Winter can be a rough time in some parts of the country. With harsh sub-freezing temperatures, it’s important to keep an eye on your furry friend, even if they’re bred to be in the cold. Your dog can suffer significant health problems such as frostbite and skin damage. Here are some steps you can take to make the winter months more comfortable and safe for your dog.
Less Frequent Bathing
When it comes to bathing your dog in the winter, there are a few things you’ll need to consider. If you’re used to washing your dog on a regular schedule, try minimizing the amount of times you wash them. Skin is easily irritated in the winter, and over washing your dog can lead to dry skin, excess dandruff, and rashes. Over washing your dog can also wash away important oils that keep their skin and fur healthy.
If you’re put in a position where you have to wash your dog, it may not be necessary to use shampoo. Most basic washes can be done without shampoo and this helps keep your dog’s skin healthy and less irritated. Once you’re done washing your dog, make sure the house is warm and they are completely dry.
Diet during the winter is tricky. You want your dog to stay warm, but not because they have a good layer of fat. That’s why when it comes to diet, you’ll need to use context when feeding. Your dog uses more energy staying warm in the winter, thus their diet needs to match these changes. You’ll want to increase the amount of food they consume if your dog is spending more time outside. On the other hand, you can switch to a more calorie heavy dog food as a healthy way to put weight on your dog.
Dogs that are exposed to colder temperatures can need up to two to three times the normal calorie intake. Feeding your dog a raw food diet with higher calories, such as our Canine Beef Formula or our Canine Lamb Formula, can provide a healthy calorie intake. These raw formulas help your dog get the needed calories, while at the same time getting essential vitamins and minerals, such as calcium.
Keeping warm areas for your dog is a no-brainer. When temperatures drop, your dog should have a warm area to retreat to. It’s easy to think that a dog’s fur will keep them warm, but this isn’t always the case. Snow can get clumped on their fur, which quickly decreases their body temperature. If they don’t have proper bedding, the floor can also reduce their body temperature which will quickly make your dog too cold.
It’s also essential to consider accessible water sources. Is there water easily accessible and not frozen? Dehydration in winter is big for dogs and even us, as humans. Panting and low humidity quickly leads to dehydration, so keep this in mind when creating a warm space for your dogs.
An easy way to keep your dog hydrated is adding Primal Bone Broth to their feeding regimen. Not only will your dog’s love the broth, it will keep them hydrated and assist with joint health, liver support, and even digestion.
Just like humans, dog’s skin can quickly dry and irritate in colder temperature. Dry skin also leads to excess dandruff or eczema, and if not maintained, can be uncomfortable and troublesome.
Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to keep your dog’s skin and fur healthy. Putting your dog on a higher protein diet can help with a healthy coat. Add a small dose of coconut oil in the mix, and a dull coat can quickly be turned around.
Furthermore, consider a diet that already contains helpful oils and amino acids. Many raw food diets, such as our Canine Duck Formula, contain coconut oil, sardine or cod liver oil. Not only do these oils help with healthy skin, but improve digestion, reduce allergic reactions, and help your dog’s immune system.
Brushing can also help with skin and fur problems. Brushing on a regular basis removes dandruff and skin flakes, while spreading natural oils to help create that moisturizing barrier. And like stated above, washing your dog less and feeding them a proper diet, will help keep these natural oils intact.
Toxins become more prevalent in winter months to help minimize ice and freezing. These often come in the form of ice melt or antifreeze. Consumption of these can result in serious issues such as vomiting, excessive thirst and even seizures.
When it comes to melting ice in the winter, the best thing you can do is get pet friendly ice melt. And be sure to keep yourself educated as to what’s toxic for your dog, especially during the holiday season, when tinsel, holiday candles and oils may be left out.
Article contributed by Matt Barnett