Winter and the cold weather is hard on all pets and senior dogs need some extra attention during the harsh winter months. The cold weather tends to aggravate existing medical conditions in senior dogs, particularly arthritis. Bitter cold, numbing wetness or biting winds can cause discomfort for our pups. Paying special attention to your senior dogs’ wellbeing during the winter season will help you both enjoy the winter.
Bring your senior dog to The Corner Vet for a check up
Because your senior dog may be in more pain during the winter than other months, it’s a good idea to take them to The Corner Vet (TCV) doctor for a check-up. It might even be the first time your dog has acted like he is arthritic. Make sure your pup is taking the proper dosages of their medications and talk to your vet about how to keep your dog healthy during winter.
Senior pets can get joint pain particularly in the winter months
One of the main concerns with senior pets during winter months is joint pain. Talk to your TCV vet about adding some Glucosamine, and Chondroitin to his diet, which helps to lubricate their joints, which can stiffen in a younger, healthy dog in the winter time and become painful.
Keep up the exercise during winter to avoid stiffening joints
It’s important to keep exercising your senior dog during the colder months to avoid stiffening of the joints. Try to watch for slippery surfaces and make sure your dog has a warm soft rest area to recuperate after activity. If you can take your dog out during the warmest part of the day, that helps too. You might even need to put boots on your dog’s feet to prevent slipping outside.
Clear the pathway and watch for slickness when taking your dog out.
Ramps and/or steps may be helpful. Make sure to clear a pathway when snow is on the ground so that your pet does not have to navigate the drifts. Be careful when it is icy or snowy out. Older pets may not move as quickly or be as flexible as their younger counterparts and injure themselves when it is slick outside.
Watch the scale and make sure your dog is eating a healthy diet!
Make sure to watch the scale! It is natural for pets who are less active to gain a few pounds during the winter months, but extra weight can be a huge burden for already arthritic joints. And, as always, make sure your dog is eating a healthy diet which will help keep him warmer and healthier during the winter months.
Sweaters can help older dogs with slower circulation keep warm
If your dog will tolerate wearing clothes, sweaters and boots can be a great way to help older animals with slower circulation stay warm this winter. Depending on the breed of your dog, you may also want to consider a dog jacket, or coat to protect them, especially in areas where the temperature can go below freezing, or areas where it gets very damp and cold.
Provide a warm, plush dog bed
A plush dog bed will keep your dog off the cold floor and it will reflect some of his own body heat back to your dog. An elevated dog bed can also keep your dog off the cold floor and it provides some extra support for his bones and joints. If your dog suffers from arthritis, you may even consider a memory foam dog bed for maximum bone and joint support.
Be sure ask us about our Fear Free approach when getting ready to bring your pet into one of our clinics for their next visit!