Ready for winter on four paws

The cold winter months are always a challenge for both dogs and their owners. The days are shorter, which means that walks in the dark are more frequent. Salt is used on the streets after it snows or when it’s icy. And if a dog is unlucky, it can even catch a cold. The experts from Maxi Zoo have tips to help you get through the winter without incident.

In winter it doesn’t get light out until late in the morning, and becomes dark again early in the evening. It’s important to remember that motorists and other road users see you much worse and later than usual when you walk your dog. Both you and you dog should wear reflectors or blinking lights for this reason. Reflectors on clothing, collar or leash make you and your dog more visible to motorists, even at great distances. There are blinking lights that fit on dog collars, and reflecting safety vests. Both solutions reduce the risk of not being seen. If you walk your trained dog without a leash when it’s dark, a blinking light will help you keep an eye on him.

Caring for paws

When ice or snow returns again for the first time things can begin to get uncomfortable for our four-legged friends. Salt on the roads and pavements can be so harsh on paws that they begin to hurt. Hard chunks of ice and snow or frozen paths can also be hazardous. But there is something you can do for your pet: If you carefully cut the hair between the paw pads this can help prevent the ice and snow from getting caught there. Rub Vaseline or a special paw cream into the callused paws for added protection against salt. Be extra careful on frozen ground and don’t overly excite your dog because accidents are more likely to occur during fast sprints or movements. When you come home you should wipe off your doggie’s paw pads with a warm, wet towel. And by the way, there are even snow shoes for dogs called booties! They are waterproof, but are easy to lose in deep snow and are only really suitable for cleared paths.

Dogs need warmth too

Just because they have thick fur doesn’t mean dogs can’t catch a cold in winter. This applies especially for very young, old or weak dogs, which could benefit from wearing a coat. Even strong, healthy dogs can use a bit of extra care. If it’s cold and wet outside, or if the animal just took a bath, make sure to dry the fur right away with a towel. Have a warm, dry place ready for your pet in the home. If you have a very cold floor, an extra layer of insulation such as a thick pillow or blanket can help.

Winter blues? Not with these top tips!

Scientists believe that animals can suffer from seasonal depression too. Less natural light causes hormonal changes, and that can put anyone in a bad mood! Animals generally display behavioural changes, become lethargic and do not seem to be as happy as in summer. The experts from specialist chain store Maxi Zoo have some tips on how to make exercising in the fresh air and cosy times at home more appealing to cats and dogs in wintertime.

Fresh air and light are just the right things to beat bad moods and lethargy in dogs. Take time out for your four-legged friend and play a new game like letting him search for his ball in the snow. Make sure that your dog does not eat too much snow as this does not agree with a lot of animals. Games and exercise also help burn off a few extra calories to beat the pounds which tend to increase during the winter months. Rapid weight gain causes physical strains, greater discomfort and even more lethargy. Bear in mind that your pet uses up far more calories than normal during cold weather and from frolicking around in the cold. So, if you keep up the accustomed intensity of your walks during the winter, compensate for increased calorie burning by giving your pet extra food. When doing this, pay close attention to the feeding instructions on the packet and adjust the size of the portion to the higher calorific requirement accordingly. A balanced diet is especially important for strengthening the immune system during winter and covers the increased need for vital nutrients. But if you don’t walk your dog so often when it’s cold, it will not need any extra food.
Call into your local store today to discuss your dog’s personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts.