Canine Wellness

It’s that time of year where Fall (sadly) begins to fade out and Winter begins to move in full force. As responsible dog parents, there a few key things we should adapt in our daily routines to keep our canines their warmest, happiest, and healthiest.

 tips for protecting your dog from cold weather wintertime dog safety wellness
  1. Dress them up. The most obvious is that if you have a shorter hair pup, to pick up some clothes for them, pajamas, sweaters, vests, etc. as long as they are comfortable wearing them. This will keep them warmer longer, especially if you intend on going for long walks or hikes in freezing temperatures. We recommend this reversible, windproof vest, this fleece sweater, and this waterproof jacket!

  2. Take care of salt. During cold weather seasons, the sidewalks, stairs, parking lots, and roads are all salted to prevent freezing, but this salty mixture can be irritating to your pup’s skin and paws. I recommend carrying a towel with you on long walks to wipe their paws and belly as need or clean their paws and belly immediately when you get home. Another helpful option is to purchase booties for your dog to wear while romping around in the snow (that’s if they will wear them!).

  3. Reduce drafts in your home. If you have hard wood, linoleum, or laminate flooring, put down a dog bed or a palette of blankets to keep dogs comfortable from drafts. Non carpeted floors tends to be cooler and draftier during the winter time, so keep your pup warm and cozy with these added spots to lay. For drafts underneath of doors, roll up an old towel to stuff into the gap between the floor and bottom of door. You can also pick up one of these nifty door draft blockers for a better result.

  4. Provide more indoor enrichment. Shorter potty breaks and walks, more inside enrichment. Some dogs love the cold weather and could be out in it all day, but not all of them. For smaller dogs and shorter hair breeds, it’s important to have multiple, shorter walks and potty breaks as opposed to longer duration. In the event that you feel like your dog needs more stimulation, try enrichment games like scent games, puzzles, treats, bones, and the like. Here’s a great post that features some of our favorite dog toys! You can also visit our toys, treats, and games page for more options.

  5. Grooming (or not) is key. This tidbit definitely depends on breed. You want to keep your dog groomed, so ice/snow don’t get matted into fur, but not cut too short so they are cold. Obviously, breeds like Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, and German Shepherds don’t have an issue with that at all.

  6. Bathe your dog less. Just like for humans, the constant coming in and out of the cold to the heat is very drying on the skin. To keep their skin from drying out, opt to bathe them less during cold season to keep their natural oils abundant. Dogs will need their natural oils to keep their skin nourished and prevent constant itching.

  7. Provide a warm space. If your dog happens to live outdoors, it is required in some states, by law, to provide them with a safe haven/warm space to protect them from the harsh elements of Wintertime. This could be an outdoor dog house chock full of cedar chips, letting them into a mud room with a palette of blankets at night, or utilizing a shed or garage space with a bed or palette of old blankets.

And there you have it—seven easy tips for keeping your dog their healthiest, safest during one of the harshest times of the year. Did any of these tips help you or do you find you’ve got other tips you’d love to share? Comment below and let us know.

7 Tips To Keep Fido Safe During Halloween

As much fun as Halloween can be for mammals of the two legged variety, not everyone enjoys the frightful holiday as much as we do. For our four legged children, Halloween is terrifying—literally.

Imagine this scenario: you wake up in an unfamiliar place surrounded by funny, if not, odd looking people, sickly smells, flashing, blinking, and strobing lights, as well as intense, prolonged noises for hours on end. Doesn’t sound enjoyable does it? To describe it in that manner, that’s how our canines perceive Halloween. Everything about it can be unsettling for even the most cool, calm, and collected pups.

 keep pets safe halloween safety tips holiday dogs cats

To keep Fido happy and safe during the season of terror, follow these easy, simple tips:

  1. Keep the candy out of reach. We all know how dangerous chocolate can be for dogs. With the overabundance of candy on Halloween, it’s easier than ever for them to get their paws on it! Put the candy bowl in a high, inaccessible place and monitor candy consumption in the household (especially if the little ones are rummaging through their candy on the living room floor!). We promise you’ll appreciate skipping a trip to the emergency vet or worse!

  2. Double check identification. In the event you are planning to take Spot out on the town with you on Halloween night, double check that they have proper identification. You never know what may spook them (again, literally!), so at least if they get away from you, your contact information is easily accessible ensuring that you and Spot will be reunited sooner than later. If they are micro-chipped and your information has changed, be sure to update that as well.

  3. Create a safe haven. If you know that your house is going to be the most popular place on the block on Halloween, consider creating a safe space for your dogs to hang out during the festivities (or at least have an opportunity to get away from the action). It doesn’t have to be anything complicated; maybe you place a cushy blanket in the corner of the closet, close the blinds, curtains, and bedroom door, and turn on some soothing music. In situations like these, the more familiar for the animal the better. It will prevent overwhelm, keep to their routine, and make sure they stay safe.

  4. Remove masks and other head/face covering garments. Even when I wear a clay mask, my dogs immediately get weirded out by my changed appearance. If Fido sees a scary mask, hat, crazy beard, or face paint, he may not know who you are and react accordingly. The change in appearance can be very stressful for them, because they don’t understand, like we do, that it’s all make believe.

  5. Maintain a safe distance. If you’ve got a nervous Nelly like I do, children running up to her on a normal basis is scary. Add costumes and a sugar rush, and the little ones are sure to send her stress level through the roof. If you know your dog is wary of tiny people already or easily spooked, opt to leave them at home.

  6. Don’t force the dress up. Some dogs LOVE to wear clothes, but that’s not something that comes natural to most of them. If your dog is showing signs of nervousness—ears back, tail tucked, wide eyes, closed mouth, tight jawline, stiff, rigid body movement, or cowering—they are showing you, they don’t like playing dress up. In other words, don’t force it.

  7. Wires, plastic, and batteries, oh my! It’s not uncommon for Spot to think that those Halloween decorations are actually his brand new chew toys. Between all the plastics, wires, batteries, dyes, and glitter, Halloween decorations can be toxic and extremely dangerous to dogs. Decorate in out of reach areas or be sure to supervise their activity in any spaces that have Halloween decorations.

We hope those tips were helpful for you as you prepare for the spookiest night of the year. Now, I want to know—what are YOU dressing up as this year?