Winter is coming - and it is bringing plenty of cold, miserable weather along with it. It’s important to stay warm if you can, but make sure your dog isn’t left out in the cold.
Cold weather can have several negative effects on a dog’s health, both directly and indirectly. They can become inactive during the winter, which may lead to dangerous weight gain and it may also cause joint pain.
Thankfully, Nutravet has put together a collection of tips and tricks that you can use to keep your pet pooch healthy, happy and active even in the bitterest of cold weather. It’s important to note that winter will be more comfortable for certain breeds of dog - huskies, for example, will thrive in chilly conditions.
First of all, if your dog is tentative about going for a walk in the cold, you could wrap them up in a special doggy coat. Additionally, you should clean your dog’s paws after the walk, as grit, salt and ice can irritate them.
If your furry friend isn’t too keen on the idea of going outside in subzero temperatures, you can also play indoor games. Tug of war and hide and seek are two good examples of this.
You can also play fetch indoors - however, if you’re the owner of a large, rambunctious hound, this may be ill-advised. If you’re going to play fetch in your home, make sure there’s plenty of room and try to avoid hard wooden flooring, as dogs can slip on this and injure themselves.
If there is adequate space, you could also set up an indoor obstacle course for your dog. Not only will this keep them active, it will stimulate their brain, too.
Hydrotherapy/swimming classes are also an excellent way to keep your dog active in winter. Cold weather can be tough on a pup’s joints - swimming (in a heated pool, of course) will give them a fun, low impact way of staying fit and healthy.
Finally, if all else fails, you could also take your dog to a training class. This will keep them active and also gives them a great opportunity to socialise with other dogs - thus, keeping their mind active, also.
Korina Stephens from Nutravet said: “Just like us, our four-legged friends can feel the cold and not feel like going out for their usual walks. Despite the cold weather it’s still important to ensure they get the right amount of exercise to keep them happy and healthy.
“In the cold weather, joint stiffness can appear more prominent and regular exercise can help to keep joints mobile, as well as preventing any weight gain which can add pressure to joints. Keeping up with their exercise routine in winter months can ensure they remain active and entertained.”