It’s finally fall, which means winter is just around the corner. If you’re the doting parent of a senior dog, you may know that the chilly temperatures can be hard on him, and wonder what you can do to help.
In the words of Dr. Selmer: “Like me, as our dogs get older, the winters will get harder on them. When it gets cold out, that cold goes right to my bones. I’m sure our senior furry friends feel the same way. Here are a few simple things you can do to help make the winters a little easier on our senior dogs:
1. Limit your time outside or bundle your pooch up. The winter chill can penetrate even their coats, and we could all use a little protection from the elements. Every dog will have different tolerances to cold. A good general rule is, if you’re cold… well then, your dog probably is, as well. Don’t forget doggy booties. Frozen paws and rock salt burns will not make the winter wonderland any more fun for you or your best friend, plus booties will give them extra traction.
2. Take arthritis into consideration. You know what they say: “the chill goes straight to your bones.” Well, imagine if you had arthritis. Joint protectant supplements are a great idea to help keep those older joints healthy. Keeping your dog moving will also help keep those joints lubricated. So, as we spend more time inside, you can still get off the couch and play with your dog – keep ‘em exercising!
3. Offering them a padded dog bed is another great tip. It will keep your dog off the cold floors and help provide warm, soft bedding to lie in on those cold nights.
4. Feed them healthy comfort food! When it’s cold, even I start looking for warm comfort foods. Foods, like medicine, have effects on the body. Some foods are actually warming to the body. Good, wholesome, human grade warm food does a body good. But remember, always consult with a Veterinary Nutritionist or a Certified Veterinary Food Therapist before adjusting your dog’s diet. My book has an entire chapter on how to use food as medicine.
5. Take him or her in for a check up. With labor day vacations, trips to the beach, getting the kids ready for back to school, meeting the teacher, checking off our supply list, and dealing with all the changes in our schedule, your focus may not have been on your pet as we get closer to the winter. I just dropped my daughter off in Maryland for college and got my son settled into high school. It’s been busy. I get it. But now that things are calming down a bit, let’s take a more deliberate look at our pets and see if there’s anything we may have overlooked in the end-of-summer hustle and bustle. Call your veterinarian and make an appointment for an examination for your best furry friend.”