Preparing Your Pet for Winter Weather

Dog Sticks Out His Tongue to Lick Snow off His Nose

With Winter in full swing, we fight the cold and damp by layering our sweaters and making sure our vehicles are weather-proofed, but so often, we forget about the steps we need to take to keep our four-legged friends comfortable and healthy.

Just like us, our pets need to keep warm and can suffer serious health issues when it gets cold. Then there are the toxic substances that are a mainstay during the colder months. How can we make sure our pets don't suffer the consequences of coming into contact with them? Yes, Winter can be such a fun season, but preparation is key!

Winter Dog Grooming - Best Practices

If you own a furry four-legged companion during the cold winter months, then you understand that regular grooming is essential in order to keep him or her feeling comfortable and looking their best. We've put together a few tips and tricks that will help reduce stress and help your dog maintain a healthy coat during the winter months. Taking the time to brush your dog regularly will help remove dead hair, dirt, and debris while distributing natural oils throughout the fur. If your dog needs a bath, use warm water instead of hot to avoid irritating their skin. Additionally, you should always make sure that your pup is completely dry after each bath or walk outside. Following these few simple steps will ensure that your furry friend looks and feels his best during the winter season!

Is Your Dog in Need of a Winter Coat?

While it is true that not all dogs need to wear a coat for winter, some dogs will benefit from having one. Smaller dog breeds, or dogs with thin or short fur may be susceptible to cold, so will definitely benefit from wearing a few extra layers of warmth during cold weather. If you live in an area where temperatures dip below freezing, it is imperative that your dog wears appropriate attire for the weather. A properly fitted winter coat can prevent your pup from getting cold and help them maintain their body temperature. There are so many fashionable, functional clothing options available, providing a little help when it comes to beating the winter chill. Unless your dog is a Husky with a nice thick coat to protect him from the elements, your dog will probably benefit from a nice warm coat or sweater. It's also a good idea to be prepared for rain too. Living in the Pacific Northwest, we can definitely attest to that! This season, we love the Cheviot Tweed Trimmed Dog Parka and the Alpine Extreme Weather Puffer Dog Coat. The latter has been a best seller for years now, and with good reason. We're also particularly partial to the Ferndale Waterproof Dog Coat, UKUSCAdoggie's own product. This coat is ideal for dogs who don't like to wear coats, with an easy to wear step-in design.

Additionally, many dogs will benefit from wearing boots. Have you ever noticed that your pup struggles to walk on slippery surfaces? Or maybe if it's cold outside, he shivers, moving his little legs twice as fast just to generate some heat. If so, then it might be a good idea to invest in some dog boots! Dog boots provide traction and keep paws warm while protecting them from the elements. They are also perfect for long hikes and walks, providing protection from hot asphalt, sharp objects, and rough terrain. Dog boots are also useful for senior pups, who might suffer from joint issues which could make it difficult for them to walk on hard surfaces.

Avoid Dog Walking Hazards!

So often we forget about those toxic substances that in the Winter can be a lifesaver, but we do need to be cognizant of the fact that they can prove deadly to our furry friends. Antifreeze, for example, should be stored safely away from curious canines. If it were to be accidentally ingested, even a small amount could result in neurological damage, or even death.

Greyhound Navigates Icy Pavement

Then, there are those salted sidewalks - great when it comes to preventing us from a nasty fall, but all that salt can play havoc with our pup's paws and parts of his body that are low to the ground. To this end, it's always a good idea to keep a towel close to your front door, so as soon as you get home, you can wipe off any snow, ice or chemicals that might have accumulated. We are very partial to SaniPaw Antibacterial Wipes that are perfect for wiping your dog's paws after an adventure. This great product will keep all those nasty germs at bay, including viruses, so you won't need to worry about what is coming into your home uninvited. Keeping a canister right by your door is definitely a good idea. To keep your pet's paws protected and to avoid any damage, it's really important to use preparations that will help to keep them healthy. We recommend PawZ MaxWax. Made from bees wax and lanolin, this preparation creates a hydrophobic barrier, that will effectively protect precious paws from snow, ice and the chemicals used to melt them, while moisturizing dry and cracked pads. Definitely a winter must-have!

We all know that it is extremely dangerous to leave a dog in a hot car in the Summer, but how many of us know that it is just as dangerous to leave a dog in a cold car in the Winter? The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals cautions dog owners that when the heating is not on, it can quickly turn a car into a refrigerator. 

Sweet Dreams!

Winter's a great time to revamp your dog's sleeping arrangements! As a bonafide member of your family, we're sure you want him to be just as comfortable as you are when it comes to the place he rests his head. A nice big, clean bed in a cozy corner, away from any drafts is a must. We are particularly partial to Bowsers' great selection of beds.  Also, many dogs love snuggling up with a blanket or favorite snuggle toy. 

More Food Please!

During the winter months, you may need to adjust the amount of food your dog eats. Depending on their size and activity level, some dogs may need more food during cold weather as they will burn off additional energy staying warm. You should also make sure that your pup has access to plenty of fresh water throughout the day, as their metabolism and thirst increases when temperatures are colder. 

Health Issues

It's so important to monitor your pet's health, and Mella Pet Care make doing that a breeze. This amazing company has developed a thermometer that offers pet owners peace of mind, enabling them to better determine if a trip to the vet is warranted. Unique and different, Mella has used Machine Learning and the latest sensor technology to take a pet's temperature as accurately as a human thermometer. We think that this is something no doggie first aid box should be without! 

Dogs Don't Belong Outside...

We hate to even have to bring this up, but as responsible dog owners, we should remember that if it's too cold for us out there, then chances are, it's too cold for our furry friends. Personally, we think that dogs belong on a couch, snuggling in front of a fireplace! That being said, please bring your pets inside when temperatures dip. Dogs should not be exposed to winter weather for extended periods of time due to the risk of hypothermia and frostbite. If they do need to spend time outside, owners are urged to find warm and dry shelter and limit exposure time. They should also ensure that the dog is geared up for cold weather outdoor activities, wearing adequate protective clothing. Additionally, they should always keep an eye open for signs of distress and bring the dog inside if necessary.

Dog Enjoys Frolicking in the Snow

In conclusion...

Yes, from playing in the snow to engaging in winter bonding activities with their owner, there is something very special about winter that tends to make a dog "smile". Just make sure to keep your dog warm and safe with the proper clothes and accessories and offer up plenty of exercise and love to ensure they stay healthy and happy!

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