When it comes to winter, dogs are very much like their human counterparts in needing to stay warm, whether it’s cuddled up on the sofa or snuggled under a blanket. There’s often a misconception, perpetuated by a dog’s willingness to head outside in the colder months, that our canine friends tolerate icy conditions better than we do. However, that’s not entirely true. In fact, despite their thick coat of fur, dogs too need to stay warm and there are things as an owner you should be looking out for.

Dogs need sunshine

Like humans, dogs need vitamin D. It’s an essential nutrient that helps to regulate and balance their calcium and phosphorous levels, which are important factors when it comes to bone health. Furthermore, while some dogs are blessed with thick natural coats, those with thinner coats may benefit from walks in the early afternoon when the sun is shining. This is a good way to make sure your dog isn’t getting too cold while reducing the chance of hypothermia, which can affect dogs with poor health or circulation.

Keep your dog cosy

While you may want to limit your dog’s time outdoors during the colder months, a cosy place to sleep is a must in any home. Don’t let your pet sleep on uncarpeted or hard floors in winter and try to create a safe sleeping environment away from cold draughts. Heated pet beds can be a great way to keep tired and ageing joints from ceasing, whereas raised pet beds can prevent your pooch from having to sleep on cold floors. Blankets can also be a handy ally in creating a snug environment that will keep your dog comfortable in cold conditions.

Be wary of overfeeding

Dogs become less active in winter and while it’s not necessary to count calories for your pooch, it’s important their extra warmth doesn’t come from an extra layer of fat. Be attentive to your dog’s needs and behaviour, while a high-quality diet will promote a healthier coat that will keep them naturally warmer in the colder months. Cold temperatures can lead to lazier days for your dog, so a good mixture of exercise and monitoring their activity can be good ways to stay on top of overeating.

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