With the cooler weather almost upon us, we are often asked by owners about their pet’s needs in winter. To clear things up, we decided to ask Pet Express’ resident Vet Dr Jessica a few frequently asked questions.
- PE: Is it important to exercise our dogs in winter, even though it’s freezing outside?
- Dr Jessica: Winter activities can vary widely depending on what kind of dog you have, their personality, and the severity of the weather. Most dogs really need to get out year round, even in colder weather. Dogs who really enjoy the outdoors and colder temperatures can have just as much exercise in the winter as the summer. You can keep your walks shorter for ones who don’t enjoy the winter weather as much. If it is snowy, check the bottoms of your dog’s paws. Many longer haired dogs will have snow clump between their pads and have trouble walking.
- PE: Are coats and jackets a good idea for pets who spend time outside during winter?
- Dr Jessica: Some dogs with thin coats will benefit from a jacket, and find freezing temperatures much more enjoyable with the extra insulation. If left outside in more severe winter weather conditions without adequate shelter, thin coated dogs can be in danger, so monitor for signs of distress such as trembling.
- PE: Does my dog or cat need to eat more in winter to help survive the cold?
- Dr Jessica: Because people and animals often are less active in the winter months, I often find that people need to feed their dogs less during the winter. If you and your dog are very active, or if your dog is primarily outside, then you may need to increase their food proportionally.
- PE: Does my pet still need lots of fresh water, even though it’s cold outside and they may not be as thirsty?
- Dr Jessica: Fresh water is always necessary, even if your dog isn’t drinking as much as during the hot summer. In freezing temperatures, make sure your dog’s water bowl isn’t frozen through.