As they say in the movie Groundhog Day, it’s cooold out there right now. Snow and ice isn’t something we usually have to deal with in Cornwall but with threats of more frost and ice to come, here are some tips on making sure our four-legged friends stay warm and healthy through the winter.
Take good care of the paws!
Keeping nails trimmed and keeping fur between the pads trimmed can help to reduce the build up of snow and ice that clogs up in your dog’s paws. It also helps them to slip and slide less on the ice. It’s also good to put vaseline or similar on the paws before you head out and wash paws after walks. If your hound will put up with it, dog booties are also an option.
Wrap up on walks
Some dogs such as Newfies have double layers of fur which protect and keep them warm in colder weather but finer coated dogs such as greyhounds could often do with a little coat. There are lots of lovely Cornish shops offering these, try Paws in Padstow.
Have a post walk warm-up routine
Cold and muddy dogs can catch bugs and are generally unhappy so a wash and dry and a lovely warm bed or blanket to snuggle up in, ready for when they get back is always a good idea. Often your dog will naturally gravitate to the place they feel safest and warmest in the house, so if you keep having to get them to move, take a look at the bed space you have allocated and make sure it is warm enough.
Watch the weight
We’re all tempted to treat our dogs, but if they don’t like going out in the cold (or you don’t) and they are less active, either they need more exercise and play indoors or, (possible and) you need to adjust their food so they don’t gain too much weight. Obesity in dogs causes a raft of health problems and maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best gifts you can give to your dog.
Wear high vis and get a hi-vis or lighted collar or coat for your dog when walking, even in the middle of the day. Light levels are lower in winter and you can be far less visible to traffic than you think even in the early dusk of mid-afternoon.
Don’t leave your dog in the car
it is a well-known fact that we don’t leave dogs in hot cars, but we often forget not to do this in winter when temperatures can drop so low they put your dog at risk of hypothermia if they are left in a cold car for too long.