Winter Tips For Your Senior DogsBy vetsadmin | June 25, 2019
Your dog’s twilight years are a special time in their life. We’d love for our dogs to live a long life, hence accommodating for our elderly dog is important. As your dog gets older, winter months gets harder for them to handle. We want to make sure our four-legged friends are safe from the elements. Cold, wet weather can make everyday a little more painful for your senior dog and can even be hazardous to their health. Their bones and joints become weaker and they begin to slow down.
Winter calls for different care requirements when it comes to owning an elderly dog. There needs to be a change in their diet, proper exercise and warmer living spaces. The following tips can make winter a little easier for your ageing dog:
- Consultation with your vet
First things first, have one of our vets visit them at home. Because your dog’s joints and bones can be severely affected by the cold temperature, it’s a good idea to get them a proper check-up from one of our qualified vets. A home consult not only saves them the stress but will give the vet the chance to evaluate their living space and make recommendations based on the home. The colder weather can really take a toll on their health which therefore increases the need for regular vet visits to ensure they stay comfortable and healthy all winter long!
Changing your senior dog’s diet can help them cope better in winter in a couple of different ways. You should talk to your vet about adding supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin to their diet as they help to lubricate their joints which get stiff in winter months!
Diet can be a tricky thing to manage. You want to make sure their food intake is contextual to the amount of exercise your dog is doing. You do not want excessive winter weight, however if you take your dog on regular walks, they will require more energy to keep them warm. You can consider adding more protein to their diet. If you keep your pet indoors, moderate their diet to avoid weight gain.
Just because it’s winter, it doesn’t mean your dog should be kept indoors all the time. Just like humans, your dog’s joints and muscles get stiff and sore if they aren’t used. A walk for half an hour will do the trick. You can also get them moving indoors by teaching them new tricks and commands as will be a good way to get them up and moving! Another way is to dispense their food throughout the day which makes them move around and get up for their meals more often.
Comfort in winter is very important! Elderly dogs become frailer and more susceptible in colder temperatures so make sure your house is warm and also provide your dog with a warm bed. The bed should be soft to help protect their joints and bones. If your dog suffers from arthritis or serious joint problems, consider a memory foam bed. When going outdoors, provide them with proper garments to keep them warm. This might mean a doggy jacket and booties.
There are a few things to consider when it comes to grooming your dog in the winter. Firstly, don’t over wash them as doing so can wash away natural oils that keep their fur and skin healthy. Next, moisturize your dog’s skin as your dog’s skin can get dryer in the winter months which can cause irritation and itchiness. You can moisturize with petroleum jelly or coconut oil. Lastly, regular brushing will help to keep their fur clean and their skin healthy, once a week is ample and the results are well worth taking the time out of your schedule to prioritise this.