Updated October 31, 2023
Winter can be one of the most fun and rewarding seasons to own a pet. Big or small, some dogs just love to frolic in the snow and play outside! The cooler temperatures can be a gift for dog breeds with heavy coats as it allows them to romp and play for long periods of time without getting overheated.
As enjoyable as the winter season can be, there are a few things that are important for pet parents to consider – especially if you have a dog with thin fur or little body fat. You need to know how to prevent cold weather dangers and keep them healthy until spring.
Read on to learn more about proper winter care for pets and some of the top safety tips.
1. Winter Outfits for Dogs
We humans don’t go outside when it's freezing without a thick coat, so why should your pet?!
Some winter dog breeds are made for cold weather and have thick double coats that protect them from freezing wind and rain (looking at you, huskies and shepherds!). However, dogs with thin coats are likely to get cold at a much faster rate.
If your pet is on the smaller side or lacks a thick coat, consider investing in winter clothes for pets. This will help keep them warm and toasty and make them look extra stylish!
Furthermore, many dog owners forget to consider the frozen ground and what that means for their pets’ bare paws. Frozen ground can harm your pets by hurting their feet or causing them to slip on thin ice.
Consider getting snowshoes for pets to keep your dog’s paws safe from the cold weather. Shoes are not natural for dogs, so you may face some resistance when you first introduce them. Try giving your dog a treat each time you introduce the booties and work towards wearing them for a bit inside the house before heading outdoors.
2. Skincare for Dogs
Cold winter temps have the tendency to cause dry skin and discomfort. As humans, most of us know to incorporate moisturizers and balms into our self-care routines in order to fight the harsh effects of cold weather on our skin.
But what about winter skincare for dogs? Their noses and paw pads can also dry out, crack, and become uncomfortable if exposed to dry, cold air during their time outdoors. If you notice your dog has flaking skin or bleeding foot pads, you may need to apply a soothing product.
Organic and safe-ingredient balms can be used to replenish and rejuvenate the moisture in your pet’s paws and skin. A couple of options to check out are Veritas Farms CBD Paw Rescue or Paw Nectar Organic Paw Wax.
If your pet’s coat and skin seem especially impacted by winter’s dry air, you might want to look into a moisturizing shampoo. You should also try to towel dry your pet every time they come in contact with cold rain or melting snow.
3. Winter Food for Dogs
Another way to fight chapped paws and other cold weather dangers is by learning what to feed dogs in the winter.
During winter weather, your pet’s tongue, hair, and skin are likely to be dry, so you will want to incorporate foods rich in Omega 3’s to infuse more moisture. Foods like fish are high in Omega 3’s. Momentum Carnivore Nutrition’s Salmon treats are a great option that will keep your dog’s coat shiny and moisturized, and they will be happy to receive a delicious meal!
Another way to boost Omega 3’s is through supplementation to your pet’s diet. Cod liver oil is an excellent option and can be added to your pet’s meals to promote healthy skin, coat, joints, brain, eye, and heart health.
Momentum Carnivore Nutrition also offers Icelandic Cod Liver Oil in a convenient and affordable package. Simply add to your pet’s routine and watch them be their happiest, healthiest self.
4. Embrace the Cold Temperatures
For larger dogs or dogs with thick coats, going for walks in colder temperatures may be okay. However, use your best judgment and try to avoid any situations that could be dangerous or uncomfortable, especially for short-haired dogs who struggle to maintain safe body temperatures.
For instance, if there is an abundance of chilly rain coming down, it’s probably best to keep pets indoors except for quick potty breaks. The last thing you want is for your dog to get cold and miserable if it doesn’t need to.
Sometimes it will simply be too cold outside and unsafe for winter walks. In general, most dog breeds will be fine outdoors as long as temperatures are above 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Once temps drop below this point, your dog may start to lose body heat and seek a warmer shelter.
At 32 degrees Fahrenheit, it may be too cold for dogs with thin coats, low body weight, or medical conditions. At that point, it is most likely safest to limit time outdoors in the freezing temperatures. When you do go out, consider using winter clothes for pets to keep them protected, including coverings for your pet’s feet.
Whatever you do, never leave pets outdoors unsupervised for more than a few minutes at a time during freezing temperatures. Our furry friends deserve to be warm and comfortable just like we do, so avoid risking your pet’s health when temperatures drop.
5. Entertain Your Dog Inside
Deciding to keep your pets inside doesn’t have to be boring! One of the best ways to entertain your pup indoors is with toys and games in the safety of your space heaters or central heating system.
Most of us know that excited look our pups get when we bring a new toy home. If you know it’s going to be too cold, stock up on a few toys that you can gradually introduce to your dog to keep their interest high.
If you have a pup who gets bored easily or destroys toys within minutes, try a treat-dispensing toy. This is sure to keep their attention and keep their brain stimulated for hours on end. Momentum Carnivore Nutrition treats are a great size to put into these types of toys, and your pup will definitely enjoy them!
By now, many of us have seen videos on the internet of dogs jumping over or walking through random obstacles in the house. This is a great way to keep your dog (and yourself) entertained and active! Create obstacles using heavy plastic chairs, toys, balls, and other miscellaneous objects, then coax your dog into navigating the obstacles to get to you. Make sure to give them ample praise and attention to make it fun for everyone!
If your dog has a doggy friend nearby, arrange a playdate! Extend an invitation to another furry friend and watch as they romp about and keep each other occupied. Make sure to move anything valuable that could be caught in the chaos!
If deciding to keep your pets inside makes them bored, it’s likely other dogs feel the same way, so what better way to occupy multiple dogs than to have them play together?
Prep Your Dog for Winter
Winter does not have to be gloomy and boring for pet parents or their pups. The cold season can be a blast for everyone, as long as you’re taking the proper precautions to make sure you and your dog stay warm with the right safety tips.
If your pet has been exposed to extreme cold and seems to have been affected, contact your veterinarian immediately. You can never be too cautious when it comes to keeping your pets safe, especially during winter weather.
Looking for an easy way to prep your pet for winter? Take a look at Momentum Carnivore Nutrition’s supplements and treats, designed to promote strong immune systems and healthy pet skin, coats, and joints – all of which are critical during those cold months.