Preparing Your Pet for Winter: Essential Joint and Muscle Care Tips

Preparing Your Pet for Winter: Essential Joint and Muscle Care Tips

As the Australian winter approaches, it's essential to remember that, just like us, our pets feel the chill too, even if they're not facing harsh snowy conditions. Though they may have a furry coat, domesticated pets are used to the comforts of home and can struggle with even mild cold. Here are some practical tips for keeping your dog warm, healthy, and happy during the cooler months.


Cosy Comforts for Chilly Nights



Dress for Warmth:

Investing in a good quality winter coat can greatly improve your dog's comfort during chilly walks. Choose a coat that covers from the neck to the base of the tail and also protects the belly. Make sure it's easy to put on and remove, comfortable, and, ideally, waterproof for those damp days.


Upgrade Their Bedding:

Ensure your dog has a warm place to sleep away from drafts. Elevate their bed off cold floors and consider adding extra blankets for insulation or a pet-safe heated mat for extra warmth, especially for older dogs or those with thinner coats.


Health and Nutrition Adjustments


Caloric Intake Adjustment


Increased Energy Needs:

For dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors, you might find that they require more food in the winter. The extra calories help them generate body heat and maintain their energy levels. However, for mostly indoor pets, the need for extra calories may not be as significant.


Watch for Weight Gain:

It's easy for pets to gain weight during the winter, especially if they're getting less exercise. Monitor your dog’s weight closely and adjust their food intake accordingly. A good balance is key—enough food to support their energy needs without leading to obesity.



Optimal Nutrient Mix


Proteins and Fats:

High-quality proteins and fats are crucial in winter as they provide the necessary energy and help to maintain body heat. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like fish oils, are excellent for joint health, which can worsen in the cold, and for keeping the dog’s coat healthy.


Vitamins and Minerals:

Ensure your dog's diet includes plenty of vitamins and minerals. Vitamins such as A and D can be particularly beneficial during the winter months. Vitamin A supports skin and coat health, helping to prevent dryness and flaking, while Vitamin D is essential for bone health, especially when natural sunlight exposure is reduced. If you are struggling to find time to take your dog outdoors for their daily dose of vitamin D, consider taking our Muscle 2 Bone Advanced + Vitamin D supplement which supports muscle and bone support with a combination of calcium, magnesium and vitamin D3.


Hydration is Key

Colder weather can lead to a decreased thirst drive, so it’s important to ensure that your dog remains adequately hydrated. Provide constant access to fresh water, and consider adding wet food to their diet to increase moisture intake.


Tailored Supplements

If your dog’s diet isn’t fulfilling all their nutritional needs, supplements can be a helpful addition. Glucosamine and chondroitin are beneficial for joint health, and fish oil supplements can enhance coat health and reduce inflammation. Always consult your vet before starting any new supplement to ensure it’s appropriate for your pet’s specific health needs.



Maintaining an Active Lifestyle


Keep Moving:

It's tempting to skip the walks when it's cold, but maintaining an exercise routine is crucial. Dress warmly and try shorter walks during the warmer part of the day. On particularly cold or wet days, consider indoor activities like playing with toys or training exercises to keep your dog physically and mentally stimulated.


Protect Their Paws and Coat:

Regular grooming helps manage your dog’s fur and skin health. Longer coats need frequent brushing to prevent matting, which can worsen in wet conditions. For their paws, keep the fur trimmed to reduce ice ball formation and consider pet-safe moisturisers if their pads get dry.

Safety and Comfort


Winter Wardrobe:

For dogs that feel the cold more intensely, such as greyhounds or older pets with thinner coats, consider indoor jumpers and outdoor coats. Start acclimating your pet to wearing clothes early, especially if they are a breed that isn't naturally suited to cold weather.


Create a Snug Environment:

Inside, make sure your dog’s sleeping area is warm and cosy. If they normally sleep on the floor, consider a raised bed to keep them off cold tiles or concrete. A soft blanket and a warm cushion can make a big difference.

Watch for Heat-seeking Behaviours:


If you notice your dog seeking out warmer spots frequently, this could be a sign they’re feeling too cold. Ensure their sleeping and resting areas are adequately warm and consider a safe heating solution like a veterinary-recommended heat pad.

By taking a few simple steps to address the cold, you can make winter a comfortable, joyful time for your dog. Keep up with their regular routines as much as possible, adjust their diet and clothing as needed, and ensure their bedding is warm and cosy to fend off the chill. With these precautions, you can enjoy the season together safely and comfortably.

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