- Any sweater can be adjusted to fit your medium or large size dog. First bunch up the excess material around the waist and tie it off with an elastic. Then roll up the sleeves to desired length, and stitch the sleeves with a needle and thread, so they don't unroll.
Warning : If your dog is wearing a sweater outside make sure it doesn't get wet. Wet cloth can get very cold against their skin in the winter, when she runs off to play I remove her hoodie.
Living in Canada, winter hits hard and lasts long. Dogs have to deal with cracking paws, dry skin and freezing temperatures! Us human companions may wonder, what are some things we can do to protect our furry best friends during the cold season?
1 - Paw protection
If your dog has long fur between their paws it may be a good idea to trim this fur, as snow and ice will accumulate and cause discomfort.
Boots are always a good way to go to protect your pups paws outside. There are many different styles and sizes to choose from. Important things to consider; that they fit snugly so they won't fall off, but not too tight as to cut off circulation. Get a water resistant material to keep their paws nice and dry.
Another option is simply walking through a patch of fresh snow before going inside to help wash off any sediment. Once inside be sure to wipe your dogs paws with a cloth dipped in warm water. After washing you may want to rub their paw pads with some coconut oil to moisturize and prevent cracking.
2 - Skin conditioning
Dry skin is a common side effect of the cold dry winter season. any dry patches on the skin or under fur can be treated with a homemade oil blend*. Apply at least twice daily, particularly after coming back inside.
*Use simple ingredients to make your own protective conditioning oil : Ex. Mix of any of the following oils : coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, shea butter, almond oil. Then add aloe vera / vitamin e and a few drops of essential oil like lavender, or chamomile.
3 - Staying dry and cozy indoors
After time outside often it's a good idea to wash up with a bath, specially on those wet slushie days to remove outdoor salts that can cause irritation. Make sure to keep the water warn and comfortable and I recommend not using chemical shampoos but rather olive oil soap bars or just water for freshening up. wash of salt. <---
Make sure to dry up thoroughly with a towel, and blow drying can be a good idea. Grooming with a brush while blow drying will ensure no humidity remains trapped between your dogs fur which can potentially cause a rash.
Once they are all dry make sure to have either a doggy bed or nice blanket for them to lie on, comfort is key during the harsh winter months.
4- Snow treats!
Throwing fresh snow balls for your pooch to catch is a fun game that helps keep your dog well hydrated while out. Or just walk them towards a nice patch of fresh snow and they will probably just start chowing down.
Try to avoid dirty brown snow banks and puddles, rather find fresh patches of snow for your dog to munch on.
5 - Ruff weather? Don't stay out too long, have quality time indoors
Some dogs like Huskies and Samoyeds love the cold, and can spend a long time outside. However, most dogs are not equipped to stay outside for long periods of time on colder days.
As long as they are staying active their body will tend to stay warm but as their activity level goes down they can get cold very quickly.
Before they get too cold it's time to head inside. Pay special attention to their snout and ears and notice if they are shivering.
It's a good idea to think of indoor activities as well to stay fit all year long. You can use toys, tug ropes, puzzle game food dispensers, games with treats, or setting up a little obstacle courses indoors to go through with your dog. These are just a few examples, I bet you can think of many more.
For a pawesome dog treat, try dehydrated sweet potatoes with nutritional yeast.
You can order some online here : https://vgrrr.com/products/nutri-yeast-sweet-potato-treats-dogs
Definitley, make sure to get plenty of cuddle time!
6 - Winter Coats for Dogs, are they necessary?
If your dog has short fur, or has short legs (meaning that their body is close to the cold ground) then they would probably benefit from a winter coat. There are many to choose from and ideally a water resistant fabric is best. If the coat gets too wet take it off or it will freeze.
Be careful that your dog isn't getting overheated in their coat. Especially if they are exerting a lot of energy. Coat is best for walks not running and play time.
9 - Indoor Environment : Be aware of winter hazards indoors
A potential hazard can be portable heaters fireplaces or candles /hot lamps. Make sure that these heat sources are always being supervised and never leave these unattended when there are animals in the home. They can lead to burns and be a fire hazard. Opt for portable heating appliances that have a safety feature, so they turn off when tipped over.
I recommend avoiding open flames all together, forgo the candles, it's almost 2018 ;) It's not worth the risk!
Another potential hazard can be moisture. If your dogs paws are wet from coming in or being washed, be careful of wet spots on the floor that may cause a nasty slip. Also, electrical outlets or loose wires should always be kept off the ground.
Furthermore, be aware of toxic houseplants and if you have any in the home keep them far away from Fido's reach.
- Grooming Essentials : Keep nails trimmed and avoid shaving your dog in the winter
Long nails in winter can lead to instability and slips on ice outside, be sure to keep your pups nails trimmed.
Trimming long fur between the toes is also a good idea as mentioned earlier.
Finally, try not to shave your dogs natural coat in the winter. They need all the extra warmth they can get both indoors and outside. Your dogs fur acts as insulation and helps keep their body temperature regulated in all seasons.
Hope these tips were helpful, if you know of any more dog hacks list them in the comments to help me and other dog guardians.
Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season with all your beast friends and family.