Winter is coming! Personally, winter is one of my favourite seasons. Snow, crisp mornings, and crunchy leaves – it’s all fantastic. Unfortunately, when it comes to cockapoo ownership there are some challenges that arise in winter. So, this article is all about how to care for your cockapoo in winter. I’ll look at grooming requirements, and ways to keep you and your cockapoo safe in the dark, cold nights.
I should say that I’m writing this from the perspective of living in the north of the UK – it’s not exactly Syberia here, so if you’re reading this from the snowy depths of Canada or Alaska please bear this in mind 🙂
Should you groom your cockapoo in winter?
It might seem counterintuitive, but you should still groom your cockapoo in winter. While you might think that having a long coat is beneficial in colder months, there are a number of additional issues that come with a cockapoo having a longer coat in winter. These include:
- Ice and snow clumping during walks, which come at times prove painful for a cockapoo.
- Increased risks of knots and mats occurring
- Higher chances of dirt and grime getting trapped in your pooch’s paws.
You will also find that if your cockapoo has a longer coat in winter months, you’ll spend more time bathing your cockapoo and getting rid of knots and mats. This is because the longer coat combined with wetter weather are a match made in … well, not heaven.
You’ll find that you’ll spend your days picking long lost twigs and mud out of the underbelly and armpit areas – not the most fun way to spend a cosy, wintery evening!
In our experience, having a shorter coat means that your time spent grooming your cockapoo during the winter months will be a lot less. Your cockapoo will also be a little happier as they won’t have to be bathed after every muddy walk. Check out our 7 tips for surviving a muddy dog walk for some extra useful pointers on reducing the “mud burden”!
That said, regular brushing is still a must-do if you want to keep on top of knots and mats in your cockapoo’s fur.
How to keep your cockapoo warm in winter
If you’ve read the above, you’ll likely be asking – but how do you keep your cockapoo warm if you still clip their coat?
Well, this is a great question and it’s something that we ourselves wrestled with. Really, it’s about striking a balance between warmth and preventing things like painful knots and mats from occurring.
In the early days, we didn’t always get this balance right as is evidenced by the picture above.
Now, what we settle on is a reasonably short coat during winter, supplemented by an additional doggy jacket.
After lots of trial-and-error, the best jacket type that we have found is NOT the one that Ziggy is wearing in the photo above.
Basically, it’s a brilliant jacket, but it’s not the best for winter – as we’ve now learned!
Nowadays, we are using this inexpensive one from Amazon.
If you’re looking at upgrading or buying your first dog jacket – please, please, please pay attention to the following tips. I promise it will save you a load of hassle!
First of all, cockapoos it’s important to understand that one of the main benefits of a dog jacket (apart from warmth) is protection from dirt and mud etc. as it cuts down on brushing and bathing.
As a result, look for ones that are long enough at the back to extend to the start of the tail. So many dog jackets end half-way down the back, leaving you with half the coverage.
Also, get one that has a connecting strip that runs between the front paws and the belly. If you get the ones that have a fastening at the neck, and a fastening around the belly with no connecting strip, then again you end up with less coverage and more dirt on your cockapoo.
Finally, do yourself a favour and get one with a waterproof coating. Sure the checked-ones that we’ve used in the past look pretty, but they get soaking wet so quickly!
A reflective strip is also a bonus if you live somewhere like the UK where, in the depths of winter, the nights come early and last an age.
Basically, what you want is one like this one – obviously, with colours that you like 🙂
Safety tips for your cockapoo during winter
So, with grooming requirements covered, here are some quick tips to care for your cockapoo in winter to keep them (and you) safe!
As mentioned above, during winter when the ground is wet, it is more important than ever to make sure that you regularly check your cockapoos paws for any dirt and foreign objects.
This could be anything from gritting salt to small stones and twigs. These things can easily get caught up in the fur between your cockapoo’s toes and if left can cause a lot of discomfort and knotting to occur.
You can buy these very cute dog shoes to help with this. Although full disclaimer we did try them ourselves, but unfortunately Ziggy didn’t quite like the feel of them! He did look very cute though for the 10 minutes he had them on…
This one is something that I think people can easily overlook, but keeping you and your cockapoo visible during a dog walk is really important during dark nights.
Even if you stick to well lit streets, there will always be moments where drivers on the road may struggle to see you and your dog.
That said, remaining visible doesn’t have to be over the top! Personally, all I do is use this light up dog collar, and switch up my usual lead for a reflective one.
These measures, combined with the reflective strips in my own coat (and Ziggy’s) mean that I’m pretty confident that car drivers can see us!
When it comes to temperature there’s two things to bear in mind. First and perhaps most obviously, if outdoor temperature.
As a general rule of thumb, if you’re getting cold then your cockapoo is already cold. So, keep your walking short and sharp during the colder hours. Typically, when it gets really cold (not that often in the UK) we’ll do three 15 minute walks throughout the day during the daylight hours.
On some days, though, if the temperature is really, really low, we opt for indoor play sessions instead. Better than frostbite!
The second thing to pay attention to is your indoor temperatures – if you have things like a wood burning stove, or radiators that pump out a lot of heat, make sure to monitor your cockapoo when they’re near these things.
Obviously, they should be smart enough to move themselves away when they get too hot. That said, it’s always best to keep an eye on them just in case they attempt to sniff at the stove…
If your cockapoo is anything to like ours, the mere sight of water will get them excited! Unfortunately, winter water and dogs aren’t a great combination.
Not only will a quick swim drastically lower your cockapoo’s body temperature, but open water during winter is generally faster flowing and deeper. Things like riverbanks are also a lot more slippery.
For these reasons, we don’t tend to let our cockapoo off the lead around open water during the winter months. Maybe this is a little paranoid, but I’d rather run the risk of Ziggy being a little put out by not being able to swim, than see him get into trouble and not being able to help him.
We’ve all seen those horror stories on the news of people diving into freezing cold water to save their dogs and not making it back to shore.
Our final top tip to keep your cockapoo safe during winter months is to make sure that they get enough hydration.
While the importance of good hydration is more obvious in summer, in winter it can be a little easier to forget about this.
So, not only is it important to still remember to bring a water bottle and bowl on your walks, but it’s also important to keep an eye on how much your cockapoo is drinking at home.
Hopefully, this article on caring for your cockapoo during winter has proved helpful and provided you with some topics to think about. I’d be really interested if any of you have some additional tips – please leave a comment below!