16 Jun How to keep your dog warm during winter!
Winter is here; the nights are getting colder and the days shorter and wetter. Our four-legged friends are likely to be feeling the cold just as much as we are, so it’s important that we consider their warmth during these months too! Below are some tips on making sure you can keep your dog warm during winter and be as comfortable as possible, whether indoor or outdoor. These are things we can do to keep them nice and cosy.
1. Provide Outdoor Shelter
To keep your dog warm during winter, a nice, warm outdoor shelter is essential if our dogs spend the day outside or sleep outside at night. Kennels are not all created equal, so we recommend you look at ones that have a doorway on one side, with beds tucked around the corner. These are a great way to keep your pet out of direct wind and rain that may come through the entry. Kennels that are raised a few inches off the ground are best so that the cold and wet from the ground doesn’t seep up through the floor. Adding a doggy flap on the front can also help to protect them from the elements even more too. Make sure the kennel is full of blankets and a raised bed if possible to ensure your pet is nice and warm!
You can also look at the placement of your kennel in your backyard, if you can face the kennel entry away from the general direction of wind and rain, that will also help to keep the kennel dry. Also by placing the kennel up against a wall or fence to provide extra protection on one or two sides to retain warmth and their sense of security.
2. Provide Indoor Access
Some pet owners may like to allow their pets indoor access via way of a doggy door, which is great to offer so your dog some extra protection in the colder months (and in the hotter months too!). They can then take themselves inside if it gets cold, wet or miserable outside. It may be easier to limit access to just one room in the house – such as the laundry or garage to prevent mud getting spread through the house on really muddy days! Otherwise, you may offer them access to the whole house – it depends on what works best for you and your pet.
3. Get Wet Dogs Dry!
Sometimes it’s hard to keep our playful pups out of the rain and puddles, but when night comes this can leave them feeling cold and miserable (as we would too jumping into bed soaking wet! ). Do your best to towel dry them off or use a hairdryer if your pet will allow. Swap any wet towels from day naps out for dry ones. The drier they feel, the warmer they will too!
4. Sleep Indoors Overnight
Being indoors automatically helps to keep your pet warmer and is a great way to keep your dog warm during winter – they are out of the elements and wet conditions. If you pet will be sleeping on a concrete floor, or tiles, try and place a mat, some towels or a few layers of cardboard between your pet’s bed and the ground – or invest in a raised bed. The cold will make it’s way through bedding placed on the floor so this extra layer in between can help them to feel cosy all night long. Your pets will still need blankets to lay on, or cuddle up in indoors. Our dogs are generally pretty smart, and will rearrange their bedding to suit themselves to help them warm up or cool down if needed.
You don’t need to spend lots of money on expensive blankets for your pet to keep them warm, this may be an extra and unneeded cost for your family so even old clothing or bedding, or blankets purchased from an op shop, will help your dog to create a cosy space. They will probably love the new smells on the blankets too!
6. Consider The Breed / Type of Dog
Some breeds and larger dogs are more genetically equipped to deal with cold weather conditions. For example, Husky’s, Malamutes, Saint Bernard’s and Samoyeds have beautiful thick coats perfect for helping them to survive and live in colder weather conditions. This means they won’t feel the cold as much as smaller, less cold-resistant breeds of dog, but still need blankets and a cosy space in their home! Toy breeds and small dogs will feel the cold more, so jumpers and sweaters may be ideal for these pets at night, when doing outdoor activities or on cold days – but see how your pet feels about this – some love it and some don’t!
No matter what the size or breed, puppies are more prone to feeling the cold. Puppies should always start off sleeping inside with plenty to warm bedding until they grow up and their bodies can regulate their own temperatures better. You can restrict your puppy’s sleeping to just one room or look to crate train your pup if this is suitable for you and your family.
If you’re still concerned that your pet just isn’t warm enough, you could try purchasing a self-heating pet bed (using thermal body temperate to keep your dog warm with their own body heat), buy thicker, fleece and wool blankets, or send them off to bed with a heat pack or hot water bottle at night (with warm NOT boiling water in case of accidents!). It’s always best to try these for day-time, monitored naps first to make sure it won’t get chewed up overnight.
One final rule, is ‘Would you be comfortable in winter if you were in your dog’s shoes?’ If the answer is yes, then perfect! Your four-legged friend is also probably very happy and comfortable! But if you’re not sure, best to action some of the tips above to help keep them more comfortable and keep your dog warm during winter.
If you have any more tips, please let us know at our Facebook page.