â€œThe weather can affect our dogs just as much as it can affect us, especially cold and dreary winter weather,â€ says local Aussie Pooch Mobile Dog Wash and Care Founder, Chris Taylor â€œApart from typical winter ailments, being stuck inside can leave you both feeling bored and restless and add to that other conditions winter brings with it. But you can make sure your dog stays healthy and happy during the colder months.â€
Canine Cough is the most common infectious condition in dogs. It is caused by a highly contagious respiratory infection officially known as Bordetella Bronchiseptica and is often also caused by a virus called canine Parainfluensza, that can be best compared to the human version of a cold and is more prevalent in winter when itâ€™s cold and immunities are at a low.
It can be caught from contact with other dogs in the park, at puppy school, from your shoes if youâ€™ve walked through it in the street, or even from a dog that has canine cough living up to five kilometres away as itâ€™s airborne.
However there is a vaccine that can be administered by your Vet that helps reduce (not prevent) symptoms by up to 80%. So instead of your dog suffering from a high temperature, runny nose, loss of appetite and possible pneumonia, he will generally only develop a deep, noisy, dry sounding cough, resulting in a bit of yellowish bile coming up occasionally.
The good thing is that a dog will build up his own immunity to bordatella and parainfluenza after the first instance and it is very rare for him to get a second bout of either for the remainder of his life.
With a dogâ€™s thicker winter coat comes the increased need for grooming and a coat that is well cared for is essential. Removal of loose hair and knots means your dog will be able to maintain a warm body temperature, whereas a dirty, matted coat has no insulation properties. Proper coat maintenance can be achieved by regular brushing, bathing and hyrdobathing.
Also, when it is very cold shorthaired dogs and those with coarse coats or those that have had their hair clipped can feel the effects more, so you may consider purchasing special dog coat to keep him warm.
Dogs with indoor allergies, such as those allergic to dust mites, insects and other allergens within your home, may become worse in the winter as they spend more time indoors. Dogs may manifest these allergies by scratching or developing skin and ear infections that need to be treated by your Vet.
Medicated shampoos, conditioners and other treatments can alleviate some itching while also helping to treat infections. In addition, oral antibiotics or antifungal medications may be needed. Severe allergies may need to be treated with allergy shots or oral anti-inflammatory medications.
Supplements rich in Omega-3 fatty acids may also help to maintain a dogâ€™s healthy skin when exposed to high allergen levels.
Humidifiers can be especially helpful in homes with ducted heating/fan forced heaters that tend to be especially drying to a dogâ€™s skin.
Your Aussie Pooch Mobile Dog Wash and Care Operator or local Vet can prescribe the correct combination of medications, shampoos, and supplements to help alleviate allergies.
To ensure your dogâ€™s body is functioning to his full potential in winter, be sure to feed him a nutritious diet consisting of good quality dog food and supplements. And while dogs do need more food in winter as their bodies use more energy to regulate body temperature, donâ€™t be tempted to give Fido your hearty winter leftovers. If you do want to treat him, special doggy snacks like Aussie Pooch Mobileâ€™s Pooch Cookies and Liver Buds are ideal.
Water is also important in the winter, so provide fresh water daily both inside and outside.
A dog should stay active during the winter, so keep up your winter activities as often as possible. If it is too cold, wet or miserable to leave the house, set up some sort of activity that your dog can do indoors â€“ make an obstacle course, play hide and seek, running up and down stairs or an indoor version of fetch.
Rest is also important so your dog can build up and store the extra energy he needs to keep warm. A good balance of exercise and rest is key.
During winter itâ€™s essential to make sure your dogâ€™s environment is warm, dry and sheltered (away from drafty areas). Make sure his bedding is clean and warm and can be easily washed. If your dog sleeps inside make sure he doesnâ€™t sleep in the cold floor. Provide him with a dog bed or pillow to protect him from the cold floor.