Here comes the winter again, together with cold temperature, frequent rain and snowfall. What can we do to minimize the discomfort of our life companion in the cold season? Let’s check the main critical points and try to give some little advice to better face the hard winter time.
- Rain and/or winter dogcoat, is it just fashion? Not exactly! For many working breeds selected in unfriendly or polar climates, with dense & naturally waterproof coat (e.g. the polar sledogs) dogcoat is simply useless, but for most of the others a raincoat is very helpful to keep them dry during the walk under the rain, and a wintercoat or a sweater is an excellent protection against the bitter cold for shorthaired dogs or for all those who suffer the low temperatures and leap between indoors & outdoors.
- Paws need care. A repeated contact with cold surfaces, snow and ice can cause the digital pads to crack, and even bleed. The effect of anti-ice road salt is even worse, being a strong irritant for the skin of the dog foot. Let’s check and keep feet and interdigital spaces clean, apply a soothing calendula cream when needed, and, in case of long stay on the snow or on sidewalk with road salt, let it wear the protective dogshoes.
- A warm bed. Never so important like in this season, let’s make sure to provide our partner with a warm bed; in case we can stuff it with thick blankets to make it warmer, and lifting it from the cold floor. At home, however, we should be careful, and make sure to keep the bed at a distance from heat sources (radiators, stoves, fireplaces, etc.)
- Temperature leap may be a threat. It is advisable to avoid, especially for weak or elder dogs, sudden changes in temperature; passing from more than 25 ° to 0 ° (or less) in a few seconds can increase sensitivity to cold and predispose more to flu or gastrointestinal disorders, so we should try not to heat up too much the house or at least to dress our dog with a winter coat before going out.
- Extra care for the seniors. As usual, aged dogs represent the category most at risk. The low temperatures, the strong temperature leaps and the contact with frozen and slippery surfaces can aggravate chronic issues already underway (such as arthritis), or weaken the immune system, making our senior companion more prone to bacterial or viral diseases. We should always provide it with a warm, dry and well-insulated bed where it can rest, let it have just short walks in case of severe weather conditions, dress it with a winter coat whenever necessary and dry it well all over with a warm cloth just back home.
- But we do not have to give up living outdoors in winter! On the other hand, winter gifts us with milder and sunny days from time to time. Let's make the most of them by spending as much time as possible outdoors with our dog; it will be beneficial for our body, our mind, and for our life partner’s too, in particular as an opportunity for both to synthesize vitamin D, which is often lacking in the winter season.
Photo by Allevamento della Costa del Vento