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.
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!
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!).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.