Cold Weather Tips for your Dog

Cold Weather Tips for your Dog

When faced with the arrival of winter there are a few things you might want to consider regarding your pets and their best health.  One of the many factors that impact your pet is the drier, cooler air – causing issues like itchy, flaking skin, dry respiratory tracts and eyes, and even chapped paws.

To help combat cold weather dangers from affecting your dog or cat’s health here are a few ideas to consider.

Bathe your dog less frequently in the colder months.

Bathe your dog as little as possible during colder months. Washing too often can remove protective oils from your pets’ skin and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin. If your pooch has managed to get stinky, ask your veterinarian to recommend a moisturizing shampoo and crème. Additionally, do not shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. If your dog is long-haired, simply trim him to minimize clinging ice balls and outdoor chemicals that can dry his skin. Also, don’t forget about the hair between his toes. If your dog is short-haired or has a thin coat, consider getting him a warm sweater with coverage from the neck to the base of the tail and around to the belly to wear outside in the cold.

Always stop and dry your dog’s paws.

After each walk, use a washcloth or wet wipe to wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach to remove ice salt, and chemicals (this is crucial for those areas that receive high volumes of snow and ice during the colder months)—paying special attention to the areas between footpads for snow/ice balls. Be sure you are checking daily for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes, you will want to address these issues right away. Massaging coconut oil or other paw protectants into paw pads before going outside can help protect your pet from road salt and other chemical agents. Another winter weather option is pet booties. Pet booties or shoes provide even better coverage but can take a little getting used to in the beginning.

Adjust your dog’s food intake.

If your dog is not getting as much outdoor activity you will want to consider reducing the amount of food you are giving them so they don’t pack on that winter fat layer. Of course, if your dog enjoys a good romp about in the snow and is maintaining an active exercise schedule you will want to think about actually increasing their intake slightly.  In the colder months, a pet will burn more calories at play, to keep warm, and therefore will require additional calories.

Use pet-friendly products.

If your environment calls for you to winterize your home and car be sure you are using products that are identified as being pet friendly.  Things like coolants and antifreeze are lethal poisons for dogs and cats. Always monitor pets closely when walking to ensure they’re not exposed to these products, and be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle. Use pet-friendly ice melt solutions whenever possible and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.

Know your dog’s limits.

Some dogs are more susceptible to the cold than others. Short-coated, thin, elderly, or very young dogs get cold more quickly – so be aware of and adjust the amount of time they stay outside.  If your dog enjoys being outdoors and you will be outside longer than a few minutes, consider outfitting it with a sweater or coat to keep it warm. Hypothermia and frostbite pose major risks to dogs in winter, so remember, if it is too cold for you, it is probably too cold for your dog.

Keep your dog leashed.

This is a good rule no matter what season it is but because more pets become lost in the winter than any other season it is even more important.  Snowfall can disguise recognizable scents that would normally help them find their way home. Prevent your pets from becoming lost by keeping dogs leashed on walks and, just in case you are separated from your pets, make sure they have up-to-date contact information on their collar. For added protection have your pet microchipped.


These tips will help you and your dog get the most out of your time together this winter.  And if you are traveling we invite you to visit where you can shop for an eco-friendly, airline-approved pet carrier that is fashionable and fits your lifestyle.


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