Tips to Keep Your Pup Warm this Winter
Winters may be relatively mild in the Pacific Northwest, but that doesn’t mean they don’t get cold, especially for dogs who aren’t blessed with thick fur coats. Read on for 5 simple tips to keep your furry friend warm all winter long!
Don’t skip the winter coat
Most dog breeds don’t have the fur necessary to keep them warm in cold weather. Some dog breeds (think Alaskan Malamutes or huskies) thrive in the cold, but many dogs--especially small, short, lean, and short-haired breeds and senior pups-- require an extra layer to keep them warm. Here’s how to find out if your dog needs a winter coat.
Don paw balm and winter booties
Your pup’s paws are sensitive and can freeze to ice or concrete. It’s important to keep them protected in cold weather! Fortunately, Seattle is filled with wonderful local businesses that sell both booties and paw balm, including your neighborhood Mud Bay. In addition to offering crucial wintertime warmth and traction on icy sidewalks, winter booties will protect your dog’s delicate paws from toxic chemical salts and other sidewalk de-icing agents. We recommend Musher's Secret and Walkee Paws, whose stylish booties come in multiple patterns and sizes to suit all types of dogs.
Dish out extra food and dog treats
Both people and pets burn extra calories trying to stay warm, so winter is an excellent time to delight your dog with extra food and treats. Meanwhile, keep your pup’s water dish full (and consider using an air humidifier) to help your dog’s skin stay hydrated in winter months when the air is dry.
Read your pup’s body language
For walks and general outdoor play, look out for signs that your pup is getting too cold: shaking/shivering, change in demeanor or posture, or shifting weight from one paw to another. Your pup is going to want to play with you outside as long as they can, so it’s up to you to understand when it's time to go inside and warm up. Don’t forget to dry them off once you get back inside!
Don’t travel if you don’t have to
Seattle Pup Magazine encourages everyone to stay someplace safe, warm, and cozy during extremely cold winter weather. Do not travel if you do not absolutely have to, and never, ever leave your pup alone in the car, where temperatures can quickly plummet. Be sure to check the weather report for your area and be aware that winter weather can change dramatically in a short amount of time. If you must drive somewhere, make sure your car has a well-equipped emergency kit.
Things that should be in your winter emergency kit:
Blankets, sleeping bag, warm clothes, hat, gloves, etc. Put an extra set of clothing in your kit. You may think that you’re dressed for the weather when you leave, but it is likely you may get wet and need a dry alternative.
Extra set of doggie clothing and doggie boots for your pup.
Extra leash and collar.
Flashlight and extra batteries.
Extra battery or phone charger.
Extra water and snacks (for both you and your pup).
Visit the ASPCA’s website for more cold weather safety tips:
Written by Tracy Stober
Edited by Wendi Black and Jen Swanson