Fun and fitness for dogs in colder weather
When the weather starts to cool down it's good to make sure the exercise routine you have with your pet doesn't go out the window. This is especially important for owners of pets with arthritis as a regular program of gentle exercise during the colder months can actually help with joint health and mobility.
The weather is no excuse as there is a wide variety of winter pet-wear available these days to suit any style and budget. Depending on where you live and your dogs' breed and age, their winter woollies might range from a light raincoat or jumper right up to a fleecy jacket and boots to protect their sensitive paw pads from the frost.
Tips for picking a dog coat
- To ensure your pet's new coat will fit snugly, selecting the correct size is crucial. Measure your dog before heading out to buy a coat. This measurement should be taken from the base of the neck to the base of the tail.
- Picking the right coat for your dog's breed, age and the weather conditions is key. A thick coated Shepherd may only need a light coat to beat the chill but an older Chihuahua may need a thicker and fleecier coat to feel comfortable.
When outside games aren't an option
- Scattering your dogs kibble throughout the house is a great way to get your dog up, about and using their nose. It also has the added benefit of encouraging natural foraging behaviour and has your dog burning calories as they eat!
- Rolling your dog's ball down the hallway and playing hide and seek with your dog are other great ways to get your dog moving and nurturing the bond you have at the same time.
- When you are at home, encourage your dog to follow you around the house while you are doing your housework by carrying around your dog's favourite toy and a few treats.
Dry skin and shedding
Low humidity and sitting in front of a heater can be a common cause of dry skin and shedding. Frequent brushing helps remove dead hairs, skin and stimulates the oil glands.
Heaters and fireplaces
Space heaters and oil heaters should only be used when you can supervise your pet. They can inflict burns to your pet if they get too close and can cause fires if knocked over by an energetic play session. If you have a fireplace make sure you use a screen to protect your pet from sparks.
Exercise the mind too
Winter is often a great time to get involved with training classes such as obedience, agility and even flyball. In some cases 10 minutes of focused training can equal nearly one hours walk!
Most of all get out there and enjoy the winter weather together – the happy look on your dog's face when they are powering down the road in their winter attire will make it all worth it!
About the Purina PetCare Advice Centre
The Purina PetCare Advice Centre brings together a team with in-depth knowledge, experience and special interests with the skills to advise about health and nutrition, behaviour, training, socialisation, as well as basic first aid for your cat or dog. Our team of dedicated pet lovers can also provide information about Purina products and services to help you give your pet the best possible care. If you've got a question about any aspect of pet care, then ask the Purina PetCare Advice team.