Cold wind, sleet, snow, and ice… Brrrr! The winter months bring these harsh elements that can last anywhere from days to all winter long. And these weather changes are certainly enough to disrupt our routines with our pets. Before walks, we bundle up with extra layers, hats, and gloves, ready to brave the elements. But what about our pets? How does the cold affect them? Here are a few things to keep in mind during the cold winter months to keep your pet safe, comfortable, and warm.

1) Protecting Those Paws

The winter months can be harsh on pets’ paws for multiple reasons. The cold sidewalks or icy yards beneath their feet expose them to some risk of discomfort. Icy shards or unevenly frozen ground can result in small knicks, cuts, or bruises on their paw pads or between their toes. Furthermore, the salt and other deicing chemicals are harsh on your pet’s skin, elevating risks of irritation, especially on their paws.

Because of this, you may need to take some extra precautions to keep up with your pet’s paw health. Wipe their paws with a warm washcloth when returning from outdoor walks, and even consider dunking those paws in a bucket or bowl of warm water for a complete rinse, especially after a fresh salting. This will help rid of any harsh chemicals that would otherwise irritate their skin. Be sure to get all the spots in between their pads and toes so that the chemicals don’t reside in these crevices.

Skout's Honor Prebiotic Pet Balm for Pets in the Cold available at FarmVet

Adding a paw balm to the routine will also provide an extra layer of protection for paw pads. This Skout’s Honor Prebiotic Pet Balm can help prevent and soothe the effects of harsh chemicals and icy conditions for your pet. Apply a layer to each paw before going outdoors for extra protection or apply after wiping down their paws when you come back inside to soothe and heal any irritation or cuts.

2) Bundle Up

You’ve got your parka on, and your pet might need one too! Smaller dogs and short-haired larger dogs alike can easily get chilly while outside in the cold. This can especially be true if temperatures drop drastically or rapidly without much time for acclimation. But even with time to adjust to the colder temps, extended periods outside can still affect your pet’s body temp regulation.

Use your best judgment when it comes to picking out a coat for your pet. Things like size, age, coat type, and amount of time spent in the cold should all be taken into consideration.

WeatherBeeta Comfitec Windbreaker Free Deluxe Dog Coat for Pets in the Cold available at FarmVet

For a large fluffy or double-coated pet, the WeatherBeeta Comfitec Windbreaker Free Deluxe Dog Coat offers an extra layer to protect from the cold gusts of wind while also keeping your pet dry without adding unnecessary layers or too much heat.

Tough-1 Deluxe Dog Blanket for Pets in the Cold weather available at FarmVet

Meanwhile, the Tough-1 Deluxe Dog Blanket combines a waterproof outer shell with added lining for additional warmth. The shoulder gussets allow your dog to move freely, not sacrificing comfort for warmth.

Horseware Ireland Rambo Dog Blanket for Pets warmth available at FarmVet

We also love the Horseware Ireland Rambo Dog Blanket, and your pets will too. This cozy coat is made of moisture-wicking fleece for the ultimate combination of softness, comfort, and warmth.

Shop more coat options for your pet here.

3) Grooming Routine Adjustments

Just because your pet’s shedding has decreased in the winter does not mean we get a break from a solid grooming routine. It does mean, however, that some adjustments may be required. Simple things such as trimming the extra “feathers” around their toes to help decrease the buildup of snowballs or chemicals can make all the difference in keeping your pet comfortable. Additionally, while you never want to shave their warm coat, a trim of extra-long hairs around their chest, stomach, or behind will help avoid snow clumps or excessive dampness. Be sure to towel dry your pet when you come back inside, and we recommend combing through their coat with a detangler after a romp in the snow to avoid matting.

Skout's Honor Probiotic Daily-Use Detangler for Pets in the Winter Available at FarmVet

Skout’s Honor Probiotic Daily-Use Detangler is a perfect winter option due to its multiple benefits. With a variety of scents to choose from, this deodorizing detangler moisturizes your pet’s coat to rid of any tangles while restoring softness and hydration for a healthy coat. Additionally, the combination of avocado oil and topical probiotics supports a healthy microbiome to fight off skin problems.

Earthbath Grooming Wipes for Pets in the Winter Available at FarmVet

These Earthbath Grooming Wipes can be especially helpful in wiping away winter mud and salt or other chemicals to keep your pet clean in between baths. It also helps deodorize to keep them fresh and eliminate any “wet dog” smell.

4) Staying Busy

The cold weather is also certain to affect activity levels for your pet. Most of us shorten our walks and skip a game of fetch here and there trying to avoid the cold as much as we can. Your pet might be grateful for this too, but it is important to still ensure they are getting plenty of mental stimulation to replace any decrease in outdoor activities.

Nina Ottosson Smart Interactive Puzzle for Pets in the Cold Winter Available at FarmVet

Puzzles are a perfect solution to provide some mental stimulation while stuck indoors. Start with an easier puzzle such as the Nina Ottosson Smart Interactive Puzzle, and your pet may be able to move up in difficulty throughout the winter to options such as the Twister Interactive Puzzle or even the MultiPuzzle Interactive Puzzle for the ultimate brain challenge.

Benebone Zaggler for Bored Pets in the Winter Available at FarmVet

You can also keep your pet busy with toys such as a stuffed Kong Classic Dog Toy and long-lasting chews such as the Benebone Zaggler. The options can feel endless here! The goal is just to find something safe that your pet loves to keep them entertained, avoiding any bad behaviors that can form as a result of boredom.

Shop more entertaining chews and toys here.

5) Cold Weather Diet Considerations

One of the most impactful things on our pets’ health is an obvious one – diet. During the winter, some adjustments may be necessary here to keep your pet in its best shape. For pets stuck inside more in the colder months, this might mean lowering calories to avoid weight gain. Work with your vet to determine a healthy weight range for your individual pet, and be sure to follow the feeding guidelines to help them stay within that recommended range.

Bocce's Bakery Crispies treats for Pets in the Cold Available at FarmVet

While stuck inside, consider swapping your treats for lower-calorie options, such as Bocce’s Bakery Crispies. These low-calorie flavor-packed treats are sure to satisfy any of your pet’s cravings and are perfect for daily treating or training.

On the other hand, pets spending a significant amount of time outdoors will burn more calories daily as their body works to keep them warm. Again, talking to your vet will help you determine what your dog needs to maintain a healthy weight. Supplementing with high-protein snacks can be a great way to help them restore their energy.

Roam Pets Deli-Prepped Jerky treats for Pets in the Cold Available at FarmVet

ROAM Pets Deli-Prepped Jerky is a healthy, nutrient-packed snack with exotic flavors any dog will love. These single-ingredient jerky strips can help you supply your pet with extra protein to keep them warm all winter long.

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Learn More

Puzzles are a great activity for pets stuck indoors. Want to learn more about the benefits of puzzles for your pets? Read our blog here.