If you have followed this blog for a while you will know that my rescue dog Monty is my absolute everything! And if you have a dog yourself (or are thinking of getting one) I’m sure you will agree you will do anything to keep them healthy and safe. This means regular exercise, grooming and good food. In the summer these factors are fairly easy to look after! A long walk in the sunshine is never a punishment.
But what about the winter? In the cold, wet months it can be a struggle to get yourself outside – let alone your dog! And your furry friend will probably need more grooming in the winter due to its’ coat getting wet and muddy. So how do you make sure your dog is in tip-top shape even in the winter months? Here are my tips!
1. Use a dog activity monitor
A dog activity monitor – really? Yes, really! And they are great for you and your dog. PitPat are a fantastic company that have dog activity monitors: used to measure their exercise, weight, rest and a lot more. It’s a small squared device you can clip to your dogs’ collar and connect to your phone.
Using a dog activity monitor is a great way to keep track of how much exercise your dog has had and how much they need. Especially in the winter I love keeping an eye on my dogs’ activity as a rainy day can easily get in the way of the daily walks! Keep in mind you don’t just have to use this for walks: a game of tug-of-war in the garden can easily burn a lot of calories for both yourself and your dog!
2. Help your dog get used to bath time
Even though we have a short-haired dog, we still have to bathe him faily regularly in the winter. Muddy walks build up dirt in their coat and increases the risk of ticks and fleas even if they have regular treatment. Training your dog to be comfortable with bath time will help you throughout your dogs’ life.
Use a lick mat with peanut butter or cream cheese to keep your dog occupied and give lots of praise. Keep practising this so that when your dog is really muddy and wet it won’t be a struggle getting them into the bath. You don’t want your dog running off leaving muddy pawprints on your carpet!
3. Make healthy homemade dog treats
An easy way to keep your dog healthy on the inside is by finding recipes for homemade dog treats. Pinterest have lots of healthy, fun treats for your dog that are super easy to make. They often only use two or three ingredients as well! Store-bought treats are often processed and not very healthy for your pooch, so by giving them a homemade treat you are ensuring that they stay healthy!
Around Christmas time you might be tempted to buy your dog a treat in the shape of a candycane or Christmas pudding. My advice is to stay away from these! They are often coloured red or green with dye that is not healthy for your dog and they don’t have any beneficial ingredients.
4. Use a dog coat or jumper to keep warm and dry
This depends quite a bit on the dog! Our Monty loves wearing a raincoat or fleece as it keeps him cosy, but some dogs really dislike it. Don’t force it on them if they really resist, but it is definitely worth practising.
A water-resistant coat is ideal on those rainy days and it will help you feel motivated going out the door: you won’t have to deal with a soaking wet dog after your walk! Personally we love Equafleece jumpers, they are soft (but rainproof!) and keep Monty super cosy.
5. Put a light-up collar on your dog
In the winter months it can get dark at around 4pm! This means you still have at least one (or two) walks to go before bedtime. Although we keep Monty on the lead, we still put a light-up collar on him when it’s dark outside. We tried a simple clip-on flashing tag, but that only makes the light visible from one angle.
A light-up collar is visible from all sides and keeps your dog safe. It is not only helpful for you to spot your dog, it also allows others to see you and your pooch. Cyclists whizzing past on the pavement or a car at a road crossing: they are all possible hazards in the dark.
These are my tips on how to keep your dog healthy in the winter months. Think of the things you do in the winter, like putting on a warm coat and eating extra-healthy for your immune system. Your dog probably needs this too!