Dogs in autumn and winter: colorfully colored leaves, snow-covered landscapes or bright sunshine – this is how autumn and winter show their beautiful sides. But unfortunately in the autumn and winter time the days are getting shorter and the weather is getting wetter and colder. Four experienced dog experts will give you tips and advice on how you and your dog can get through the dark season safely and safely.
Visibility means security: luminous collar reflective clothing
When the days get shorter, you often have to go for a walk in the dark with your dog. Illuminated collars or flashing lights should be used in order to be seen by other road users in good time. Reflective leashes and collars further increase visibility. But not only the dog should be clearly visible to others, but also its owner. The same applies here: wear bright and reflective clothing as far as possible and use flashing lights if necessary. “A small flashlight often proves to be helpful in the dark, in order to be able to perceive pitfalls on the floor in good time and to be able to help the dog if, for example, it has kicked a stone in the paw,” advises Neele Nyhof from the Fiffibene blog. For its own safety, it also recommends crossing busy roads only in illuminated and easily visible places.
Silvana Brangenberg from the Kalte Schnauze Blog also points out that the hunting season is in full swing again in autumn. “The human-dog team should protect themselves not only on the streets, but also in the forest and in the hallway with sufficient visibility in order to be discovered by the hunters in good time.” Also remember that our four-legged friends are different from us , can orientate very well even in the dark and perceive wild animals far ahead of us. For dogs that are not safe to call, the use of tow lines is therefore recommended.
Autumn – the time for the change of fur
Many dogs change their fur in autumn. Support your dog by brushing his fur regularly and thus removing the dead hair. This is important for the heat regulation of the dog’s fur, because it allows the air to circulate better. In order not to destroy the body’s own layer of fat on the skin, which serves to protect against cold and wet conditions, frequent dog bathing should be avoided. If you come home from a muddy walk with your dog, dry his fur thoroughly and remove any lumps of ice if necessary. Find out more about grooming your dog here.
Beware of parasites
Autumn is also a time of parasites: ticks love damp weather conditions and mild temperatures. They are therefore particularly active in autumn. Use anti-parasitic agents such as anti-tick collars or spot-on preparations to protect your dog from a tick bite and the communicable diseases. When romping across meadows and through piles of leaves, autumn grass mites can also stick to your dog’s body, especially on the abdomen, groin, ears and toes between the toes. They are sometimes recognizable as small orange-red dots and trigger itching. The increased scratching of the dog can cause secondary infections with inflammation and crusts. If you suspect an autumn grass mite infestation, see a veterinarian.
Paw care in winter
Rebecca Noeh from the Les Wauz blog advises paying particular attention to adequate care for the dog’s paws: “In autumn and winter, the length of the dog’s claws should be checked regularly. Foliage and snow often transform the paths into soft surfaces, on which the claws are more difficult to grind off. This can also show you the right technique for shortening the claws. You can find further information on the correct cutting of dog’s claws in the Dog Advisor: Claw Care section.
In winter, the roads and paths are often prepared with road salt or grit. Both attack the sensitive dog paws. Therefore, cream your dog’s paws with a paw care for dogs before the walk. This prevents the paws from tearing and thus protects the dog from burning pain that would cause salt and grit in cracked skin. After running on strewn paths, rinse the paws with lukewarm water to remove the salt from the paws.
Worsening of joint complaints
The wet and cold weather in autumn and winter can lead to an aggravation of symptoms in dogs with joint disease. The affected dogs may now show increased pain when running and a poor gait. During the walks together, pay attention to how your dog feels and whether he shows any symptoms. In this case, make the walk shorter and keep your dog warm enough. Even in the apartment, a blanket can be placed in the dog bed in the cold winter. In any case, talk to your veterinarian about suitable pain therapy.
Adapt walks to fall and winter
Generally, dogs should always keep moving during a winter walk in cold weather so that they can produce sufficient body heat. Do this quickly without long breaks and avoid sitting or lying down too often. The length of the walk should be adjusted to the dog’s condition. Start your way home at the latest when your dog is freezing or feeling uncomfortable. In particular, smaller, older, sick and dogs with only sparse hair often do not cope well with freezing temperatures. In order to support these dogs in their heat production and to protect them from colds or bladder infections, it makes sense to keep them warm with a suitable functional dog coat.
Attention: snow gastritis! Snow is not for the dog’s stomach
Snow has a magical effect on many dogs and invites them to romp and roll wildly. However, you should make sure that your dog does not eat snow. Therefore, if possible, do not animate him to hunt and catch snowballs. Eating snow can ignite the gastric mucosa and cause snow gastritis. Symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, coughing and fever occur. If there is road salt or even antifreeze in the snow, this is even more dangerous. Antifreeze agents in particular are highly toxic to dogs and lead to severe symptoms of intoxication even when only small amounts are ingested.
Do dogs get a cold?
Dogs can also catch a cold and then show typical symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge or mild fever. You can find more information about the common cold in dogs in our guide.
Dog food in winter
In winter, many dogs have special nutritional requirements. Due to the falling temperatures, the dog’s energy requirements often increase, as they consume more calories at sub-zero temperatures to maintain their body temperature than on a mild summer day. Therefore, dogs that are kept outdoors have an energy requirement that is up to 90% higher. In addition to adjusting the amount of energy, special attention should also be paid to a supply of vitamins, minerals and trace elements in winter. With an optimal supply of nutrients, your dog stays fit and healthy even in winter.
Employment opportunities for autumn and winter days
On beautiful autumn days, the colorful foliage is particularly inviting for small games. Nicole Goetz from the dog blog Moe & Me suggests: “Build a small pile of leaves from the leaves and hide part of your dog’s food ration in them. Then let your dog search for it. He will surely be at work with enthusiasm. Never use leaves that are already lying down, because a hedgehog may have already hibernated in them. ”
When rain and strong autumn storms rage outside, it becomes all the more cozy inside. Take advantage of this and work out new little tricks with your dog in the apartment, such as “role”, “give paw” or “be ashamed””. Perhaps you have always wanted to teach him useful commands, such as turning the light switch on and off or bringing the phone when the doorbell rings. You can also carry out small search games in the apartment or promote his intelligence with the help of so-called intelligence toys.