It’s June again, and you know what that means: winter has officially arrived! While some parts of Australia certainly feel the freeze more than others, it’s important we all recognise that our dogs’ behaviour and routines are going to change.Here are four simple tips from our resident Petsperts on how you can make sure your pets stay happy, healthy and warm in winter.
It's Chow Time!
During winter, dog owners will often find their four-legged friends lazing around somewhere warm, snoozing away the day. As a result, we may assume that they won’t (or shouldn’t) be as hungry during the winter as they are in more active seasons.
In fact, the opposite is true! Dogs can actually need to eat more when it’s cold in order to maintain their core body temperature. We may think we’re doing them a favour by ignoring their doe-eyed requests for more food, but we could be making it harder for them to stay warm as a result.
If you notice your pup seems hungrier than usual, talk with your vet about how to satisfy their appetite without risking weight gain.
Bed Time, Best Time
Not all pet beds are made equal! While it may seem like your dog is satisfied with their summertime bed and an old blanket, it’s important to consider other options, especially if that’s where they’ll be spending most of the day and night.
For outdoor dogs, heated beds are a suitable option. For indoor dogs, a more comfortable and versatile option is a bed that molds to their shape, such as our Cuddle Bud and Snuggle Bud ranges. Their superior cushioning and lifted edges keep the animals protected from the cold floor and any draughts that may pass through the room. The designs were created with the Australian climate in mind, meaning they work to keep our puppies warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
Don’t forget, never use hot water bottles or electric blankets, as both can result in severe burns.
Groom, groom, groom!
As the tumbleweeds of dog hair you may have seen rolling down your hallway over the last couple of weeks remind us, the arrival of winter marks the arrival of the winter coat.
Grooming is essential to keep shedding to a minimum while maintaining healthy skin. That means routine brushing, as well as occasional baths with warm water, shampoo and conditioner. Be sure to keep a towel or two on hand to give your dog a good drying at the end. Not only will it keep skin infections away, but they won’t feel the need to shake themselves dry, covering the walls in water drops as a result!
While it’s important to keep an eye out for knots and mattered fur, particularly in long-haired pets, don’t go cut crazy! One study showed that even a one centimetre difference in an animal’s coat length could affect heat retention by up to 80%.
Let's Get Physical
There are few things better in winter than spending the night in front of a roaring fire, watching television with a hot drink in hand. However, anyone who’s ever tried on their summer clothes as the chilly season comes to a close, only to find they don’t fit quite as well as they used to, can tell you the season can quickly take a physical toll.
It’s important to stay active in winter, for us and our pets. That said, there are some additional considerations to keep in mind.
A simple first step is to shorten daily walks, watching for signs that your dog may be uncomfortable throughout. Signs may include shivering, a drooped tail, or even refusing to walk farther.
If you dress your pup in winter clothing, make sure they don’t overheat! A dog’s body temperature is generally a couple of degrees higher than ours, so if you feel yourself getting hot, it’s a good indication you need to stop.
Finally, if it’s particularly cold outside, why not consider some indoor activities? Your pet is bound to enjoy any kind of entertainment.
We hope these tips prove useful for keeping your dog warm this winter!