Just like you take out your sweaters, blankets and fuzzy socks and get that extra cup of tea to keep you warm; you must do the same for your pup. Well, not the same but do the following.
What Should Your Dog Eat During The Cold Months?
Dogs use energy to keep themselves warm during winter. Which is why a hike by 10% in their calorie intake is usually recommended. However, they are also lazy and tone down their usual excited energy. So, you will have to adjust his calories accordingly.
A high quality, raw meat or whole foods based diet will grant a healthier coat and boosted energy. You can add red meat and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to their diet. Warm chicken soup or vegetable soup will also be a great addition to their meals for keeping them warm. Adding a pinch of Haldi or Turmeric in their food will help immunity.
You must be aware of the water temperature. Drinking water can turn quite cool, especially in stainless steel bowls. Replace it often with room temperature water.
What About Exercise?
Don’t let the lazy weather turn your dog into a couch potato. You mustn’t miss your outdoor walks. Daily exercise will keep his blood flow and keep his metabolism in check.
Try early afternoon or evening walks, when the temperature is even. Fun Indoor games also sound cool!
Is Grooming My Dog Important?
Extremely. Some people say that you can let the fur grow long in these months as it will help keep your pup warm. The problem with this is that longer hair will also lead to greater mats. Mats and tangles block the distribution of the oils that naturally occur in the skin. These oils are essential to condition and vitalize the skin and coat. Mats in dog's fur will cause dry skin, dull coats, or even infections.
You’ll have to be more frequent with brushing and after a time it will become a rather difficult task. This is especially true for furry breeds like Shih Tzu, Cocker Spaniel, etc.
Just like humans, even our pets' skin gets dry, chafed, and scaly in winter. It can cause itchiness, and he’ll be left scratching all the time. This can cause skin breakage. You must use a moisturizing conditioner while bathing him. You can give him Coconut oil massages to rejuvenate his coat and give it a glossy finish.
Ensure that he is completely dried after baths. Being cold and damp is a bad combination. You can also opt for dry shampoos, or pet wipes. Or let a groomer handle it with professional equipment.
How To Protect My Dog's Paws In Winter?
It doesn’t matter if you have a furry dog or a short-haired breed. This is universal for all dogs. Dog paws get cold, dry and cracked in winter. Especially, in Indian households, where marble/tile flooring exist. This means not only outdoor concrete roads give them cold feet but floors too.
Dry and chapped paws lead to irritation and excessive licking, which in turn gives way to other problems. You must massage your dog’s paws with Zoof Wax to soothe, nourish and heal worn, cracked, dry or damaged paw pads. It is made of shea butter, enriched with Vitamin E and lemongrass essential oils. Completely lick-safe.
Pro-tip: Dog’s ears and nose are also sensitive. So, you can apply snout butter to keep them safe.
Apart from applying paw balm, you should get them outdoor shoes. This will make sure that their feet are protected at all times. Check out Zoof Boots and Zoof Casuals - our outdoor shoes for dogs which will keep your puppy's paws safe in every weather.
How Do I Keep My Dog Warm?
He can’t be a lap dog all the time and the granite/marble flooring is too cold for him to relax. Create a comfortable spot with comfy bedding and extra blankets. You can also tuck a warm water bottle underneath the blanket in the night to make it warmer.
If your furry kid always likes to be in the same room as you, you can invest in a pet mat or just place some carpets. They are easily movable and will act as an insulating layer over chilly floors.
What About Dog Winter Clothing?
This depends on how low the temperatures go and your dog’s breed. Typically, winters aren’t harsh in India unless you stay in the extreme north. Naturally, most dog breeds found here are also suitable for tropical and hot, humid climates experienced by most of India.
Puppies and breeds with short hair like Beagle, Chihuahua, Pug, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinscher, etc. might be discomforted in temperatures below 15°c. Shih Tzu, German Shepherd, Saint Bernard, Siberian Husky are cold bred animals and will adapt to the cold weather better.
If you think it is getting too cold, you can get warm clothes for him. There are tons of designs and brands available. Check out our clothing recommendations here. Remember to take them off when it is warmer so no overheating occurs.
Caring For Senior Dogs In Winter
If you have a senior dog, you’ll have to be extra careful. Winter is hard on their bones and can aggravate existing medical conditions. Especially true for dogs with arthritis or hip dysplasia.
You must include a natural joint supplement in their diet. This will help grease the joints and soothe the discomfort of arthritis. Besides, you must get them an orthopedic bed, if you haven’t already. It will provide them with a designated place to relax their joints.
We’ve already talked about the impact of cold weather on Indian flooring and the problems it causes in dogs. Winters make tiles/marble flooring even more slippery. This is especially a topic of concern for dogs with Hip Dysplasia and Arthritis. Slipping will hurt their bones and intensify the condition. You should try Zoof Grips, our Indoor shoes for dogs. These will provide him with the required traction and help him maintain balance.