Every year when the winter comes around, we all feel the need to stay bundled up and warm. No one enjoys the chilly weather, shivering and feeling uncomfortable. If you feel this way, so does your dog.
Many pet parents in India have the misconception that due to their thick fur, dogs don’t feel cold in the winter, but that isn’t true. Of course, this also depends on the weather – a slight cold like the Mumbai winters wouldn’t be as bad for your dog, but in places like North India during peak winter months, you must ensure to take a little extra care of your fur baby.
Our pets are used to the warm indoors and can get distressed if not properly taken care of during the chilly months. Here are some winter care tips for your dog that can help you ensure a safe and happy cold season for your four legged baby, no matter which part of India you live in!
Create a cozy spot
Most of us love cuddling in bed during the winters and love feeling warm and fuzzy. If your dog is allowed on the bed, then you know this is the best time to snuggle with your doggie! Ensure they have a cozy spot to rest and sleep on as the floor will be too cold for them to sit or lie on.
Use a dog bed, blankets and pillows to create multiple spaces for your baby to rest in the house. For instance, if you live in Delhi, a thick mattress or fuzzy bed is preferable for dogs as opposed to a thin sheet which is sufficient for Mumbai winters. For areas where it rains a lot, cold may not be a problem, but the moisture in the air and the constant getting wet of paws can cause fungal issues. So ensure your dog’s spot is always kept dry and you wipe your dog down after each walk.
Outdoor time and exercise
If it is very windy or cold outside, it is ideal to wait for the sun to come out, so your dog can enjoy their time walking and playing outside. While some dogs like playing in the snow or rain, others aren’t a fan, which is why you must understand your dog’s comfort level of going outside and how much they can take.
In peak winter months, some dogs may also benefit from wearing a winter coat that can help them keep snug during walks outside.
Take care of your dog’s paws and snout
During the winter, even humans get dry skin and cracked heels that require constant moisturising or it can be painful after a while. Similarly, dogs also require extra care when it comes to their paws and snout. There are many paw and snout balms available in the market that can help soothe the dryness and provide relief to your fur baby.
Some good Indian brands include –
- Heads Up For Tails Organic Snout Butter
- Captain Zack Pawsitively Smooth Paw Butter
- Heads Up For Tails Organic Paw Butter
- Naturelix Paw Cream
Home Remedy – A great home remedy for dry paws and snout is Ghee or coconut oil. They are both natural, so you know it’s safe and nothing will happen if your doggie licks it!
Nutrition and hydration during winters
Just as in the summer, staying hydrated is important in the winters as well. Make sure there is always a clean bowl of water available for your dog at all times. If your dog isn’t getting a lot of time outside to walk or exercise, their diet needs to be adjusted accordingly and the calorie intake needs to be changed so your pet doesn’t put on excess weight.
Take special care when it comes to food as keeping warm requires extra energy, and thus an adequate diet is necessary. Home cooked meals are a great substitute for dry food (which is a high-carbohydrate diet) and can help give your dog a well nourished meal. In the winter time, our pooches need lesser carbs and a richer diet with more moisture to help their organs function properly.
Simple additions to home cooked meals during the winter can help keep your dog happy and healthy –
- Warm chicken soup or vegetable soup is a great addition to meals for dogs to keep warm.
- Adding a little Haldi or Turmeric in their meals also helps build immunity.
- Coconut oil adds medium-chain triglycerides, which are good fats, and they have various benefits like better digestion and immunity, as well as healthy skin and coat.
- Add some vegetables like spinach, beetroots and carrots as they provide vitamins, minerals and fibre, and are also rich in antioxidants.
- Berries such as cranberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, acai, and raspberries make for great snacks and are rich in vitamin C, antioxidants, and bioflavonoids.
If you are looking to buy meals, treats and supplements, Canine India is a great brand in the country that provides species specific food. They have various treats, meals and supplements that can help keep your dog healthy.
Special care for older dogs
Senior dogs need special care when the winter comes around as it can be hard on their bones and can exacerbate present medical conditions they may have, specially arthritis. If you have an adult dog, make sure to keep them comfortable and not put too much pressure on their joints. Getting an orthopaedic bed for dogs or a raised dog feeder for eating food comfortably can greatly help make the cold and harsh season much easier for your baby.
Our dogs are our best friends and we must take care of them when the need arises. Winter care for dogs isn’t difficult but it is necessary. So, keep these tips in mind and keep on snuggling with your pet this winter!