Keeping Your Dog Warm
Some dogs were made for the cold, with double coats that make excellent insulators. As for the rest, they can still enjoy a winter’s day if you’ve got the right gear.
Need to learn how to keep your dog warm?
The most important thing is to know your dog and watch for signs of discomfort while you’re outside in the cold. If your dog is shivering or starts having difficulty walking, it’s probably a good sign that he need some more protection from the elements.
Protecting Your Dog’s Paws
If your dog will be walking in snow or ice during the winter months, you should consider protecting his paws. Not only can snow and ice get caught between the pads of his feet, potentially leading to frostbite, but, the salt and other agents used to melt snow may cling to your dog’s feet. The chemicals used to melt snow and ice may irritate your dog’s feet. In addition, they can be toxic if swallowed.
Boots – Boots are perfect for helping the dog maintain traction on icy walkways. Furthermore, the added insulation may help your dog retain some of his body heat. Most importantly, however, by covering your dog’s paws, you are protecting him from the various harmful products that are used to melt snow and ice in the winter.
- Pros: Boots are relatively easy to put on and take off of your dog. They offer strong protection against the elements in the winter.
- Cons: Boots may slip off if not secured properly. Some dogs never get used to wearing boots and may refuse to wear them.
Wax Sealant – A wax sealant offers a simple way to protect your dog’s paws from salt and other harsh surfaces in the winter.
- Pros: Don’t have to worry about losing boots and the wax helps keep the dog’s feet healthy.
- Cons: If not washed off, the wax can become clumpy and come off on carpets.
Should you use boots or a paw protector such as Musher’s Secret?
Only you can answer this question, as you know your dog better than anyone. If you think your dog will lick his paws, you’ll probably be better off with the boots. However, if your dog doesn’t generally like wearing clothing or having things covering his paws, then you should probably start with the wax and see how it goes.
There are so many people who swear by Musher’s Secret, I think it’s definitely worth giving it a try. Check out the many positive reviews on Amazon here.
Does your dog need a sweater?
Many small dogs and thin coated dogs can benefit from a sweater or jacket during cooler weather. In particular, small dogs with short hair (Min Pin, Jack Russel Terrier), dogs that are very lean, such as Italian Greyhounds, and dogs that were originally bread to live in warmer climates will become cold very easily, especially in winter. These dogs should be kept warm as much as possible and would probably greatly appreciate a cozy sweater to keep cool temperatures away.
Aside from those mentioned, most dogs have enough protection from the cold with their fur and could possibly overheat with the addition of a sweater. Follow your dog’s cues to determine if he is cold or not.
What about a jacket?
A sweater simply won’t do once the snow starts falling. A damp sweater from melted snow will only make your pet colder and is not healthy. A great alternative is a waterproof jacket. I love the Zack & Zoey Polyester Nor’easter Dog Blanket Coat for its cozy fleece inner and waterproof outer. The jacket has performed well with most of its users, as you can see from the reviews. Again, you should only use this jacket on dogs whose coats will not protect them from the snow.
How to Keep Your Dog Warm Inside and Outside
Some dogs have a difficult time staying warm in the winter, even indoors. Between drafts and cool floors, it can be downright impossible for a dog to get comfortable.
Some signs that your dog is cold in his bed:
- Sleeping curled up in a tight ball
- Trying to snuggle up next to other dogs or you
If you do see that your dog is cold, you have some options. First, you can try adding a layer of fleece on top of his bed. For many dogs, this is all they need to stay nice and cozy. However, if your dog doesn’t like that option, you can add a heater to his bed that will stay warm all day long.
Indoor Heated Dog Beds
The K&H Pet Bed Warmer is made to work with most indoor dog beds and helps keep the bed a little warmer than room temperature (as opposed to human heating pads which would probably get too hot for your pooch).
Outdoor Headed Dog Beds
If your dog sleeps outside, the same company also makes a highly rated heated bed for outdoor use. Check out the K&H Lectro-Soft Heated Outdoor Bed on Amazon.