How to care for your dog in winter

Dogs are a lot more like humans than you probably think. They love the sunshine, getting outside and enjoying the natural light in summertime. So when winter rolls around, it can mean they are a little less active, a lot more susceptible to the cold and maybe even moody because the weather is too harsh for their regular walks.

To help your pup live their best life – even in winter! – here are some helpful tips and considerations.

1. Monitor and adapt to your dog’s nutritional needs

For many of us, the cold is a good excuse to rug up, enjoy some delicious treats and maybe skip the odd gym session every now and again. The struggle is real – and it’s the same for our pets!

Winter weight gain is an all-too-common occurrence in dogs that has a variety of contributing factors. No, it’s not just your furry friend’s winter coat that’s coming in. It’s probably a lack of consistent exercise combined with getting fed the same portion of food as other times of the year.

To combat the extra kilos, make sure your dog is on the right diet appropriate to the amount of exercise they are getting. If they usually get a cup of dry food in the morning, maybe cut it back to three-quarters of a cup for a few days if you’ve noticed them carrying around some extra heft.

It may also be worth switching their diet to a grain-free dog food that’s packed with superfoods, freeze-dried meats and no fillers or artificial preservatives.

2. Keep them out of the chill

Nobody likes to be left out in the freezing cold – even if they have a natural coat of fur to protect them against the elements. If your dog is an outside pet, then make sure they have plenty of pillows and blankets in their kennel, and a comfortable place to rest during the day that’s covered and shields them from rain and icy winds.

When heading out on winter walks, also be conscious of how your dog feels the cold. Pets with thinner coats than others may need a doggie jacket to help moderate their temperature when outside.

3. Alternatives to cold and wet walks

Dogs need regular exercise, and walks are both physically and mentally stimulating. That’s why it’s important to keep up the routine even in winter when you really don’t feel like going outside.

On days where it’s just too miserable to go for a walk, though, think about alternatives to keep their body and their mind just as stimulated. Throw a ball for them in the backyard, or give them a healthy snack to chew on for a long time. You can also give them fun toys to keep their minds active – even something as simple as popping some dry kibble in an empty water bottle can be a barrel of fun for a dog.

4. Be mindful of the emotional impact of winter

We’ve known for a long time that SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is a real and common affliction for humans in winter. But it’s also the case that dogs can get depressed during the cooler months too.

The winter blues negatively impacts a wide range of animals, including dogs. Make sure you know the signs – lethargy, not wanting to exercise, weight loss or even hair loss – and reach out to your local vet if you feel like your dog is down in the dumps.

Natural sunlight can be the best medicine for a sad dog, so if it means waking up a bit earlier in the day to take advantage of the winter sun, then it could help get your pup back on their paws in no time.

Ready to give your furry best friend the nutrition they deserve? Pure Life Pets has a wide range of grain-free and allergy-friendly food for adult dogs and puppies.