Keeping our dogs happy during the winter might as well be the toughest job a pet parent can embark on. The chills of colder temperatures make it difficult to drag our very own selves out of blankets. It makes the thought of keeping others warm and happy almost burdensome.
In this guide, we'll explore five interesting and effective ways of keeping your dog happy and healthy during the winter months.
1. Provide them with balanced, nutritious meals
As mentioned earlier, the cold breezes might decrease your dog’s normal energy and vigor. It may cause your pup to become lazy, as most of their stored energy is being utilized in keeping them warm. To counter this effect of winter and to keep your dog healthier, it’s best to provide them with a balanced and nutritious meal.
Increase their feed at all meal times by 25 percent (after consulting with a licensed veterinarian) and ensure that your dog consumes the right amount of proteins, carbs, and fats. The ratio of proteins should be greater. Keep your pup well-hydrated as well. During winters, your dog may not realize it's thirsty at times. They may dehydrate themself to dangerous levels.
2. Provide them with a comfy and personalized space
To keep your pup healthy during winter, you'd be smart to keep them warm. The ideal body temperature for most dogs is about 38°C to 39°C. It’s best to maintain your dog’s temperature within this range.
You can keep them warm by providing them with a comfy place to sit and sleep in. If by chance your dog has their shelter outside the house (not something we personally recommend at Figo), ensure that you equip it with ample insulation and warming material. If the windows are netted, cover them with something opaque and solid. Straw or hay is infinitely better than blankets, which may become saturated in moisture and therefore make your pet even colder as a result.
Ideally, however, your dog resides inside your house. In that case, prepare a comfy corner with a dog bed and blanket. Ensure that your dog knows this is their place for sleeping and resting.
3. Prepare and plan for your outdoor trips
During winters, outdoor trips will be tough. There’ll be snow, rain at times, and lots of chills. Things could get slippery and out of control. That doesn’t mean you should deprive your furry pal of his outdoor fun time.
Instead, you’ll have to plan for trips more carefully. Opt for times when it’s not too windy or snowy. Check out the weather forecast beforehand. Before setting out on your trip, ensure that your dog is well clothed and well-fed. Tolerating lower body temperatures on an empty stomach can cause an extra burden on your pet's body. As for clothing, not all dogs appreciate sweaters and mufflers. But if yours does, you’re in luck - wrap your dog up!
4. Provide them with an indoor bathroom
If your dog doesn't like the snow at all, it's highly likely that it's going to mess with his or her desire to use the bathroom outside. If that's the case, especially if you have a smaller dog, you may want to consider arranging an indoor dog bathroom.
You can do so by designating a small, less-frequented corner of your house for this particular need. Lay down a grass turf mat to mimic the grass outside. Line it with a plastic wrap at the base to prevent any stains and leakages. Then, spray the area with a pheromone-based housebreaking spray. It mimics the smell of a dog's urine, thus encouraging them to use that particular spot only.
5. Arrange some company
Since your dog will mostly be indoors in the winter, he or she may get lonely at times. To keep them happy and healthy, you must arrange some company for them, especially if you’re going to be away. Consider setting up a playdate with another pup or perhaps a caretaker.
If you’re going to be away for long (i.e., for vacations), you should arrange a dog sitter because your dog will need affection, caretaking, outdoor trips, and all that necessary, everyday care. If you’ll be away for work only, you can consider a playdate or daycare instead. A canine companion of similar energy can play with your dog, and you’ll be able to pamper and shower them with attention once you return home. This is a great way to stave off dog depression that can appear during the chillier months.
Another great way to pay tribute to your dog this winter is with personalized gifts like pet portraits. In case you’re not familiar with the idea, pet portraits refer to paintings, sketches, graphics, or digital drawings made by artists. These pieces of art feature your dog. And since it’s a portrait, it’s only your dog in the frame.
We love portraits for their customization and value. Sure, your dog may not be able to cherish a portrait the same way humans do, but it will feel nurture the attachment between the two of you and is a fun activity to partake in when the days get cold and long.
Summing up, keeping your dog healthy during winters is easy with a few precautions. Keeping your dog happy requires a bit of attention and may demand your energy. Don't forget, winter can bring with it numerous health hazards and potential incidents. Frostbite, colds, and more are all too common. We always recommend you invest in pet insurance, even if it's not with us, in order to protect your pet - and your wallet - from unforeseen emergencies.
Xavier James is an experienced content writer and a certified marketing trainer with a passion for writing, designing, and anything tech-related.