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Top Ten Winter Care Tips For Dogs

by Lana Paws on January 07, 2022

Winter care tips for dogs in India Lana Paws Blog

Winter is here and so is the time to take some extra care of your canine friend. Well, keeping the unpredictable weather changes in mind, you have to take a few preventive measures to ensure your pet feels warm outside and stays in good health throughout the winter. 

In fact, depending on the breed, age and health condition, your dog may require some special attention on its skin coat, diet, physical, and mental stimulations during winter. In this blog, we cover tips and best practices dog parents can follow to provide the best care for their fur buddies as the temperatures begin to drop throughout the country.

Let’s get straight into it,

How to Take Care of Your Dog in Winter?

winter care tips for dogs Lana Paws blog

Most vets advise keeping your pet indoors during winter. But that may lead to unnecessary weight gain and boredom if his/her daily routine, including diet, is not planned properly. 

So, whether you’re a new pet-parent or just want to make sure you're taking care of your fur buddy the exact way you should, this guide will enable you to take the best care of your dog in winter. Have a look,

1). Skin and Fur Care Tips for Dogs

Winter can be really dry and cold for your dog’s skin. Sometimes we can also notice a change in behaviour in dogs (e.g. lethargy, excessive sleeping, irritability etc) due to cold winter climate. As a pet parent, you must protect your dog’s skin by following simple home remedies for skin dryness in dogs. Applying pure and natural coconut oil or hemp seed oil on the dry patches can be amongst the best home remedial for your dog’s dry skin patch. Mostly the dryness occurs around your dog’s paws, random areas of skin under the fur, ears, elbow, wrist, knee and ankle.

If your dog has any medical condition, you must consult your vet before trying anything new for their skin or diet.

The following are some basic skin care tips that you must follow-

  • Massage your dog’s skin with virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil or hemp seed oil. It should be free of any chemicals, and if it is organic, it’s best. Coconut/ Hemp seed oil is a boon for small scrapes and protects your dog from excessive itching and dry skin. It also works against flea-bite allergies
  • If the sun is not out, change your dog’s bathing schedule. Instead, use wet wipes to clean your dog if the weather isn’t favorable. Dry shampoos are also a great option to keep your furry friend clean. Or you can take your pet to a grooming salon to get him clean and dry
  • In winters, your dog’s snout and paws dry out, and you can see small cracks in the skin. You can find snout butter and paw balms in the market, which very effectively keep them moisturized. Apply some snout butter on his nose and keep it gleaming. Paw balms should be applied before bedtime, so they won’t lose it while roaming around the house or lick it off
  • To keep your dog’s fur glossy and protected, use a conditioner after a bath or conditioner-based shampoo. The 2-in-1 product will save your pet from unpleasant shocks, which most humans get if they don’t care for their hair

2).  Diet Tips for Dogs During Winter

First, you must understand why it is essential to change your dog’s diet in winter. Then you must know what to feed them during winters and how much to feed them. These factors are essential to keep your dog healthy and fit during the colder months.

A dog’s diet in winter depends on where he lives- geographical location (not all cities in India witness harsh winter months), indoors or outdoors, how old your dog is, his weight, and how much activity he performs during winter months, etc.

  • Age- the age of a dog is very crucial. A puppy’s diet needs are different from an adult’s or an old dog’s. Take your pooch to the vet or a professional canine nutritionist, and consult the amount and type of food you should give it
  • Living Space- If your dog lives indoors and is warm, his activity level remains less in the cold; he may not require as many calories as in moderate temperatures. Since dogs’ calorie expenditure decreases in winter, they need fewer daily calories. Else they will gain winter weight, which is not good for their health. So if your dog lives outdoors, it's highly recommended that you bring him inside. If it’s not possible, they will need more than usual calories to keep them healthy. However, please DO NOT keep your dogs outdoors or confined anyway, in many cases it also leads to major behavioural issues in dogs (if you need a reason!)
  • Weight- Check your dog’s BMI and share it with your vet/canine nutritionist to know if it is ideal or not. If your dog is overweight or underweight, consult your vet/canine nutritionist and make necessary adjustments to your dog’s diet
  • Exercise- If winters have made you and your dog lazy and exercise has taken a back seat, you need to decrease your dog’s calorie intake. On the other hand, if your dog is active, he may need more calories 

You can read about winter diet tips for your dog in detail in one of our previous articles here.

Serve warm food to your dog. It should not be too hot or too cold. Piping hot food may scald their tongue. If your dog does not finish the food, empty the bowl immediately afterward and wash it for the next round. 

Along with food intake, you must ensure that your dog is having adequate water at normal room temperature. You can place 2-3 bowls of water in different areas of your home, where your dog is most likely to spend time to ensure he/she is having enough water. The water should be replaced and bowls should be washed regularly.

Most pet owners also wonder how much they should feed their dog. The answer depends greatly on what you feed your dog. At Lana Paws, we highly recommend feeding species- appropriate freshly cooked diet over commercially available dog food.

It is also advisable to consult a certified canine nutritionist and feed an amount that is suitable for your dog depending on its weight, age, and activity levels. This one-time exercise can be life-changing for your furry friend and you!

3). Winter Tips for Dog Walks, Outdoor and Exercise

winter walking tips for dogs India Lana Paws blog

We all know how winter mornings and nights are, right? Avoid going for early morning and late evening walks and instead try to go for walks during noon or mid-afternoon hours when the temperature is not so cold. Your pet will surely thank you for going for a walk with them when the sun shines, you will find a noticeably happy and active behaviour.

Dogs love to sunbathe! You can create a space in your terrace or balcony by placing their beds/mats so they can enjoy the winter sun.

A good exercise in the form of your pet dog’s favourite outdoor game or just letting them play mental stimulation games in controlled environment is the key to a happy and healthy life of your pupper.

4). Winter Clothes and Accessories for Dogs

Winter clothes and accessories such as, blankets for dogs are not only purposeful, but they also look pretty on your dog!!

If your dog is comfortable wearing clothes such as jackets and sweaters, you can dress them up in cute & comfortable winter attire. However, ideally, dogs would need these clothes only at night or early mornings and not during the day.

Some dogs also love to snooze in warm blankets. You can check out Lana Paws’ comfortable dog blankets and mats here. If you live in areas that don’t experience harsh winter months in India, you can check out our cotton based light mats/blankets that are perfect for pleasant temperatures. You can also personalise these mats and blankets with your dog’s name on it!

Although most of the dog breeds have a fur coat, they feel cold during winters especially during early morning and late evening hours. You must see to it that if the temperature drops too much, cover your buddy with clothes (only if they prefer). There are shirts, bandanas, jackets, vests, sweater, blanket coats, dog shoes and socks available for pets. Just make sure that it fits exactly right—not too loose neither too tight—and your pet is comfortable in it.

We would like to suggest you to choose the right material (cotton/ wool) and the right style (sleeveless/ with sleeves) based on where you live and the weather there.

5). Pet Grooming and Bathing During Winters

winter grooming tips for dogs Lana Paws Blog

Unlike humans, pets are blessed with thick skin-coat and fur that is meant to keep them warm naturally. Hence, you need to protect their fur by following some basic pet grooming practices for dogs.

Don’t shave off or trim their coat in winter, keep them warm & dry throughout the day, check under their outer fur coat for any signs of dryness. As mentioned in the first point of winter care tips for dogs, mostly the skin dryness occurs at your pet dog’s paws, random areas of skin under the fur, ears, elbow, wrist, knee and ankle area. Please read our article on, How to identify and treat common skin issues in dogs using natural and home remedies, for a more detailed perspective.

At the onset of winter season when the monsoons rains have just stopped is the time when insects grow rapidly outdoors. Upon gently brushing your dog in the direction of hair growth, you can check and remove the insects and ticks (if any) from their fur. Your PAWSOME buddy will definitely thank you for your AWESOME service.

Remember, no cold-water baths for your pet during winters! If you bathe your dog at home, give them a bath with lukewarm water only on a sunny day. Gently dry them with a microfiber soft towel ASAP and allow them to sunbathe until completely dry.

In winters, you do not need to bathe your dogs very often. Once a month/45 day is a good frequency if your dog spends most of his/her time indoor. Dry shampoos and regular brushing and grooming are better options to follow during winters.

6). Daily Routine During Winter for Dogs

winter care tips for dogs Lana Paws Blog

Most of the new pet-parents think about the daily routine requirements for dogs during winter. We would suggest, the major daily lifestyle change you can bring is the morning & evening walk timings, bathing frequency, diet, clothes and warm bedding. We have mentioned about all these points in detail in this blog post.

You can include these habits on your pet’s daily activity routine - keeping them warm and dry throughout the day, feeding them warm nutritional meals, staying away from outdoor water bodies, reducing the frequency of baths, regularly moisturizing and grooming, maintaining adequate water drinking frequency.

7). Pet Bedding Tips During Winters

During cold winters, you and your dog may like to cuddle up with each other, however, it is important to give your dog his/her own dedicated space.

You can create a warm and comfortable space for your pupper at the cosiest spot in your home. As the floors get too cold to lay on, dogs prefer to sleep and lounge on mats, beds and blankets.

8). Some Indoor Care Tips

 

Most of the pet dogs prefer staying indoors during winter months. You can engage their mind by playing interactive, mental stimulation games such as sniffing out treats, KONG toys, playing hide and seek and so on. Some dogs also enjoy chewing, which can be a great option for dogs to fight boredom, calm their nerves and clean their teeth. Always go for high-quality real chew bones and avoid chemical laden rawhides, available at neighbourhood pet shops.

You could also try bringing the outdoor fun indoors. There are many ways to do it, such as,  playing fetch game indoors, playing together with their favourite toys, creating fun reel videos for Instagram and discovering your own way to make them happy and active indoors. If you have your own innovative way to have fun with your dogs to make them active indoors, then please do share it with us too!! We would love to hear from you, being pet parents ourselves, and share your story with other pet parents.

9) Dog Paw Care Tips During Winters

winter care tips for dogs paws Lana Paws Blog

You might think that dog paws are very strong but they are vulnerable to frostbite, cracks and dryness, especially during winters.

These are some basic dog paw care tips you must follow not only in winters but throughout the year.

  1. Keep the nails trimmed
  2. Gently clean the paws on a daily basis
  3. Regularly check the paws for ticks
  4. Moisturize and massage their paws gently with natural & artificial fragrant-free oils such as virgin coconut oil or hemp seed oil for pets
  5. Apply first-aid to cuts or cracked paws

10) Look After Your Community/Street Dogs During Winters

winter care tips for dogs Lana Paws Blog

As dog and animal lovers, it is our responsibility to look after community dogs too in these harsh winter months. Many people turn to buying sweaters and jackets for these dogs. While our intentions may be to protect the street dogs against cold weather, in many cases it becomes a nuisance for them.

Some street dogs love wearing coats while many don’t. Never force a dog into wearing sweaters and jackets as they will try to remove them later, which may lead to road accidents.

Many times, hidden skin issues flare up drastically when street dogs are forced to wear jackets and left unattended. Like we suggested for pet dogs, if you choose to put coats and jackets on your community dogs, you must remove the coat during the day so their fur can breathe and regulate their body temperature.

In most cases, it may not be possible to do this on a daily basis, so then how can we protect our street dogs during harsh winter months?

We can build/provide a shelter for them by placing old carpets, durris or mattresses. If possible, allow them to take shelter in your building’s  parking area at night.

Thank you for reading this article!

If you have any suggestions or would like to ask a question or add anything to the winter care tips for dogs, based on your experience then, please comment below!

Lana Paws team will definitely get back to you.

Moreover, we would be glad to hear from you about your experience during winter season with your pooch buddy.

Disclaimer: Advices and suggestions mentioned in this article are generic information only. You must consult a medical expert if you are looking for more detailed clinical information.

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