It’s important to keep your dog healthy and fit for quality of life and longevity. The winter season is not without its hazards. Being limited by the cold and dark when out walking may prevent adequate stimulation and exercise, and at festive times your pet might take a back seat among the celebrations. So it’s important to aim for optimum health and vitality in winter.
Be sure to keep a supply of healthy dog treats on hand to reward your pet.
Generally, dogs need at least 15 minutes of walking twice a day, and they should be panting to demonstrate they are experiencing adequate exercise. Without exercise, weight problems and lethargy can take hold. Having a brisk walk or using toys can help dogs stay fit and stave off boredom. Snow and salt must be immediately cleared from your dog’s paws.
2. Don’t Overfeed
Food often becomes the central point of winter celebrations. A menu that includes ‘people foods’ like white turkey meat combined with healthy dog treats makes for an acceptable diet occasionally, but you need to watch out for dangerous human foods that cause anaemia or adversely affect the digestive system – chocolate and grapes can be toxic to dogs. It’s therefore best to focus on a pet food diet to keep your pet healthy.
Battersea has more advice on winter care for dogs: https://www.battersea.org.uk/pet-advice/dog-care-advice/winter-dog-care.
3. Staying Safe
Some holiday decorations and plants may injure your dog. Mistletoe, holly and ivy may be toxic if eaten by your pet. Meanwhile, ingesting tinsel may lead to significant intestinal problems. Keep breakable ornaments and electrical cords out of the way so your dog can’t chew on them.
4. Keep Tabs on Your Pet
As a pet owner you need to monitor your dog’s weight, drinking, eating, toilet habits and behaviour during the winter. Some changes will be down to the ageing process. However, alterations in habits might be signs of serious health problems. If you observe any worrying changes, talk to your vet.
5. Be Prepared
Illness, accidents and emergencies can occur at any time. Be prepared – keep handy telephone numbers for your vet, animal poison control centre and pet emergency hospital. Ensure that others in the household know what to do in an emergency.