08 April 2015 | Life with your best friend

Winter Coats – How to prepare

Ahoy – Winter Ahead! Yup, winter is just a few months away – is your dog ready?

It’s blazing hot outside at the moment so the looming cold temperatures are the furthest thing from your mind, but sadly, in just a few short months, the mercury is going to start dropping and winter will be firmly on its way. To avoid any unnecessary stress, illness or discomfort for you and your dog, it’s best to prepare for the colder months now.

Why is my dog shedding BEFORE it gets cold?

Depending on your breed, you might notice your dog start to shed more than normal in the next few months. As odd as it seems, this is normal because they are making way for the warmer, winter coat. So don’t be alarmed. Grooming becomes vital at this point; the more hair caught in a brush, the less on your couches or floor! However, keep a check on the amount of hair being shed – excessive hair loss could be a sign of an unwell dog.

How to prep your dog for the colder months:

  • Groom, groom, groom! Matted fur prevents proper insulation, so it’s important to keep your dog well groomed. Also, thorough brushing assists circulation which helps stabilise body temperature.
  • Keep your dog’s nails clipped and the fur between his foot pads short. This is to make cleaning mud or caught debris easier.
  • Is your dog an outside or an inside dog? If he’s an ‘outsider’ make sure there is adequate cover in place, which offers somewhere warm to shelter on those chilly and wet days. Make sure there is access to fresh food and water.
  • Get some extra blankets for their basket to keep the winter chill at bay.
  • How old is your dog? Older dogs feel the cold more so keep this in mind as the colder months approach.
  • Will your dog wear a coat or booties? Some dogs refuse point-blank to wear a coat let alone booties, but – particularly for the short-haired breeds – they can be a good idea to keep your pooch warm and snug. We suggest getting one now to get your dog used to wearing one. Always make sure they fit correctly, that there are no loose strings which can potentially get caught or strangle, and are not too tight. Coats or booties that are too tight can suffocate and/or restrict circulation. Focus on function, not fashion!

  Things to remember when winter is in full swing

  • A wet coat has virtually no insulation, so keep your dog dry as much as possible.
  • Outside and high-energy dogs need more calories to keep their body temperature regulated so feed your dog more (but not too much).
  • Always bath him indoors (and only when necessary).
  • You can put petroleum jelly on his foot pads to prevent cracking.
  • While it might be cold outside, your dog still needs exercise, so wrap up warm and keep up those daily walks. Just limit your time outdoors in particularly cold and wet days, and make sure he is dried thoroughly on your return.

Winter can be loads of fun for dogs; splashing in puddles and enjoying the crisp, cool air but it can also be a time of great discomfort so make sure you’re well prepared ahead of time to ensure your dog doesn’t suffer.

If you’re unsure on how to keep your dog warm and comfortable, discuss your concerns with your vet or pet shop owner for expert advice.

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