Dogs with a long shaggy coat don’t need extra protection indoors. So a Lhasa Apso or a St. Bernard would probably need a blanket only if they’re going out in severe cold. But if you have a pup, an elderly dog or ones with short coats, like Chihuahuas or Labradors, make sure you at least give them a blanket to tide over the cold.
Newborn puppies need a lot of warmth. Always put a 100-watt bulb above their resting spot. The heat from the light wards off respiratory infection and helps them grow, boosting their metabolism.
If your dogs stay indoors, get them good quality bedding and blankets, available in most pet stores. And make sure they don’t end up sharing your bed, for that’s unhygienic. If your dogs stay outdoors, make them a straw-and-gunnysack bed. Keep it at least half an inch above the ground, placing the bedding on a wooden platform.
Make sure you give your dog high-energy food with high protein and fat content. This increases metabolism and helps them stay warm. Mutton, beef, chicken, soy milk and curds have high protein. Also give them pet food rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6. Try supplement brands like Velcote or Nutri-Coat. These not only improve their coats but also boost their resistance to infections.
Give your dog fresh water everyday and change the water bowl at least twice. Dogs tend to drink less water during winter, so a water bowl left uncovered for long has a high chance of getting contaminated.
Regular grooming is a must. During winter, dogs shed less hair. Daily brushing helps remove dead hair and skin, helps improve blood circulation and keeps them warm. Mix two teaspoons of olive or coconut oil with 200ml lukewarm water and use this mix to sponge your dog. It will prevent the skin from drying out.
Bathe your dog every 15 days. If you give it a bath more frequently, the dog will lose body oil and have a dry skin. Use shampoos containing selenium, oatmeal or ketoconazole.
Dry shampoos — either sprays or powders — are a great help during winter. Sparingly sprinkle the shampoo powder or spray on the hair roots all over the body. Gently scrub the coat with a brush after two minutes. It removes dirt and makes for a cleaner, fresher dog to cuddle up to.
Parvovirus vaccine and deworming medicines must be administered before winter sets in. Parvovirus infection is common during winter, so prevent rather than cure. Older dogs, with arthritis or asthma, tend to suffer more during winter. Take a vet consultation to ensure that your pet stays healthy. Pet feed or supplements with glucosamine helps dogs with arthritis. And for all dogs, watch out for loose motion, vomiting blood and lack of appetite. If any of these symptoms occur, immediately consult a vet.
Winter is the best time to breed pups. Normal delivery is more frequent in winter and rearing newborns is easier. Since more dog shows are held in winter, a breeder finds more buyers.