Sleeping on the floor can be damaging to a dog’s health. Older dogs are prone to back problems and should sleep on a specially designed orthopaedic bed. Clean beds regularly, replace once a year and keep attentive to signs of discomfort.
Small dogs, and those with cropped fur, lose heat rapidly. Even with larger dogs, provide several blankets, especially when outside. For inside, set up an area away from draughts, and aim for a few layers of blanket between your dog and the floor.
Even if your dog has a thick, furry coat, it may still feel the cold. A heat mat is a perfect way to provide extra warmth, especially for older dogs with arthritic joints and small dogs who lose heat rapidly. Look for signs of cold, such as shivering and cold ears.
While not all dogs should wear a coat during winter, smaller ones, older dogs and those with shorter fur are more susceptible to the cold. Look for coats designed specifically for your breed and ensure it fits snugly and securely.
When dogs get wet in winter, it’s important to dry them as quickly as possible, to prevent them from catching a chill. The most important thing to look for in a mitt or towel is rapid absorbance, so that wet fur or muddy paws only need wiping once.
With fewer days outside in winter, it’s important to take your dog for regular walks. A collar and lead should allow you to stay in control. Dogs with need obedience problems may need a slip collar and training lead or harness, while others need only a simple collar and lead.