It's cold outside and while we're pulling on coats and adding extra layers to our beds, we need to be just as mindful of keeping our pets warm. A cold dog is not a happy dog!
Here are our top tips on keeping your pooch warm and dry this winter:
Invest in doggie coats
Some dog breeds are blessed with a thick coat that naturally keeps them warm during winter. However, smaller breeds and short-haired dogs can feel the cold in winter, and need an extra layer to keep them warm outdoors. A waterproof jacket is a great investment for walking them in unpredictable weather. Most dogs find polar fleece coats super-comfy and warm. A good-quality coat or jacket for your dog should fully cover their torso from the neck to the tail, yet not inhibit their mobility in any way.
Assess your dog's bedding
If your dog sleeps on tiles, concrete or uncarpeted floors, review your bedding options to ensure they remain warm at night. Provide a raised bed, tuck an extra wool blanket underneath them and give them extra blankets that they can snuggle into. Ensure that their bed is away from cold drafts – especially for very young and elderly dogs.
Some dog owners give their pooch a hot water bottle. Fill with hot water from the tap - not boiling water from the kettle - and make sure it's in a hot water bottle cover or wrapped in a towel or blanket.
Your dog may want to spend more time indoors
If your dog feels the cold, adjust the amount of time they spend outdoors. Put them outside during the day when the sun is out and the temperature is a little warmer, rather than early morning or late evening. A handy hint is to go out with them and when you're ready to come in, they will be too.
Do not leave pets outdoors for long periods of time without adequate shelter, to avoid the risk of hypothermia.
Protect them from burning themselves on fires and heaters
Dogs will often seek heat during winter and rest close - sometimes too close! - to heating sources. If you have a heat seeker that positions themselves too close to the fire or space heater, put a guard up. Regularly service gas heaters and appliances in the home to minimise the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Feed them regularly
We tend to eat a little more when it's cold to help keep warm and our pets are no different. Dogs who spend a lot of time outdoors during winter may need more food because they're using up more energy to keep warm. Quality foods, such as a super-premium food diet, will help ensure a healthy coat and good energy during the season.
Keep a close eye on their weight during the colder months.
Some dogs are less active during winter, preferring to spend more time sleeping indoors. These furry couch potatoes may require fewer calories to maintain a healthy weight.
Keep up a good grooming routine
Your dog needs a clean, well-maintained coat to stay properly insulated, especially if they spend time outdoors. After bathing, dry your dog thoroughly, inspect their skin to make sure it's in good condition, and give them a good brush.