because of the dry, cold air. According to the American Kennel Club, adult dogs need about one ounce of water per pound of body weight per day. Puppies need even more than that. This will increase in the winter, so be sure to give your dog an extra helping of water when they come in from outside. If you feed them kibble, try soaking it beforehand to make it more palatable and digestible while delivering that extra hydration they need.
3. Consider Adding a High-Quality Supplement to Their Diet
A high-quality supplement may be just what your dog needs during the winter months. If your dog is already taking a daily multivitamin, great! If not, you may want to look into adding one to their diet. What’s excellent about vitamins for dogs is that many come in a chewable form that they’ll think is a treat. It’s the perfect opportunity to boost your dog’s immune system and keep them healthy all winter long.
4. Keep Them Clean … But Not Too Clean!
Just like bathing for humans, keeping your dog clean can go a long way toward improving their health. However, you’ll also need to be mindful of the type of soap you’re using while they’re taking a bath. You don’t want to irritate their skin or worsen any dermatitis issues. Instead, look for an all-natural dog shampoo that’s safe for sensitive skin and contains ingredients like oatmeal, aloe vera, and olive oil. These ingredients will help soothe and moisturize your dog’s skin while they’re taking a bath. Also, be mindful that it’s best to only bathe your dog during the winter months when absolutely necessary, to avoid stripping the oils from their skin and coat that are vital to getting through winter comfortably.
5. Keep Them Active Indoors
Many dogs don’t get as much exercise in the winter as in the summer. This can lead to many problems like weight gain, lethargy, and even depression. Young dogs may also be more prone to mischief as a way to deal with cabin fever. Don’t let your dog fall victim to the winter blues. Keep your dog active indoors by playing simple games like fetch or hide-and-seek. There are plenty of interactive dog toys on the market that will keep them entertained for hours and which incorporate food as a reward, such as puzzle blankets.
6. Help Them Keep Their Body Temperature Regulated Indoors
During the winter, it’s important to keep your dog’s body temperature regulated. One way to do this is by providing them with a warm place to sleep. Dogs often like to curl up in small, enclosed spaces when they’re cold.
Instead, consider buying them a pet bed lined with a warm material like fleece or a comfy cushion or blanket they can sink into. This way, they can feel nice and cozy. Giving them a designated spot to sleep will also keep them from seeking out warm places like next to a fireplace or a wood-burning oven, which aren’t safe spots at all.
7. Keep Them Warm When They’re Outdoors
Even if it’s not particularly cold where you live, there are few things more uncomfortable than being outside when temperatures are low. Make sure your dog has a way to keep warm when they need to go outside. This might mean buying your dog a doggy jacket or sweater. Dog boots are another great option for keeping them comfortable, while salted sidewalks pose risks to their paws. Consider choosing paw-friendly boots that have rubber soles and reflector strips so that cars will see them while they’re out and about.
8. Make Adjustments to Their Diet if Necessary
It’s essential to feed your dog a high-quality, nutritious diet year-round, but this is especially important during the winter. Dogs are more active in the summer and, therefore, need more calories. However, they may not require as many calories in the winter because they’re spending more time indoors. If your dog seems to be putting on weight or losing energy, consider adjusting their diet. Speak with your vet about what changes you can make so that they’re getting the proper amount of nutrients and calories.
9. Consider Taking Advantage of a Dog Daycare Service
Winter is often a great time to get out and socialize with friends, but it does come at a cost for some people and their pets. For example, if you work long hours or have extra commitments for work like functions and dinners, you may not have time to give your dog all of their required exercise. Instead, look into a dog daycare service that offers plenty of indoor play. This will ensure that your dog stays safe and healthy while also giving them an appropriate amount of exercise for the day. It’s also an excellent way for dogs to get their own socialization during months when they might not have as much contact with their usual canine friends.
Stay Safe This Winter
This winter, make sure that your four-legged friend is as safe as they can be. By following these nine tips for taking care of your dog during the winter months, you’ll ensure a happy and healthy pet this season!