Pup in leaves

As the temperatures begin to FALL, it is much less pleasant to go outside for us, as well as our pups; However, for the health and wellness of our faithful companions it is extremely important that they continue to get much needed exercise and proper diets. As the mercury drops, and the nights get longer, it tends to negatively impact the moods and mental wellness of humans, as well our pets. The natural boost we get from beautiful, sunny days wanes in the colder winter months and makes it increasingly important for pets and humans to get that endorphin boost from being in the outdoors.

The changing seasons means that we need to modify activities with our best friends. Here are some common problems and a few suggested solutions that arise during the changing of the seasons:

#1 Problem – Weight Gain

Activity levels change for dogs due to back-to-school routines, less daylight hours and colder weather. As a result, pups become less active and can gain weight quite easily. Solution: Adjust dogs’ feeding amounts to accommodate the lack of physical activity. Play more with them inside. I’ve never met a dog that doesn’t love to play tug-o-war with an old sock or rope toy! If you brave the cold and continue to give much-needed walks, please make sure their tender paws are protected! Although we don’t get snow in Central Texas, we may have occasional ice; and with ice comes salt. Both can be very harmful to a dog’s paw pads. Foot protection products are available such as booties and paw protection balms.

#2 Problem – Dry, Scaly, Itchy Skin

Skin issues arise due to drier and cooler weather. Indications of this may include dry, flaking skin; skin irritation; loss of hair/fur; dry and/or dull-looking coat; bumps on or under the skin; red, scaly or scabby patches; excessive licking and scratching. Solution: After consulting with your vet, change your dog’s diet to a food that provides a richer source of Omegas or add fish oil to their existing diet; use topical conditioners on areas affected. A soothing oatmeal bath may also help!

#3 Problem – Shedding

Some breeds have seasonal shedding; shedding in the spring as their winter coats are lost, and in the winter when they shed their summer coat to grow in their heavier winter coat. Some dogs shed a lot! (My Shiba Inu, Lillie, sheds a ton twice a year! Both her top and under coat!) So, what can be done to help keep the hair/fur loss under control? Solution: Grooming is KEY! The more hair you remove from daily brushing, the less you will see around your home and less of an accessory it will be on your clothes. Bathing regularly, especially prior to new coat growth, can help dramatically. Regular brushing is also key to your pet’s circulation, so keep them healthy and help them shed less all year round!