How to keep your dog warm in the winter months

How to keep your dog warm in the winter months

We’ll do anything to keep toasty during the chilly months: hot chocolate, blankets, warming up by the fire – you name it! But what about our dogs – how do we keep them warm in the winter?

Just because dogs have fur coats, which act as a layer of warmth and protection, it doesn’t mean that they’re warm year-round.

It would be so much easier if they could tell us if they were cold, but since we can’t really interpret their woofs, here are some top tips to ensure your pooch is warm, snug and safe during the cold winter months:

How to keep your dog warm inside

Playing games
All dogs love playtime, so why not play fetch, tug-of-war or something else active? This will keep them warm and entertained, which is a win-win for us. As a bonus, you get some extra exercise in too!

Keeping them dry
As you'll know if you've ever tried drying clothes during winter months, they always take longer to dry when it's cold. The same thing applies to your dog's coat, so make sure to only bathe them when necessary and that they're thoroughly dry afterwards.

Consider the flooring
Something you may not realise is that height plays a part in keeping your dog warm. For example, short-legged dogs are nearer to the floor, which means they are exposed to the cold more than long-legged dogs. So, it may be best to avoid tiled or stone surfaces in the house.

Let their hair grow
Your dog's coat is what keeps them warm, it’s their own personal blanket. So don't be afraid to let it grow long during colder periods - plus it's a great excuse to spend longer grooming them! We’ve got lots of grooming products, such as shampoos and conditioners, to help keep your dog’s fur clean in these months!

Warm their food
Add some warm water or stock to your dog’s food to help keep them warm. Always make sure that it’s not too hot for your pooch and don’t be tempted to microwave your pet’s meal as it can cause more harm than good.

Remember: Avoid any stock that contains any ingredients like onion or garlic as these are toxic for your dog.


How to keep your dog warm outside

Wrap up for walks
Now, some breeds with lush coats, such as huskies and malamutes, can cope with cold weather more easily than breeds with little or no hair. A sweater, thermal or fleece-lined jacket is particularly important if your dog has a short coat, and opting for reflective clothing will help you keep track of adventurous tykes as the winter nights draw in.

Not all dogs will tolerate wearing a sweater or jacket, which is totally fine. If your dog prefers to be au natural, then it’s best to shorten your walks outside so that your dog doesn’t feel the cold too much. If they’re particularly energetic, then take more short walks.

Look after their paws
Another thing to take care of is your dog’s paws. Winter pavements tend to be covered in grit, salt, or even anti-freeze, so it is very important to maintain paw care. Your dog’s bare paws can become frostbitten, and snow on the ground can also disguise dangerous objects that can harm the paws.

After your dog returns from being outside, check their feet for cuts or abrasions. For long-haired breeds, maintain your dog’s paws by trimming excess hair from in between their toes. If your dog lets you, consider fitting them with booties to protect the feet.

If you notice cold weather is cracking and drying out the pads on your dog’s feet, check out the huge range of paw care products on our site for you to use and keep your dog comfortable!


How to keep your dog warm at night

A cosy and warm place to sleep
If your dog usually sleeps outdoors, you might want to bring them inside when frost (or worse) is forecast. A soft bed and a thick blanket will provide plenty of warmth for your dog during the winter. But, if your dog sleeps in a particularly cold part of the house, then look at getting a heated mat to keep in their bed. Wool is a particularly toasty material so even an old jumper will work wonders. Just be sure not to tuck your dog in to avoid them overheating.

If you’re feeling the colder weather too, why not let your dog sleep with you, or in a crate in your room so that you’re able to stay warm together?

Other important winter safety tips for your dog

Here are a few more ways to keep dogs warm and safe in winter:

Dogs can, and should, continue to exercise in the colder months. But remember to exercise gently for the first five minutes. Just like humans, dogs need to warm up their muscles, too. On particularly chilly days, consider exercising your pup indoors.

Beware of open fires both inside and outside your home. You should never leave your dog unattended around a fire and always ensure you use a safety screen to keep your pet as far away as possible, even when you are around.

Unfortunately, winter doesn’t mean your dog is safe from fleas and ticks; these pesky parasites can survive in colder temperatures, so be sure to treat your dog with a flea and tick preventive year-round.

By following all the tips discussed in this article, you can ensure that your pup will be cosy and snug all winter long. And don’t forget — cuddling your pup is a great way to stay warm and deepen your bond!

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