Be prepared for what winter brings

Tips for house-training a puppy when it’s cold outside:

Potty training a puppy is already potentially messy business and when winter is around it can become even more tedious. Your little puppy may not want to go outside at all! Here are a few tips to make the process a little easier:

  1. Take your dog out, don’t just put him out: You will need to be more involved in the process of getting your puppy to do his business outside, especially if he’s more sensitive to the cold. You would think he would know what to do once he’s outside, but he may get preoccupied with the cold weather. Try and take your pup to the same spot and give a verbal command as well.
  2. Be prepared: It’s also crucial that you know the signs when your puppy is ready to ‘go’. Try to make the process of getting outdoors a little quicker by having everything you need in one basket at the door. Keep the collar, leash and waste bags together so that you can grab them and go.
  3. Stay calm: It’s important to not make a big deal of the process of taking your dog outside to do his business, even if he seems to not enjoy it. Be mindful too, that once the temperature dips below about 10°C, it can start to affect the dogs’ pads on their feet. Keep your dog’s paws protected in the cold weather.
  4. Consider an Alternative: If it’s a struggle to get your dog to go out in winter, weigh up your options to decide if it’s worth the fight. What about using a litter box or training pads for a short time as an alternative for those dogs that hate the cold.

There are many things you can do to ensure your four-legged family members are safe, warm, comfy and healthy all winter long. Accept keeping their coats long and free of mats; you can also provide a jersey or doggy jacket for a short-haired, older or frail pet. Below is also a list of other things you can do to minimise the effects of the cold:

  1. Take your pets for a vet check-up: Take your pet for a health check-up, especially if you have a senior pet. A visit to the vet is an excellent way to ensure your dog is healthy before the cold winter arrives.
  2. Let your pet’s coat grow: Do not shave your pet’s hair short during the autumn and winter. A longer coat will keep your dog warmer. Keep your pet groomed and make sure that the hair does not get matted. Groom your pet often.
  3. Keep your dog indoors: Give your dog the option of being able to go in and out of the house. If it is not possible, try and keep them inside on freezing days or offer them a kennel with blankets outside.
  4. Keep your pet well exercised: It’s essential to maintain your pet’s physical condition all year round. If you allow your dog to become a couch potato in winter, you increase his risk of injury when he starts exercising again in the spring. If you live in a location that gets cold and wet during the winter months, it can especially be challenging to ensure your dog stays physically active.
  5. Provide a jersey for short-haired, senior or frail dogs: Some pets won’t wear clothing, no matter how chilly it might be. But if your pet tolerates it well, a doggy jersey can help keep your dog warm, especially when you take her outdoors.
  6. Be extra careful with your senior, arthritic or frail pet: Cold weather can be especially tricky for senior pets and those with a joint disease like arthritis. Get them a supplement to relieve their pain and make sure they get gentle exercise to keep their joints healthy.
  7. Keep your pet safe from potentially dangerous heat sources: If you use a fireplace or space heater, expect your pet to lie near it for warmth. Keep a close watch to ensure no part of her body comes into contact with flames, heating oils or other hot surfaces. She can easily burn herself or knock over a heating unit and put everyone in the house in danger.

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