Calling all dog owners! Here’s how to make winter more bearable for your canine pal

keep your dogs warm in winter
Sporte The Frenchie wears Fuzzyard Hoody, Leather collar from Pup n Pussy

Chances are you’re not the only one who’s sorry to see the balmy autumn months racing past. Our dogs suffer when the cold, wet and dark seasons hit too!

One of the biggest issues veterinarians see in winter is an increase in the discomfort of dogs with arthritis. As in humans, the colder weather plays havoc with your pet’s joints and can exacerbate pre-existing conditions.

Watch out for these signs that suggest your pooch is uncomfortable:

  • Difficulty getting out of bed
  • Reluctance to sit down
  • Baulking at stairs
  • Tremors in the legs
  • No longer jumping on the couch
  • Slower than usual on walks

If you notice any of these changes, you should of course take a trip to your vet to get a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan. In some cases the treatment involves medications but in ALL cases there are simple things you can do at home to help ease your dog’s discomfort.

Some of these things include:

  • Keeping your dog in consistent temperatures. That means NOT letting them laze by the fire then suddenly putting them outside. Extremes of temperatures cause pain.
  • Make sure their beds are well insulated or slightly raised off the floor.
  • Get a ‘doggie jumper’ – sure, they’re really cute, but they’re great for keeping your pet snug and warm too.
  • Anticipate the cooler months and time any grooming appropriately so that your pooch has their full coat for winter.
  • Make sure they get consistent low-intensity exercise to keep their joints moving.
  • If possible, use ramps to help them in and out of the car, up stairs or getting onto the couch (or bed if they’re lucky!).

The other important thing to consider during the colder months is keeping your dog’s weight under control. As the temperature plummets and the days grow darker, we all tend to eat more and exercise less. We feel like walking them less, and they can often feel the same. Not only is excessive weight gain bad for your dog’s general health but it also worsens the pain associated with arthritis.

So, spare a thought for your fury companions during winter and help them stay pain-free and totally happy!

 

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Dr Josie Gollan
If anyone can make veterinary science look good, it’s Dr Josie Gollan. Since graduating from Sydney University with Bachelor of Veterinary Science (with First Class Honours), Josie has practiced as both an equine and small animal vet. Currently, Josie is a dedicated vet at Sydney’s Animal Doctors clinic, treating creatures both big and small. She is an avid horse-rider and her love for, as well as extensive knowledge of the equine industry has facilitated Josie securing her title as the ‘Official Race Day Veterinarian’ for Racing NSW. Adding to this, Josie has written numerous articles for Trackside Magazine. Josie was a Guest Reporter on the broadcast of Channel 9’s Magic Millions in 2014. Josie also regularly appears on the Nine Network’s Today show as a Guest Vet to educate viewers on pet-related stories. Away from the camera, Josie is a sought-after keynote for many leading events in the vet and pet industry including the Dog Lovers Show held recently in Sydney where she performed two talks per day on the main stage. There isn’t much this beauty can’t do! Josie has a passion for travel and is a sporting enthusiast - tennis, hockey, touch-football and athletics are among her hobbies. She is even a certified ski instructor!