Winter and our dogs

Winter and Our Dogs


Winter is fast approaching, so now is the time to talk about our dog’s housing. During the extreme New England cold months temperatures can drop well below freezing, and the day time temperatures are often not much better. As we find ourselves spending more time inside to avoid the chill, our dogs are wanting to do the same. 

Dogs that are left outside in the colder months risk chills, respiratory problems and sinus issues. These are all serious health problems that can be avoided. Dogs that are chronically cold will also bark excessively and exhibit behavioural problems. Arthritis in dogs, as in humans, can also be exacerbated by the cold. If you notice that your dog suddenly becomes stiff, experiences difficulty moving around, or is reluctant to climb the stairs or get on the lounge, contact your vet as these are all symptoms of arthritis in dogs.

If possible, it is best to bring dogs inside at night during the colder months. A warm, soft bed in the laundry also an excellent option. If this cannot be done, dogs should be provided with a sheltered area such as a kennel where they can get out of the wind, rain and frost. Raised beds are ideal as they allow pets to get off the ground, where it is warmer and always dry as the damp can’t rise from the ground into the bedding. Blankets, old quilts, and even towels make excellent bedding for pets. A layer of newspaper at the bottom can also be helpful.

Dog coats are also an option. Dressing our pets up can be a fun experience for everyone, and can be practical as well! There are a huge range of coats available to suit dogs of all shapes and sizes, and can come in funky colours and textures. Small, old, thin and single-coated dogs especially benefit from the extra layer of protection from the wind and rain that a coat provides. 

Baths are still a good idea during winter; however, a little extra preparation is needed. When our dogs need a bath during winter, or they go for a swim or a run in the rain, it is important that they are not left outside to dry off as they can get very cold, very quickly. A towel can be used to dry them off, but a hairdryer on a low setting is an even better idea. You can dry your pet’s fur as you would dry your hair – making sure that the dryer is held far enough away to avoid a burn.

It is also important to consider that fleas are still active during the winter months, so it is necessary to continue with prophylactic parasite control all year round. Some pets will grow extra hair in preparation for the cold, so it may not be obvious that there is a problem until it is very advanced.

If you would like any specific advice about your pet’s housing during winter, or are concerned about arthritic symptoms please contact us (02) 6778 3133 or drop into the clinic.

Monday – Friday 8:30am – 5:30pm

Saturday 9am – 12 Midday

A veterinarian is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for emergencies. Please note, this service is shared with Greencross Armidale.