The days are short, the walks are brisk and you’re really starting to notice just how chilly your dog’s nose feels (especially during those morning greetings). Between stocking up on hot drinks and bringing your sweaters out of storage, you can’t forget to take some time to help your furry friend prepare for the winter too. We’ve got seven ways to keep em’ warm and cozy all winter long. Bonus: One of them involves *lots* of snuggle time with their favorite human!
1. Invest in a heated dog bed: While you’re not snuggling with your pooch under covers, they could use a little extra help keeping warm. For this, we recommend an electric or a self-heating dog bed. This K&H Self-Warming Lounge Sleeper ($129+) is super soft and radiates your dog’s own body heat. Your pup will be as snug as a pug in a rug.
2. Bring playtime inside: Don’t worry — keeping them indoors doesn’t mean they have to keep vigil at the window. You can both get your exercise by designating a “play zone” area in your home. You can create this space with a furniture obstacle course or have a tug o’ war area (this is a great wintertime activity for kids too!).
3. Layer ’em up: While northern breeds like huskies could comfortably nap in the snow, short-haired dogs tend to feel the chill. Luckily, there’s an adorable solution. Stock up on some sweaters, dog booties and coats for dogs that are more vulnerable to the cold. Oh yeah, did we mention dog snuggies ($10) are a thing? You’re welcome.
4. Winterize their grooming: If your dog has a longer coat — or hair instead of fur — make sure to regularly brush it to prevent mats. Brushing also helps spread the natural oils in your dog’s coat, keeping their skin hydrated and healthy, especially on those dry and cold winter days. Avoid shampooing your dog in the winter if their skin is especially sensitive. Instead, try an oatmeal bath. If you’re unsure of how to care for your dog’s coat and skin, check with your local vet.
5. Give them more food and water: If Fido is giving you puppy dog eyes a bit more often than usual, there could be a *surprising* reason. Just like their humans, dogs use more energy in the winter to keep warm, and they may need some extra chow to keep up. Check with your vet to see if you should change your pet’s diet during the winter. Make sure to keep their water in a plastic (not metal) bowl if your house is particularly cold.
6. Wrap them in a warm towel after walks: Here’s how to make your very own dog burrito: Pop a towel in the dryer on a warm setting just before you head out. Circle the block a couple of times, then come back and wrap the warm towel around your dog. We also recommend drying off their paws to prevent them from chapping, especially if you’ve been walking on salty sidewalks.
7. Take advantage of extra snuggles: Our personal favorite method of keeping your dog warm is enjoying a mini-hibernation with your pup. Grab a blanket or two, a warm drink for you and a nice treat for them. Curl up on the couch and catch up on your shows — it’s like Netflix and chill, but with man’s best friend.
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