Winter woes? A dog-lover’s guide to solving winter blues
31st July 2019
If your dog is your best friend, you probably want to make sure that it is warm and comfortable during the wet and windy months of winter. Here are some invaluable tips that will ensure you’ve got a happy hound right through winter, whether it spends most of the time inside or out.
If your dog sleeps outdoors, make sure its kennel is large enough for it to stand and sit in, but small enough to retain its body heat. You can also winter-proof it from the cold, thereby guaranteeing your pooch remains cosy and comfy all through the winter. To do this, simply:
- Raise the kennel several centimetres off the cold ground;
- Place a blanket or hessian sack inside the kennel for it to lie on;
- Change the dog blanket or hessian sack frequently during wet weather; and
- Attach a flap to the door to keep cold winds and wet weather out;
- Change the direction of the kennel, so it faces away from cold, windy weather.
Dogs that spend a good part of their time confined indoors during the winter months can sometimes become lethargic or – quite the reverse – overactive!
There is, however, a simple solution to activate a slothful dog, and calm down one with energy to burn. You get them to THINK!
Yes, dogs can really think, if they are taught to. Simply spend 10-15 minutes each day training your dog with basic skills, such as:
- Come; and
- Walking on lead.
This training will energise a languid dog, and tire out an overactive dog if done on a regular basis.
Humans are not the only ones that can suffer from the ‘winter bulge’ during cold weather. Some dogs do, too. Not unlike humans, dogs need more kilojoules during the winter to keep warm. A dog that remains reasonably active will need his/her food increased by about 10 per cent.
However, dogs that become less active during winter (often through no fault of their own) due to less frequent walks, don’t need their food increased. These dogs will simply put on excess weight.
Jumpers and dog coats
You may think dogs look extremely silly dressed up in the latest woollen dog fashions, however, if you own a short-haired hound, such as a Chihuahua, greyhound or whippet, then it is advisable to don your dog in a jumper before taking it outside in the cold air.