Only a sled dog could be pumped for weather like this. But if your dog wasn’t bred for dashing across a frozen tundra, even the slightest chill can be a huge bummer. As the days get shorter so does outside playtime, and the dropping temps make midnight bathroom breaks pretty much unbearable. Aside from cranking up the heat and sharing that snuggly blanket you’re wrapped in, here are some other ways you can ease their winter blues.
Long, matted fur isn’t warm.
There’s an idea that the natural way to keep your dog warm is to let his “winter coat” grow out untamed. That might make them look less chilly than their short-haired friends, but un-groomed fur can become so matted that it doesn’t insulate or provide warmth and could even cause your dog pain. Instead, keep bathing and grooming them regularly to keep their coat healthy.
Jackets, however, are quite cozy.
Not every dog is down to wear a puffer coat or a sweater, and that’s ok. But dogs who are especially small, lean, short-haired, or older (or all of the above) could probably benefit from a little extra warmth. Just remember, comfort is key to making this work, so don’t get outerwear that’s so tight they can’t move.
Shorter walks mean longer nails.
As the weather gets colder, both you and your dog are more into couch time than long walks. But do you hear the “click” of long nails on your floor? That’s because without enough mileage to wear them down, nails need trimming more often in winter. Check in weekly and make sure to schedule it with grooming.
Protect those paws.
If you think your dry chapped winter hands are painful, just imagine how paws feel. But by adding a layer of natural paw balm before and after walks, you can prevent some of the damage. To make this easier, don’t forget to trim the hair between your dog’s paws regularly, which can collect ice between their toes if it gets long. And if your dog is regularly walking through snow, consider investing in paw boots to protect them from frostbite and well as toxins in street salt. If you need to use salt around your house, make sure it’s pet safe.
Brush up on how to moisturize.
Aside from dry, cracked paws, the rest of their fur-covered bodies are pretty dried out too. One natural thing you can do to help is brush them more. It stimulates their oil glands and it just feels nice (which we could all use in winter). Don’t forget to also invest in a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner as well as some skin and coat supplements. Plus, coconut oil is a great topical moisturizer.
Make indoor playtime a priority.
It’s easy to just veg out when you’re indoors a lot, but just because you’re not at a dog park doesn’t mean you can’t toss the ball around the living room. You can also try to schedule outdoor playtime for the warmest parts of the day so both of you can get some (much-needed) Vitamin D.