As the nights draw in and the temperatures drop, there are certain steps you can take to ensure your hound is happy and healthy this winter.
From keeping warm on winter walkies to snuggly indoor spaces for snoozing in while the snow falls, here are some tips for navigating the colder months.
This guide is part of our Canine Care collection, which features helpful advice on subjects ranging from how to toilet train your dog to becoming a foster carer, in partnership with our friends at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.
Staying safe on winter walkies
Nothing is more appealing to our four-legged friend than a walk around the local park, a turn on the beach or a stroll in the countryside. This applies in winter as much as at any other time of year, but to make things more comfortable for them, consider a coat – especially if they have fine or thin fur, like whippets or greyhounds. It will act as a barrier against the worst of the wet and cold while the doggo is enjoying some exercise.
Visibility is key on murky days or when walking on a winter’s evening, so a high-vis coat or reflective lead and collar might be a useful investment to ensure your pup is seen and safe.
While out and about, be aware of your surroundings and don’t let your dog near any frozen bodies of water, such as lakes and ponds. It’s impossible to tell how thin the ice is and it really isn’t worth the risk of your cherished pet falling through to the freezing water. Snowy conditions pose another hazard – we’d recommend keeping the pooch on their lead as it’s hard to tell what’s underneath that layer of beautiful white powder.
When you return home from your outdoor adventure, be sure to thoroughly dry your dog off to prevent them from getting a chill. Also, check for any road debris such as grit and salt that might have got caught between their toes and remove it.
Having fun indoors
When the weather is grim, there’s something very satisfying about staying warm and cosy indoors; we’re sure your furry friend would agree! If they don’t fancy heading out into the cold too often, then make their indoor environment as enriching and fun as possible.
Toys, treats and games will make those darker days fly by. Try hiding one of their favourite toys and encourage them to sniff it out in a game of hide and seek. You can’t go wrong with a chew toy or why not provide a snuffle mat with treats tucked away within it, which they have to forage for?
After all that excitement, a well-earned rest is in order. A cosy bed in a quiet spot away from any draughts is just the ticket for lazy afternoons. Fido can snuggle up and nap to his heart’s content. Let sleeping dogs lie while you enjoy a hot chocolate curled up on the sofa.
Looking after your senior dog in winter
While keeping your older pooch active through walks and outside play is good for their circulation and general fitness, avoid slippery surfaces such as icy pavements when out and about. And it’s more important than ever to keep them dry and warm – towel at the ready when you get home.
It’s also worth adding a cosy blanket to their bed to provide that extra layer of warmth when they fancy a snooze. Think of it in the same way as switching to a thicker winter duvet – it’s blissful!
Have a wonderful winter with your dog
With certain seasonal adjustments, there’s no reason why winter can’t be as enjoyable as the summer for your faithful friend. This guide provides some pointers on looking after your dog in winter and Battersea also has some handy tips on winter dog care.
Laura Bates, veterinary surgeon at Battersea, said: “As darker evenings and colder weather starts creeping in, it’s important that we do what we can for our pets to protect them against the chill this winter. Following Battersea’s useful tips, owners can ensure their dogs and cats are safe and happy during the colder months, from creating cosy hiding places with plenty of blankets for your pet to cuddle up with to checking their paws for snow, salt or grit. Most importantly, if your pet seems unwell as a result of the colder weather, seek veterinary advice.”
If the idea of a dog-friendly winter break appeals, then we have plenty of fabulous cottages to choose from – cosy interiors, enclosed gardens, and winter walks from the doorstep make for the perfect retreat this time of year. Paw through our full range by clicking the button below.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.