Is your dog winter ready?

We have all noticed a drop in temperature over the past few days, the rain has started falling more regularly and heavily and it is definitely darker earlier.

We can dig out our coats and wellies but have you thought about your dog and how you can keep them safe and warm over the next few months?

It will, of course, depend on the age and breed of dog as to what you do. A St. Bernard is much more accustomed to the cold than a Chihuahua but thats not to say a St. Bernard will never need a coat.

Some dogs need an extra layer even when they are indoors, it’s worth remembering this as the temperature drops. Doggy jumpers come in lots of different designs and sizes, just make sure you don’t wrap your dog up so warm that they overheat.

There are lots of different coats available and you need to take a few things into account e.g is it waterproof? Can it be easily washed? Is it easy to put on and take off? If you use a harness does it have a slot for the D-ring? Or will it go under the harness? If your dog is noise sensitive will it be comfortable with the sound of velcro?

Vinnie ready for autumn

As well as keeping your dog warm you need to think about keeping your dog safe. You can get coats with reflective stripes, flashing fobs to clip on the harness, luminous collars and bright leads. As the nights draw in and the mornings are darker make sure your dog can be seen.

It is also worth getting a torch for yourself (there’s nothing worse than looking for dog poo in the dark!) and making sure your dog has good recall.

It is also important that your dog has a good ‘leave it’ as conkers and acorns are extremely toxic. Practise this and ‘drop it’ as much as you can as these, as well as recall, are life saving commands.

Handle your dog’s paws as much as you can so they get used to them being touched. When it gets really cold people use salt, grit and de-icer and all of these things are toxic to dogs. If you get your dog used to being handled now, when it gets colder they will be happy with you washing their paws after every walk. In my 1-2-1 puppy course I go through how to do a head to tail examination, this doesn’t just help with washing your dog but will help during vet visits and grooming.

If the weather is too extreme don’t feel guilty if you can’t walk your dog. Enrichment in the home can be just as stimulating and doesn’t have to cost the earth.

Ranulph Fiennes once said “There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing”

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