Winter walkies – Keeping warm in the New Year

Posted by Dr Dog. January 8th 2018.

There’s nothing like going for a walk in the winter with your dog. It’s important to prepare for the cold weather and ensure your dog is kept wrapped up and warm.

Winter dog - Labrador running through the snow

Here’s our guide on how to keep your dog warm on your winter walks.

Can dogs get colds?

Canine influenza is quite rare, and only a few cases have been identified in the UK. Just like us, dogs can catch various respiratory infections and the changes in temperature in winter can contribute.

Cold weather can make some dogs uncomfortable – just like it can us! Your dog may be reluctant to go outside if they are cold so may need extra protection, such as a coat.

Ensure your pet has a good quality balanced diet, which will keep them healthy. Protein-rich food can help prevent your dog from getting cold. This helps to keep their coats thick and healthy. Make sure you stick to lean proteins such as cooked chicken, fish and vegetables.

Invest in a winter dog coat

Dog coats aren’t just about your dog looking good. They’re actually essential for some breeds to keep warm in the winter. Small breeds or short-haired dogs don’t have long enough coats or enough body heat to naturally stay warm. Puppies and older dogs can also find it hard to control their body heat.

Whether it’s a waterproof dog coat, or a cosy jumper, it’s sure to help keep your dog warm. Why not have a few coats on hand so you can alternate between them for walks. The PetFace Medium Op Coat offers excellent showerproof qualities whilst keeping your pet insulated against the elements.

To work out what size coat your dog will need, measure them from the base of their neck to the base of their tail.

Get your dog some ‘dog booties’

A dog can lose much heat through the soles of their paws. Dog booties can help to reduce a number of the potential risks for your dog. They protect a dog’s paws from the cold and any other sharp objects, and gives them better grip in the snow.

Make sure you give your dog time to adjust to their booties if it’s their first time wearing them. If your dog shows any signs of upset wearing the booties, you should take them off immediately.

If your dog is unable to wear booties, make sure to wipe their paws after every walk. This helps to protect them from snow, ice or salt build up, and any toxic chemicals such as anti-freeze and de-icers. Anti-freeze and de-icers can be poisonous for your dog.

You should check your dog’s pads regularly for any injuries as ice and snow can cause painful cracks and bleeding. Trimming the hair between their toes can also help to prevent ice build-up.

Limit time outdoors

There’s only so much time you can spend outside before succumbing to the warmth of a home. Dogs feel the same. A dog’s body can lose heat very quickly. Even the thickest fur coat can’t protect all body parts of your dog.

Keep your dog groomed

You should keep your dog’s coats longer in winter as it’s a natural protection against the cold. Brush your dog’s coat regularly too. Matted hair cannot insulate your dog as well, and is less efficient at keeping out snow and rain.

Watch your dog for any signs of discomfort

Keep an eye on your dog throughout your walk for any signs they might be cold. Exposed areas such as tails and the tips of their ears can be particularly susceptible to the cold. You should check them to see if they look or feel cold as they may have frostbite.

Frostbite can occur when a dog is exposed to extremely cold temperatures for long periods of time. The symptoms can vary depending on your dog’s size, age and thickness of fur.

If your dog is shaking or starts to shiver, it’s a sign your dog is too cold and needs to go home. You should immediately cover them with a blanket and rub them to get circulation and warmth into their body.

Should your dog become unwell in the winter months, make sure they’re covered with pet insurance. Visit www.argospetinsurance.co.uk to find out more information about our policies and for advice on looking after your pet. To view our pet products visit www.argos.co.uk

Argos Limited is an Appointed Representative of Home Retail Group Insurance Services Limited which is authorised and regulated as an insurance intermediary by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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