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Winter Care

Maltipoo Winter Care


Each seasons brings about new challenges when taking care of a Maltipoo puppy or dog. And cold, harsh winters is definitely a time of the year when Maltipoos of all ages will need special care. There should be changes to some grooming aspects, as well as general care in regard to the temperature and outside elements. In addition, such elements as housebreaking, taking your dog out for walks and even feeding must be looked at from a different perceptive.

For these reasons, we will cover everything you need to know about winterizing your Maltipoo. 

This section will go over:
  • Paw Care
  • Nose Care
  • Full Body Care - Skin and Coat
  • Winter exercise
  • Keeping your Maltipoo Warm
  • Bathroom Issues
  • The Importance of Humidity
  • Appetite Changes
Paw Care in the Winter

The two times of the year that owners really need to keep the paws in mind are in the summer and during the winter. While one reason is extreme temperature changes that affect the surface that the Maltipoo walks upon, winter is even more challenging due to snow related elements.

What happens - There are 2 damaging elements in the winter. The first is frozen ground and cold pavement. As winter engulfs an area, the ground holds in the cold. Pavement can be slick with frozen ice. The paws are made of skin, albeit thick skin, yet one must keep in mind that this does not make a dog's paws impregnable to the cold (it will enter through the paws and can give the Maltipoo chills within just minutes) and the paws often do not have enough natural traction to keep a firm and steady grip.

Add to this the second element of potential ice-melt chemicals. Even if you do not use these at your own home, your neighbors may and your city's municipal services may spread this on roadways that is then tracked onto the streets and sidewalks that you bring your Maltipoo onto. These can be cause chemical burns to a dog's paw pads. While you might not notice anything right away, this can have a cumulative effect; over the course of days, week and months, there can be gradual chemical burns that end up leaving paws dry, peeling or even cracked by the time winter is over.
white and tan Maltipoo dog
Leia Boo, 1 year old
Photo courtesy of Angie Kampmann 
What to do: Part of taking care of a Maltipoo in the winter is to protect the dog's paws all elements: the cold, slippery surfaces and from chemicals. There are 2 options.  

Wax- The top recommended method is to use a quality canine paw wax. Not only will a good wax protect, it will also moisturize and heal, so if there has been any issues that have been building, this will help restore the paws to good health. 

When you use this for protection and prevention, it only needs to be applied every 3 days under normal conditions of walking your Maltipoo 2 times per day. A quality brand will absorb quickly, so applying it is easy. It will naturally wear down over the course of 3 days or so, when you simply rub in more. Be sure to get between the toes as best as you can, as that is very sensitive skin that is vulnerable to what winter brings. 

Booties -The other option is to place doggie booties on your Maltipoo. Some dogs don't mind this at all, others need a bit of time to get used to them and still others will rebel quite loudly. If you go with this option, do keep in mind that it will offer traction and protection but will not heal peeling or cracking. Look for appropriately sized shoes that have good soles and ankle adjustments to ensure that they stay on.
Nose Care in the Winter

A dog's nose is such a vulnerable body part; there is nothing to protect it and completely exposed to weather conditions. In the winter, a Maltipoo's nose can become very dry. This can then lead to peeling and in serious cases, cracking, which is such a painful condition for a dog to endure. 

What happens - in the winter both the super dry air (even when it snows, the overall humidity level in the air is quite low) and the cold winds along with the fact that a dog licks up at his nose several hundred times per day all add up to dry, chapped noses. Even indoors, winter air is very dry and can affect not just the nose, but a Maltipoo's whole body. This is because when you heat the air, no moisture is being added; arid winter air that gets warmed up is even drier. 

What to do: Protect the nose; and keep in mind that this is best done before any issues develop. Once it gets too dried out, the top layer will start peeling and this can quickly spiral into a more serious issue of cracking. Just like you would apply chapstick to protect your lips, use a quality canine nose balm or butter each day. Look for a safe product that absorbs quickly but is also safe if a dog were to lap up and ingest a small amount.  

For general winter time protection, rub a small dollop onto your Maltipoo's nose twice per day, in the morning and then before he goes to sleep.

To treat a Maltipoo's nose that has already suffered due to winter element's, you may need to apply this up to 4 times per day, making sure to do a really good application right before your dog goes to bed.
Two Maltipoo dogs on sofa
Zoey (18 months) and Niko (20 months)
Photo courtesy of Cathy Zakrzewski 
If there is damage such as deep cracks or if you notice any pussy sores, this is a sign of infection (something that can happen when the skin opens up) and you'll want the veterinarian to see this as most cases need to be treated with antibiotics and/or an antibacterial ointment. 
Taking Care of a Maltipoo's Coat in the Winter

Without taking any steps, the hair of a Maltipoo can show quite severe signs of winter exposure by the time the season is done. And again, this can hold true even if he stays inside more often. 

What happens - Mainly, this is all due to dry air. It can do the following:
  • Cause skin to dry out, which then in turn affects the health of the coat
  • Cause more static issues and contact friction damage
  • Cause split ends to develop, which can travel up the hair shaft, finally resulting in a terribly frizzed out coat.
What to do - There are 4 grooming elements that are vital for proper care of a Maltipoo in the winter:

Shampoo - If the shampoo that you use for your Maltipoo is not one that has proven itself to be exceptional, now is the time to think about upgrading. Having one that works well to remove body oils and debris but does NOT strip away the protective coating on the hairs is vital. Due to dry skin issues, you will also want one that has oatmeal or other known effective ingredients to combat this.
tiny Maltipoo puppy
Elsa, 12 weeks old
Photo courtesy of Persis B.
Conditioner- This one is tricky for some owners. Many times, super cheap ones with inferior ingredients will appear to be marvelously thick and luxurious. But, what happens is that those fabulously thick products feel good in your hands but clog a dog's skin pores while slipping right off the hairs during the rinse. This causes many problems including smells that appears within just days of a bath and almost no restoration of the coat during the bathing process. 

Look for a quality conditioner that will effectively protect and restore without becoming trapped at the roots. 

A leave-in spritz - This grooming product can go a long way in solving the problems mentioned above regarding dryness, static, contact friction and split ends. Every few days, spritz the coat with a quality leave-in and using a small slicker brush, distribute it from roots to ends. As a plus, good products will have a nice, clean scent that will keep your Maltipoo smelling great. 

Baths - Do your best to stay on schedule with bathing your Maltipoo once every 3 weeks. If a dog stays indoors a lot more in the winter, many owners take this to mean that he does not need as many baths. However, baths are not just for rinsing off dirt. All day, around the clock, a dog's body is constantly producing body oils. This is a natural lubricant that protects the skin. But, this oil does not evaporate. It builds up. It then starts to cling to hairs and a layer will completely coat the skin, blocking pores. At this point, without a bath, a dog will start to smell and it can be quite bad. 
A bath (with the right products) rinses all of this way and gives a dog a 'fresh slate'.  
Winter Exercise

Unless the winter weather is severe, you will want to keep up with your dog's regular exercise schedule since cutting down on walks can cause behavioral issues. Even if your puppy or dog runs around the house like a lunatic, he can still develop 'cabin fever' issues if not brought out on a regular basis.  

Emotionally, dogs need to see, to smell and to 'go somewhere'; taking a brisk walk is a way to release pent-up energy that builds up when stuck indoors. 

Physically, dogs need to engage in walks/runs to activate their muscles to prevent bone loss and muscle atrophy. 

Now, walking outside in a cold, snowy environment is not the most fun thing for most people. However if you yourself bundle up very well and you also take steps to keep your Maltipoo warm in the winter, you should be able to take walks unless there is a severe storm or sub-freezing temperatures. Even if you go for half of the normal duration, this is much better than nothing. (See next tip)
Keeping A Maltipoo From Getting Chilled in the Winter

Maltipoo dogs can get chilled quite easily. Little dogs can have trouble regulating their body temperate and this hybrid breed does not have much natural protection in the winter due their single layered coat. 
Indoors - it is not uncommon for a Maltipoo to be cold in the winter even if in what appears to be a warm house. The fact that the temperature is a bit colder near the floor, possible drafts may exist and the fact that this dog is so small, all amount to a puppy or dog that can be cold when you are warm.  

If you slip a soft, comfortable shirt onto your Maltipoo, you may then see just how much more relaxed and comfortable the dog appears.  
Outdoors - Since this is not a hunting breed with a double, water-resistant coat, many Maltipoo dogs need a bit of help in enduring cold and snowy winter environments. If you can help keep a dog's main body warm, he will then be able to regulate his internal body temperature much easier. 

Therefore, a vest, hoodie or sweater can make all the difference in the world. Even short sleeve doggie clothes work very effectively in the winter, as the torso is covered. 

Look for a piece of clothing that is sized appropriately, not fitting too loose as to cause 'trip-up's' but not too tight as to cause impeded range of motion. You'll want to choose a fabric that offers both warmth and comfort. 

*** If it is below freezing out or if there is extreme weather such as hail, freezing rain, sleet or heavy snow, play it safe and stay indoors. 
Maltipoo with clothes on in winter
Bastian, 7 weeks old
Photo courtesy of Kathleen Krane
House Training and Bathroom Issues in the Winter

Cold and snow can certainly make these sorts of things challenging. 

If you are in the middle of house training your Maltipoo, don't let winter stop you. It will be important to stay on track.  
And if your Maltipoo is already trained, do what you can to keep him remembering the rules. 

One issue that pops up a lot a change to the routine. It's important to keep as much of the steps the same, no matter what the weather.  

Perhaps the designated bathroom area is now inaccessible due to snow? Or maybe it's no longer possible to exit the house from the back and you know have to go out the front door? In any case, try to mimic the original setup the best that you can. This may involve shoveling a path over the grass; even if you cannot reach the original 'bathroom area' having the Maltipoo use the same exit and head in the same general direction can be helpful to reinforce everything he has learned so far. 
red Maltipoo dog
Benedict, 1 year old
Photo courtesy of Sharon Lundgren
Maintaining Humidity

One of the best things you can do for both your Maltipoo and for human members of the household is to maintain humidity levels in the house. 

Dry winter air can cause:
  • Dry skin (which includes the full body and also nose and paws)
  • Dry coat (due to static cling, contact friction) 
  • Dry eyes (the dog's eyes may appear red and irritated)
  • Dry nasal passages (the Maltipoo may start snoring or show other signs of nasal irritation)
Humidifiers are very useful as part of winter care to combat these issues. You'll want to carefully choose a quality brand that holds a good amount of water so that you don't need to keep refilling it and ideally, one that runs very quietly so that it isn't a nuisance. Also, look for one that does not need filters; these are easier to maintain as they come with a brush and only require a cleaning 1 time per month (we recommend doing this with hot water and bleach). 

If your Maltipoo shows signs of having trouble breathing at night and the dry winter air is really affecting him, think about placing a smaller one right near his sleeping area (just take care to keep the cord out of reach).
Maltipoo Appetite Changes in the Winter  

While each dog is unique, in general canines each less during hot summer months and more during cold winter months. The difference in food can be as much as 20%. For this reason, if your Maltipoo seems hungrier than normal, there's usually nothing to worry about. A dog of this size may gain a pound or so over the winter and then gradually burn it off as spring rolls around. To keep your puppy or dog content, it's usually just fine to add in one extra treat per day or to make meals slightly larger than normal.  
A Final Word

Whether you love winter or you can't wait for it to be over, one thing is for sure: The long cold season can be a tough one for dogs. Please prepare for this so that your Maltipoo can get though the season in good health and comfort. 
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