Does your dog need a coat?
Consider this, if your dog back feels normal to cold with a coat on, he does not need a coat? These dogs can regulate their body temperature.
However, should your dog’s back feel warm to hot with a coat on, he would benefit from his warm coat, as these dogs can't regulate their body temperature.
Small dogs with no natural undercoat are among the most vulnerable, because of their size and inability to keep body heat. Larger short-coated dogs are the same. Inactive dogs, and dogs that have just been clipped, also fall into this category.
Consider our senior citizens and their needs in the cooler months. If your ageing canine has never worn a coat, don’t start now, he would stress.
Chances are, if you’re cold, so is he!
All dogs still need and enjoy their winter walks to release energy and warm their blood. Start off with a slow walk, ensuring his muscles are warming up gently, then move into a more brisk pace. Keep up your walking program during winter, this will make sure his waist line stays trim.
During those occasional frigid blasts when temperatures take a dramatic plunge to single digit figures, bring your dog inside, or make sure he is fully protected from drafts and the winter chills.
All dogs can be vulnerable to hypothermia especially if their fur remains wet in super cold conditions. Dry his under belly and paws after a run / walk on the dewy or wet grass.
Staying warm burns calories, feed a quality complete kibble. Add a half cup, half strength ‘cup of soup’ [reduced salt] to his meal, stand back and wait for the smile!
Consider giving outside dogs a little more food to ensure they have the energy to cope with the cold weather. Dogs that spend a lot of time inside require less food to stay warm in winter; they also maintain a better body condition than dogs that spend a lot of time outside.
Don't give in! With the sun setting earlier in winter, some dogs feel the need to eat earlier! Stick to your routine.
Bedding should be located in a draught free area, raise his bed off the ground, add blankets and a doona for warmth and comfort.
Brushing daily will maintain a natural healthy coat. Take care of his paws by trimming excess fur between his toes and under the pad. Don’t forget to trim nails fortnightly.
Arthritis can be exacerbated during winter, with joint pain and stiffness. Talk to your vet about medication and treatment options, there are ways to keep your arthritic dog, fit and warm through winter.
What size coat? Dogs are measured from between the shoulder blades (highest part) to the base of the tail.
written by Lee Hettiger - Centenary Dog Obedience - owner / operator