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Thanks to Nicole Ellis, professional trainer and member of Rover’s Dog People Panel, for this post (updated 1/15/20).
Many dogs get excited about exploring winter’s wonderland, but they need protection against the elements just as we do. Here are some helpful recommendations, tips, and product suggestions for dog winter safety this season.
We change our beauty and skincare routines when the weather is cold, and your dog can benefit from extra care, too. Towel drying your pet after outside time can help their dry skin stay healthy. It also doesn’t hurt to invest in some salmon oil which can keep your dog’s coat moisturized from the inside out, as well as a special butter or salve to keep on hand for chapped paws and dry noses.
This point should be pretty obvious, but I’ll mention it anyway: Don’t shave your pets in the winter, as your pet needs their coat to stay warm.
For longer-haired pets, a nice trim around the feet can prevent snowballs from building and clinging to their fur and from forming between their paw pads, which can be painful and can also cause sores. After your walk or hike be sure to check between the pads of your dog’s feet for any snow or debris, and use a paw protector such as Musher’s Secret as needed.Shop for Musher's Secret Here
Pad wax can also be a lifesaver against the drying effects of road salt and freezing sidewalks. Check out the recipe below that you can make at home.
Older dogs may be at greater risk for aches and pains related to the cold. They may also be more prone to slips and injuries on icy surfaces. Consider adding a hip and joint supplement to keep old dogs feeling young, and monitor outdoor playtime to ensure they don’t overtire.
On your walks, be mindful of antifreeze puddles where cars are parked. Remember that antifreeze is highly toxic—and tasty, to dogs and cats. Ethylene glycol poisoning signs include intoxication, vomiting, and stomach pain, so keep a close eye on dogs when they’re outdoors and consult a professional immediately with any concerns.
If your dog will tolerate them, a good set of non-slip, dog snow boots can be helpful in preventing slips and falls, and they offer additional protection from dangerous chemical deicers that can harm your pet.Shop for Ruffwear GripTrex Boots Here Shop for Muttluks Here
Jackets aren’t only for fashion: despite having fur, our pets can get cold, too. Feeling your dog’s ears is a great way to tell his temperature. If his ears feel cold, particularly around the edges, it may be time go inside and snuggle up in a blanket. Consider adding on a coat before continuing your walk.
Brands such as Hurtta, WeatherBeeta, and Ruffwear offer exceptional warming options for your dog. Some Hurtta styles go down to a dog’s ankles to prevent snow and dirt from sticking to legs. And of course, they look like a million bucks in them, too! Dog hoodies by Canada Pooch and even a Pendleton dog jacket can help soften winter’s chill as well.Shop for WeatherBeeta Dog Parkas Here Shop for Hurtta Here Shop for Ruffwear Dog Jackets Here Shop for Canada Pooch Here Shop for Pendleton Dog Jackets Here
Another smart thought for your winter-loving pup? When it’s time to go outside, high-visibility vests, leashes, and lights are a great idea for the long dark days and nights, and will keep Fido looking cool, and in sight. Here are some more specific dog winter wear recommendations.Shop for Reflective Dog Vests Here Shop for Reflective Leashes Here Shop for Leash Lights Here
Finally, a good rule of thumb considering dog winter safety is that if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pets. So keep everyone inside, safe, warm, and dry (and check out our guide to getting cozy with your dog to do it right)!
Your pet may enjoy a special, cozy bed to keep them extra toasty. You can even try a heated dog bed, heated dog blanket, or pet warmers, such as those offered by Riogoo and Snuggle Safe (kitties love these too).
Whatever you do, we hope you stay safe, take care, and enjoy this special season with your pet!
Looking for more fun ways to gear up and enjoy winter with your faithful companion by your side? Check out one of the related articles below.
- Running With Your Dog: A Winter Guide
- Winter Dog Treats: Recipes to Make at Home and Treats to Buy
- January Is Walk Your Dog Month: Here’s How to Do It Right
- The 12 Best Winter Dog Hats for the Next Cold Snap