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Keeping Dogs Happy & Healthy Through The Winter Months

We all know how cold it can get during the winter months, and we all know how important it is to wrap up warmly so we don't catch any nasty bugs that may be around. The same applies to our canine friends because they too need to be kept  warm when the weather is bad. They also need to be kept safe when they go out on some of those potentially more hazardous and icy winter walks.

Below are a few tips on how to keep your beloved pooch safe, warm and happy during the cold weather.

  • Think about letting your dog's winter coat grow through so they have their natural protection against the cold. However, if you have just got a puppy, or your dog is a short-haired older dog, think about buying them a winter coat – preferably a high visibility one that boasts a sensible design
  • Always keep your dog on a lead if the weather is really bad, especially if it's blowy or there's a heavy snow fall. When it snows heavily, it can prove quite disorientating for dogs because it affects their keen sense of smell – hence they may easily lose your scent and end up getting lost when out on a walk
  • It's a good idea to get your dog micro-chipped and they should definitely wear a ID tag – just in case they do get lost
  • After a walk, make sure you wipe your dogs feet, legs and stomach dry when they get back indoors especially if there's snow on the ground. The grit used on roads and pavements can prove very damaging to your pet's feet and body
  • Never leave your dog in the car when it is freezing cold – the same applies if the weather is too hot – both extremes are very bad for your pet
  • Never let your dog walk on any frozen water – this includes ponds, canals, rivers or lakes because the ice may not be thick enough to take their weight
  • If your dog does have the misfortune to fall through the ice, you should never go in after them, instead you need to encourage your pet to swim back to you
  • One thing that dogs find extremely tasty is antifreeze, however, this is highly toxic to our four legged friends so if you do spill any, make sure you clean it up immediately or you could end up poisoning your beloved pooch

Make Sure You & Your Dog Can be Seen

Road accidents involving pedestrians go up by around 20% during the winter time which means when you do go out for a walk with your dog, you need to make sure you and your pooch can be seen. Wearing high visibility clothing is a must with your dog wearing some sort of reflectors too. A high visibility collar or coat is a great idea or you might want to invest in some reflector strips. Below is a list of things you should consider when walking your dog on those dark winter evenings:

  • Try to take your dog for a walk where there are street lights and good pavements
  • Always carry a torch with you so you can see where you are going, it will help when you're picking up your dog's poo, and you can shine it so cars  see you should you need to. You may prefer to have a hands-free torch which attaches to your hat or head like that you have both hands free to hold onto your dog and to save yourself should you slip and fall on any ice
  • If you can, you should drive your dog to a safe place away from roads and busy traffic. Ideally this should be a park or maybe a sports field where dogs are allowed to be taken – you would need to check this out first though
  • Your dog needs to be well trained so they respond to voice commands when you call them. If there is a problem, you need to know they will come straight to you without causing any bother or stress

Letting Dogs Out in the Back Garden

If you live in the country it's easy to just let your dog out into the back garden and most people tend to do this last thing at night before going to bed. However, if it's been snowing, you may not have noticed if a fence has come down. If it has, there's nothing to stop your beloved pooch from escaping out of the garden so it's never a good idea to let them out unless you are absolutely sure the fencing is still secure.

The same applies to people living in towns and whose property boasts a back or front garden. A heavy snowfall may bring branches down which fall on fences and the result is a garden that's not 100% secure.  Dog owners are well advised to check fencing on a regular basis during the winter months and if any repairs are needed to get them done as soon as possible.

Conclusion

Making sure our beloved dogs are safe and warm during the winter months is of paramount importance. Reflective strips and high visibility clothing is a must for dog owners to stay safe when out on walks whether in towns or rural areas of the country. Winter time is great for dogs and they love playing in the snow, however, making sure they are wiped off thoroughly means any grit they may have picked up is rubbed off avoiding any injuries to delicate paws, legs and bodies!


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