5 ways to keep your dogs healthy in the colder months.
Just like people, dogs are more susceptible to illness during wet and cold winter weather. Some dogs have thicker coats and more rugged bodies and suit colder weather whereas other breeds prefer warmer weather and struggle in the colder months. Taking a few small steps can ensure that your loved pet stays healthy and happy through winter!
Exercise Dogs need to be walked and get enough exercise, even when it's cold. You can reduce the risk of your dog getting too cold by walking late morning or early afternoon. If the sun is out, take advantage of the sun and play with your dog outside with his coat off (if he wears one). It's important that your dog gets sunlight on his coat. After walks, check your dogs paws for mud and ice and give his legs and feet a clean with a dry towel. Watch your dog of signs of shivering and signs of being too cold. If your dog is arthritic make sure you walk on conditions that are solid and not too slippery.
Grooming and washing In cold weather, limit washing your dog too much especially if he's got a thick coat that takes a long time to dry. Instead, take him outside with a brush and give him a good groom. If you do need to wash your dog, use warm water and ensure your dog is totally dry.
Feeding your dog Dogs (and people!) that tend to be less active in the colder months should not have their food quantity increased - feeding more tends to make them sluggish and gain weight. The exception to this is if you own an an outside dog (or one that is still exercising) then the calorie needs do need to be increased. You could also warm the food you give him to make it more appealing for him in the colder months. Stick to a raw food and veg diet but bring to room temperature, rather than feeding directly from the fridge. By including a serve of nutritive herbs and 'green vegetable matter' in your dog's food, your animal will consume additional nutritional and systemic support that his body can freely access and utilised. This is a much more powerful option than including prepared packet foods with added vitamins and minerals (that are usually artificial).
Bedding Rather than allowing your dog or sit next to a heater, it's better that you give your dog warm and cozy bedding and allow him/her to adjust his own body temperature. Make sure that the bedding is off cold tiles or concrete. Sitting directly next to a heater can also be a safety hazard - do not allow dogs to sit really close to direct heat. If your dog is an outdoor dog, considerations for the cold need to be made. Ensure the bed is at least 10cm off the cold ground (bedding that sits directly on the ground will absorb the cold). The doorway should be protected from wind and the cover should be rain proof.
Herbs and supplements Adding and using herbs and supplements during the winter months can help maintain good health. Garlic is well known for its qualities as an immune-stimulant, antioxidant, antiparasitic, and blood tonic. Kelp is used to strengthen and promote the glands. It controls the thyroid and regulates metabolism. It is a sustainer to the nervous system and the brain, and is a terrific hormone regulator. It contains over 30 essential minerals and vitamins. Kelp is one of the highest sources of minerals and vitamins. Nettle has been traditionally used as a blood tonic. High in bio available iron, rich in vitamins and minerals. Used also as an expectorant for the lungs,reproductive system, kidneys, and urinary tract. It is an excellent example of 'food as medicine' and can be included in a dog's food as 'green vegetable matter'. Fenugreek is primarily used to stimulate the canine's lymphatic system and decreases inflammation. Rosehips and Maritime Pine Bark are both two of the very best sources of natural supplies iron and Vitamin C. For dogs without arthritis, this is a good supplement to add to the list of recommended products for improved immunity, vitality etc throughout winter
The McDowells Arthritis and Rheumatism formula supports and can detoxify the dog's system, reduce inflammation and stimulate circulation. Owners have reported that their dog has had improved mobility and comfort with continued use.