Three Ways to Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy This Winter
By Veterinarian, Charmaine Tham
Protect your pooch from Winter’s harsh chills with a boost of health and loads of tender loving care. Here are some of my top tips for how to improve your dog’s health during the cooler months.
1. Vitamin Boost & Joint Support
For most pets a balanced commercial diet rich in essential fatty acids, minerals and vitamins as well as exercise is all they need to keep them healthy. However, the optimal balance can be hard to maintain especially if lots of treats, alternative diets (such as raw diets) or home-prepared meals are given. Through supplementing them with key vitamins, trace minerals, antioxidants and amino acids, you can help make sure that they not only receive all the vitamins they need to prevent a problem, but benefit from having optimal levels in their bodies. A multi-vitamin can be given year round to help support their general health and well being.
During winter, being cold can put extra stress on their bodies and the same goes for our pets. This is especially so for joints and many dogs experience more pain and soreness from arthritis from the cold weather. Supplementing them with glucosamine, chondroitin and New Zealand green-lipped mussel can help reduce the inflammation and help them feel better.
2. Healthy Tummies
We eat soups and hearty foods in winter, so it makes sense to boost your dog’s nutrition in the colder months too.
Avoid getting sucked into buying dog foods that just have ‘tasty bits’, and opt for real food, and preferably not ones that have been sitting on the shelf for too long. It’s good to check the use by date to determine how fresh the feed is.
If you want, you could also add some natural superfoods to their everyday diet in small amounts. Try a teaspoon of flaxseed, a squirt of coconut oil or sprinkle of chia seeds to your dog’s meals for a nutrient-dense snack. Small amounts of broccoli, kale, blueberries, goji berries, sweet potato and raw pumpkin seeds are among a few other superfoods that can also be given. They are full of vitamins and antioxidants that can help support your pet’s health. You can also find these ingredients in a convenient chew form as well, which can be offered as a healthy treat instead of ‘junk food’ treats.
For upset stomachs, boosting their good gut bacteria might be helpful, such as a multi-strain probiotic powder containing fermented natural fibres from superfoods.
3. Love Their Fur & Ears
Winter’s chill may leave your dog’s nose, skin and coat going from wet to dry, and cracked. Feed them a multivitamin that contains biotin and silica to help support their skin and coat.
Dry skin and coat can lead to itchy, flaky skin, calluses and cracked paw pads, which aren’t fun for anyone. A hydrating balm rich in Omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids and natural oils will help your pup’s skin deal better with the temperature drop.
Don’t forget their ears, either! Keep cleaning them well to remove excess wax, even if the weather is cold and they don’t seem to have any current problems. Keep their ears clean and dry, and help reduce the chance of infections with a gentle ear wash which contains no alcohol, harsh chemicals or acids which can be found in many other ear cleaners.
For more questions on pet health and wellness Ask Pawl – Australia’s first pet health expert “spokesdog” for PAW by Blackmores.
Dr. Charmaine Tham has been the PAW vet since June 2014. She graduated from Melbourne University Vet School back in 2004, practised as a vet in general and emergency practice for 4 years. She then joined a pharmaceutical company for a further 6 years before joining Blackmores as the technical veterinarian for PAW by Blackmores. She is also Chair of not-for-profit organisation Vets Beyond Borders, and is actively engaged with the veterinary community through volunteering and further studies. She also has postgraduate qualifications in veterinary pharmacology and business administration. She has a 3-year-old rescue dog at home and loves to go diving in her spare time.
About Paw by Blackmores
Pure Animal Wellbeing (PAW), is the natural pet healthcare range from Blackmores Animal Health division. The PAW by Blackmores range includes innovative, vet-recommended supplements and products to benefit pet health, including clinically proven products for joint, digestive, ear, wound and skin care and a grooming range free of nasty sulphates and chemicals. Developed by vets and inspired by nature for products specifically designed to keep your pets healthy and happy so they can enjoy the best of life.