Ways to Keep Your Senior Dog Healthy During the Winter
Winter can be a difficult time for your senior dog.
It can be hard to get her out to play, the days are shorter, and the temperatures drop. Don’t let winter get the best of you and your dog though. There are ways to keep your senior dog happy and healthy this season. Consider the following three ideas.
1. Make the Time For Exercise
Winter can be a tough time to get your senior dog outside. For starters, she may not want to go outside all that often. The cold will affect your senior dog more than it would have when she was an adult. This doesn’t mean that your senior dog won’t benefit from getting outside and going on a short walk. This can be hard to do if it gets dark at 3:00pm, but keep in mind that your senior dog does not need that long of a walk. Even a walk just to the end of the block can help her keep healthy and strong. Getting your dog outside does many important things, even if she is only out there for a quick jaunt to the mail box.
First of all, exercise helps your senior dog stay at a healthy weight. Dogs are like people and as we all age, our metabolisms slow down. If we don’t stay active, we all will put on extra weight. Help your dog fight those extra pounds by getting her walking.
Exercise also helps your dog’s joints stay active and healthy. This is especially true for dogs with arthritis. While an arthritic dog who overuses her joints will find her pain levels increasing, an arthritic dog who goes on walks appropriate for her condition will find her pain levels staying constant, or even dropping. There is evidence that in order for joints to produce lubrication, they need to be used. The lubrication in your dog’s joints helps her joints move without pain. So, if you take your dog for a walk, you will help her joints produce lubrication, and this help her fight her pain.
Another important part about getting your senior dog outside in the winter is the mental stimulation it gives her. I want you to imagine yourself outside on a crisp winter night. Those silent winter nights feel different don’t they? Yes they do, and not only that, but they smell different as well. Dogs sense a lot through smell, and winter evenings are great for smelling a whole new host of smells. Allowing your dog to get outside and smell the winter air does wonders for her mental state. She will look forward to being outside, and a dog who looks forward to going outside is a happy dog.
2. Get Your Dog a Bed Heater
Another thing you can do to ensure your dog stays healthy over the winter is to get her a bed warmer. As dogs age their skin and fur starts to thin. This means that they cannot insulate tthemselves like they used to. As a result they get cold easier. If your senior dog has to spend a significant portion of her energy to keep warm, that energy is not being used to help keep her body strong. Getting your dog a dog bed warmer will allow your dog to stay warm without her having to use precious energy to do it. Some companies even build heaters to be compatible with their beds