How to take care of your dog during the winter?

How to take care of a dog in winter?
Photo by Benjamin Lehman on

How to take care of your dog during the winter? The end of the year is approaching and with it comes the winter season. As in humans, dogs also suffer from the cold of winter. In this article we share some tips to keep your best friend safe and healthy during this season.

The importance of caring for your dog during the winter 

Some dogs tolerate climate change very well, however, others can become more sensitive to low temperatures. Especially in the case of sick dogs, dogs with little fur, puppies and dogs of geriatric age. All of them require special care to prevent their condition from worsening. 

Is your dog cold?  How to care of your dog during the winter?

As we have described before, many dogs adapt easily to the arrival of the cold, but we must pay
due attention to those that do not. You should constantly observe his behavior, especially when he is outdoors. If you notice that your dog trembles too much or stops playing or complains,
it is time to set up a space inside the house and prepare it very well
so that it is protected from the extreme cold. Regardless of the condition, breed and age of your dog,
below we share 6 basic tips so that your pet is comfortable and above all healthy during this season. 

1.- Wrap it up well , care of your dog during the winter

Some dog breeds are fortunate to have thick fur that keeps them naturally warm, even in extreme temperatures. Now let’s think about dogs with little hair. These require warm pet clothing such as sweaters to protect them when they go out for a walk at this time of year. It should be noted that if the temperature is very low (5 degrees or less) a simple coat will not protect its ears, legs and tail, so in these conditions it is better not to let your dog spend a lot of time outdoors. And much less in the early mornings, which is when the temperature drops below zero degrees, in the highlands.  

2.- Protect him while he sleeps

In addition to limiting time outdoors on cold days, if your dog lives indoors, do not allow him to sleep on the floor. Put a special bed for him or a warm blanket (putting some cardboard under it also helps a lot), this will help your dog maintain a good temperature. Make sure your friend’s resting place is away from drafts or moisture. If your dog lives outside, we recommend that you buy a wooden house with a raised floor to prevent it from being in direct contact with the concrete or to prevent water from entering. Obviously, a warm blanket will have to be placed on the floor of the house.   

3.- Food care of your dog during the winter

Just like humans, pets require more energy trying to stay warm during the winter; however,
dogs that live indoors, not being exposed to the cold for as long
, do not necessarily require a higher calorie intake. Dogs that stay outside suffer more from inclement weather, so they require extra nutrients to stay strong in these conditions. It is important that, in both cases,
you consult a veterinarian so that they can indicate the nutritional requirement according to the characteristics of your pet.
 Make sure he drinks plenty of water so that your friend’s skin is well hydrated and
doesn’t suffer from dryness, which is a common problem during the winter season.   

4.- Care (bath and brushing)

Your dog’s coat is the main natural protection barrier, so it is necessary to keep it in good condition,
the best thing you can do is brush it regularly, to untangle it and remove loose hair. As for cleaning, bathe your dog as little as possible during cold periods. You can also choose to bathe it with a dry shampoo. If you must bathe him completely,
use slightly hot water, you must dry him completely, (it can be with the help of a dryer).

5.- Do not cut his hair

In cold weather, do not cut his fur too short. Longer hair gives you more warmth. In the case of short-haired dogs, it is advisable to keep them warm, with a turtleneck sweater that protects them to the base of the tail. Obviously in the case of males, there are sweaters designed so that the dog can relieve himself.

6.- Review with the Veterinarian

It is recommended that you take your dog to the vet every six months. In the case of a puppy, an elderly dog ​​or a dog with some ailment, the best thing is that in this winter season you take it for an assessment so you can check its health status. For puppies, make sure they are up to date on their vaccinations. 

Finally, remember that not only we suffer from climate change, they too. Our pets are part of our family, so we need to make sure they are living in comfortable conditions. A dog that lives outside at this time of year is more likely to develop illnesses and behavioral problems. In the cold they don’t have a good time, don’t forget them!

Along with winter comes the cold and, therefore, the need to carry out certain special care to help our best friend withstand the change in temperature. Although a priori it may not seem that the dog needs extra care at this time of year, the truth is that it will require some adjustments in its diet or in the care of its coat, for example.

In this AnimalWised article we will detail how to care for a dog in winter , taking into account different aspects of its daily routine and the needs that this time of year requires. Don’t miss out, find out everything you need to know about winter and dogs below!

Why is it important to take care of a dog when it’s cold?

There are some dogs that, due to their physical condition or special needs, are much more vulnerable to cold , we refer for example to puppies, elderly dogs, hairless dogs , sick animals… All of them will need extra care with the arrival of cold. In addition, these dogs that we have mentioned could suffer from the aggravation of arthritis or be susceptible to various viral diseases , common at this time of year, such as the flu or kennel cough . In any case, and regardless of your dog’s age or condition, following these basic tips will help keep him much healthier and happier. Take note!

Feeding a Dog in winter , care of your dog during the winter

It is common to observe that, in winter, people opt for the choice of more caloric dishes with the intention of “fighting the cold” and thus increasing their energy reserves. This belief has also spread to dogs and an increasing number of people believe that they should be fed more during the winter.

Since there are no studies in dogs, we have analyzed some studies in people and although it is true that exposure to cold leads to a greater consumption of calories, it is also true that in winter fewer calories are burned. fats. So should a dog be fed more in winter?

The truth is that most dogs live indoors , therefore, as they are not exposed to cold they do not need a higher calorie intake . Neither do those who exercise. On the contrary, dogs that live outside and suffer from inclement weather and low temperatures will need an extra supply of nutrients. In the latter case, the advice of a veterinarian may be interesting, since depending on the ambient temperature, the animal may require one amount or another of extra calories.

Is it necessary to shelter a dog in winter?

Not all dogs adapt to the different season changes in the same way. Nordic dogs and Swiss Cattle Dogs, such as the Alaskan Malamute or the Greater Swiss Cattle Dog, have no problem resisting low temperatures, while some primitive type dogs, such as the Peruvian Hairless Dog, or sighthounds, like the whippet, they can take a lot of toll when spending hours outside, as they get overwhelmed easily.

But how do you know if a dog is cold? We can usually tell if we watch the dog tremble . It is common in small breeds or in short-haired or hairless dogs. In these cases, it is recommended to keep a dog warm, either with the use of a sweater or a dog coat.

It may also be convenient to use a raincoat when it rains to prevent the dog from getting wet and cold. In the market we find a great variety of raincoats, increasingly comfortable and easy to use, but, if it is not possible for us to acquire one, it is always recommended to dry the dog well when you get home, either with the use of towels or a dryer. For the latter case, we recommend you consult this other article: ” How to get a dog used to the dryer? “.

Finally, to finish with the protection of the body, we recommend the use of dog boots when we go to the snow . This is because, in contact with intense and prolonged cold, the dog’s pads can burn. In this other post, we also explain how to take a dog to the snow .

How to bath a dog in winter?

The coat is the most important protection barrier against the cold that dogs have, for that reason it is very important to keep it in good condition. Ideally, we carry out regular brushing to remove dead hair and avoid creating knots and tangles. Brushing is also important when the dog visits the snow, since then frost can form that could end up damaging its dermis if it is not removed.

As for the bath, to prevent the dog from catching cold, you can bet on a dry cleaning shampoo ,
although if you bathe the dog completely, it should be done with slightly hot water and
finishing the process with an exhaustive drying, which includes the legs and the use of a dryer.

The steps to follow will be the same as those applied to bathing your dog at home at
any other time of the year. In winter, the only thing that should be modified is,
as we have mentioned, the temperature of the water to prevent the dog from being cold.

Veterinary check-ups

Generally, it is recommended to visit the veterinarian every 6 months
 (except in working dogs) to ensure that their health is good and that they do not show any possible pathology. 
Especially if you have an elderly or sick dog,
It can be interesting to make a routine visit at this time of year.

Apart from the visits, you must continue with the vaccination schedule and
with the internal and external deworming of the dog, to avoid the spread of any disease or parasite. Likewise, we recommend that you check your body in a general way every day, paying special attention to the pads.

Other care of your dog during the winter

If your dog lives indoors, it will be essential to ensure a soft bed and provide
some type of blanket so that it retains heat more easily at night. If he is cold, he can cover himself to sleep. However, by staying in a temperate environment, it will not need excessive care.

On the other hand, if your dog lives outside , he will need a comfortable doghouse
(never made of plastic, we will bet better on robust wooden houses),
insulated, that is not directly in contact with the ground and
that also has a mattress and blankets to keep warm. It is very important to properly check the shed to make sure
it is completely insulated and that it does not have any leaks or holes. Finally,
we recommend that you check the water frequently, since it sometimes freezes and,
if it is very cold, let the dog pass inside the home.

To finish this article we want to remember that dogs that live abroad, away from their family,
are more likely to develop behavioral problems, are more susceptible to illness and, in general,
have a poorer quality of life. So, to the frequently asked question “can dogs sleep outside in winter?”, what is the answer? It depends on the dog and its characteristics,
as well as whether or not it has the aforementioned requirements to prevent it from getting cold. Nordic dogs are fully adapted to high temperatures, such as the Siberian husky, however, other dogs from more temperate
and warm climates cannot live outdoors, such as chihuahuas. For this reason, we insist on taking into account the characteristics of each dog and, above all,
correctly acclimatizing its space to guarantee that it is kept in perfect condition.Can a dog freeze to death? “.