Enjoy Winter with Your Senior Dog
In Northern California, we get to enjoy mild winters. However, when the sun drops, so do the temperatures. So you want to ensure that your senior dog stays warm and free from joint pain, especially if you travel to ski country. Senior dogs tend to get colder quicker, have more health issues and generally need more TLC in the winter months. By taking a few precautions and staying alert for signs of hypothermia, you can enjoy a white or wet winter with your senior pooch safely.
Since senior dogs find it harder to regulate their body temperature than younger pups, they tend to get cold more easily, making it critical to ensure that they are warm, even inside. Keep the heat up in your home to a comfortable temperature even if you are away all day. No need for a sauna, but keep some heat on. Add extra blankets and warmer bedding to your senior dog’s crate, dog bed or favorite napping place. And for short-coated dogs, consider a doggie sweater or coat to hold in more body heat. A dog sweater is a great idea for outside walks for dogs of all types.
While you want to avoid going outside for too long in below-freezing weather, we recommend taking regular outdoor walks with your senior dog. On days too cold or wet, play games that provide mental stimulation and mild physical activity. Keeping your senior dog moving is not only good for their waistline but improves heart health and keeps old joints from getting too stiff.
Regular movement will keep your senior dog’s joints lubricated. If your dog already suffers from arthritis, cold weather can aggravate its symptoms. An orthopedic bed can provide relief, or consider adding a glucosamine and chondroitin supplement to their diet to aid joint health. Always talk to your veterinarian before adding any new medications to your dog’s diet.
Visit the Vet
Happy Hound in Oakland offers professional veterinary services, including vaccinations, wellness checks, senior pet care, and virtual appointments, so that you can get the expert advice and treatment your dog deserves in a less stressful environment. It is a good idea to bring your senior dog in for a check-up this winter to adjust any paid meds or address new signs of joint pain and inflammation.
Protect Those Paws
While we get more rain than snow here in the Bay Area, you still want to protect your senior dog’s paws on walks. Slick roads, muddy areas and hidden ice are all potential obstacles in Northern California winter.
Dog boots are a great way to protect your pup’s paws, keep them free from debris or salt, and prevent slipping. If your dog just won’t wear the booties, we get it! Try trimming the fur between your dog’s paw pads to prevent snow or debris from clumping there and keeping your dog cold.
If you visit areas that get snow, a doggie vest can help to keep ice balls from forming on your senior dog’s fur coat, in addition to keeping them warmer. After a frolic in the snow, inspect your dog’s fur and paws for dirt, salt or ice clumps. Then give your pup a good towel dry to remove excess moisture, which can keep your dog from warming back up. If you take your dog on a walk over salted or treated sidewalks, you must wipe down their paws, as that salt is toxic and should not get licked off their paws. Give their ears and belly a once over, too, to dry any wet areas and remove snow clumps.
Senior Dog Daycare
Happy Hound in Oakland, California, offers award-winning dog daycare with a special focus on senior dogs. Our Lounge Around Town is just for older dogs and those that need a more chill atmosphere. Happy Hound limits the number of dogs at any one time in Lounge Around Town to ensure maximum space and relaxation for our senior dogs. When your senior dog stays at Happy Hound dog daycare, they will have access to the warmest and comfiest dog beds, plenty of water, sunlight and attention from our trained professionals. We’ll turn on the heat and take your senior pet on a walk suited for their activity level.
Winter can be wonderful for your senior dog when you plan ahead and make a few adjustments to keep them warm, comfortable and safe. Bring out the dog sweaters, booties and even hats – if they will tolerate it! Add warmer blankets and a plush dog bed to your pup’s sleeping areas to keep them warm all day and night. Make sure your dog is completely dry after playing outside, and keep an eye on their health with regular visits to the vet. Senior dogs should get regular walks even in cold weather to avoid pain from stiff joints and keep them active and healthy.
Happy Hound offers veterinary services in a relaxed atmosphere or set up a virtual visit so you and your senior dog can stay warm and cozy at home. And when you have to be gone for the day, your senior dog will love Happy Hound dog daycare at Lounge Around Town with its warm dog beds, socialization time and plenty of belly rubs. And, go ahead, give your senior pet some extra doggie treats this winter and holiday season – they need the extra calories to stay warm and keep up their energy levels.