As winter approaches, it is important to take into consideration you dogs welfare and the days become shorter and colder. Below are some tips to keep your dog safe and warm during the winter months.
As it gets colder, we wrap ourselves up with more layers – coats, jumpers, scarves, hats and gloves, consider that your dog may feel the cold too. Short haired dogs, especially breeds such as Greyhounds, Lurchers and Vizslas certainly feel the cold and small dogs often get a little chilly – so invest in a suitable outdoor coat. There are a vast array of coats on the market and these breeds or indeed any dog that feels the cold will feel the benefit of a warm waterproof coat when it’s raining or particularly cold. If you’re out on a long walk, your dog will keep warm by running but if you take a break and stop to chat to another owner for instance, that’s when the cold can really take hold of your dog, so bear this in mind when you are walking in winter.
In the winter months, it is usually dark by 5.00pm, therefore it is important that both you and your dog can be easily seen after dark. Both you and your dog should have some sort of reflective or bright items to enhance your visibility to others. There are many products on the market – collars and leads which have reflective piping incorporated within the design; flashing ‘light up’ collars; pet blinkers, which are small LED lights you can attach to a dog’s collar or halo collars, which are thin plastic tubes that light up around your dog’s neck. For your the owner, there are a whole host of reflective coats from light fluorescent jackets to designer bespoke coats with reflective strips incorporated within the design. Some people also hang a bicycle light from their dogs collar as it’s something they already have – this is also very effective. Just remember to be seen and be safe.
Walking in the Dark
Generally speaking, I do not recommend that you let your dog off the lead in the dark unless you are 100% confident that the park you are in is entirely enclosed with any gates closed and that your dog has an excellent recall. Accidents happen more often at night and with foxes coming out earlier and cats about on the prowl, even the ‘safest dog’ can be eager to investigate and can easily get lost.
Walking in the dark can be quite daunting – keep to well lit areas and always walk on the pavement. Always cross roads at traffic lights or pedestrian crossings and teach your dog road safety – make your dog sit at kerbs and only walk across the road when you command him/her to do so.
Post Walk Care
Always keep an old towel by your front door – coming in from a cold, wet and windy walk can mean your carpets get ruined! It’s a good idea to invest in a ‘dirt trapper mat’ but it’s best to train your dog to wait inside the door enabling you to dry them off and wipe dirty paws before they go racing through the house leaving muddy paw prints on your nice clean carpet! I recommend crate training your dog – during the wet, winter months, your dog will appreciate a nice warm dry crate to snuggle down in and dry off. At night, you can cover your crate with a duvet which can help keep the drafts away at night-time.
To follow up or make an appointment or find out more information about Ringwood Dogs, Ashley Heath on the Dorset and Hampshire border, please contact Isabelle Adams-Papé by clicking on the Contact Me tab.
I look forward to meeting you and working with your dogs.
Happy dog training.