How do you keep your dog safe and warm during the winter months?

It’s starting to feel a lot like Winter. This morning was a particularly unpleasant mix of rain and mist and it was cold. Really cold. We’ve all had to drag our dogs out of the warmth of the kitchen and into the fog for their morning constitutional. Us humans of course wrap up as snug as a bug in a rug, whilst our poor mutts shiver in shock.

We didn’t know this, but your four-legged friends are just as likely to get frost bite or hypothermia as you or I. And just like us, all dogs were not created equal.Some dogs will be more susceptible to the cold than others.

So, what can you do to keep your dog warm and happy in Winter?

Breeds That Are More Susceptible to the Cold Weather

Different dog breeds react to cold weather in different ways. Some dogs, like German Shepherds, Newfoundlands and Huskies like the rain and snow and turn everything into a doggy playground.

Short-furred and shivery mutts like Chihuahuas, Pugs and Terriers have a hate-hate relationship with winter so tend to be more eager to burrow into piles of fluffy blankets and lie in front of the fire. A slight draft sends them scurrying for shelter.

The same with bigger, short-haired dogs like Boxers, Greyhounds and Pinschers. These naturally playful dogs that go into excitement-overdrive in the snow still have to be monitored carefully. Their low body fat and short hair make them more susceptible to the cold weather.

Safety First

There’s no reason why you can’t slap a coat on even the most reluctant of dogs and get them out and about. In fact, they need it. A lack of exercise could have a very negative impact on your dog’s behaviour. Consider reducing the amount of time your dog spends outside in the winter and avoid these cold weather hazards:

Anti-freeze
Everyone’s using the anti-freeze and de-icers like they’re going out of fashion, but anti-freeze could be fatal for your dog. Anti-freeze, although odourless, has a sweet taste to it, making it an attractive prospect for your greedy dog. If you do have to use it, make sure you don’t spill it, keep it locked away somewhere safe and wipe your pooch’s paws before he can lick the anti-freeze off them. 

Frozen water and ice

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Thin ice is a dangerous thing for dogs and pups who don’t know the what they’re stepping onto. Any many an owner has valiantly jumped in to save their dog only to find themselves in a life or death situation too. Prevent drowning and hyperthermia by avoiding frozen water completely. Never mind the drowning hazard, your dog(and you) are at risk of slipping, which could result in pulled muscles, torn ligaments and even broken bones.

The best thing to do is give your dog and through rub down with a towel after your winter walks. Pay particular attention to their feet and tummy. You must remove any snowballs from between the foot pads, and make sure that any remnants of salt and chemicals are gone. If you don’t your pooch’s paws could become red, cracked and sore.

Get your dog winter-ready

You can slowly build up your dog’s immunity to the cold weather by spending short amounts of time outside as it gets colder. And by spending a few weeks getting them used to the colder weather, you are also stimulating their fur growth, which is their natural defence against the winter weather.

You can encourage fur growth and health by introducing a fatty acid supplement into the mix. We think that this MaxxiPaws MaxxiOmega supplement works wonders for a dog’s coat and skin, as well as his joints. It’s a combination of omega 3, 6 and 9 and includes a load of important vitamins and antioxidants.  

We wouldn’t leave the house without hats, scarves, gloves, jumpers and coats. So, just like us humans, dogs might need a bit of extra layering and protection whilst out frolicking in the snow. Here’s a round-up of some our favourite doggy winter styles; practical, useful and just pretty darn adorable…

Winter Coats for Dogs

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As cute as a lot of doggy jackets and coats are, you do need one that does the job too.These coats are warm, waterproof and weatherproof, keeping your dog comfy and cosy as they jump about in the snow.

NB. To measure your dog for their coat, measure from the point where his neck joins his body, down to the start of his tail.

  1. The Ruffwear Powder Hound

This is a soft, warm, fleece-lined dog jacket that will keep your dog toasty whilst still giving it the freedom to do its usual jumping, wagging and rolling. It’s“weather-resistant”, which basically means it keeps your dog warm and dry in wet and cold weather.

Apparently the Ruffwear Powder Hound is ideal for skiing and snowboarding. We can’t vouch for that because we tested it on a slightly ageing Labrador who would rather watch TV than go skiing! Plus, we live in England, not Aspen. What we do have in England though, is lots and lots of rain. Although this is weather-resistant, it’s not totally waterproof, so bear that in mind.

It also has a high-vis trim and loop for attaching a safety light, so it’s doubly practical for the dark winter mornings and evenings. It’s easy to put on and take off and can be chucked in the washing machine on a cool wash

Outhwaite’s have a very good reputation in the dog coat world. Their coats are hard-wearing and practical. This one comes in a range of colours (we like the raspberry one, in case you were wondering).

The fabric of this coat will protect your dog from the elements and keep them snug during the winter months. And, get this, the fabric is Teflon protected so it stops any moisture or water from penetrating the cat, keeping your dog warm and dry.

It adjusts using Velcro strips, which are super easy to use and it’s fully machine washable. This OuthwaitePadded Dog Coat is a really good buy.

We all love a bit of Scandinavian design and this little number has both style and substance. This is actually an all seasons coat and for the winter months it has a detachable polar fleece liner for extra-toasty thermal comfort.

It ticks the holy trinity of boxes; waterproof, windproof and breathable. If you’re going to put a coat on your dog, you want it to do the job and this one really does. We like the orange because it’s easier to see in the dark but although we didn’t test it, the hi-vis Danish Design 2-in-1 dog coat is supposed to be outstanding and is in fact, award-winning, which makes sense.

We really liked this one. It looks really nice and can handle anything the great British weather can chuck at it. It’s really well made and is made up of a waxed cotton canvas with a thick and cosy fur lining. That makes it a little heavier than a lot of the dog coats tested but it does mean that your dog is well protected in the wet and cold.

It is practical with velcro straps that make it easy and quick to get on and off. It’s easy to attach to your dog’s lead but you can’t use it with a harness. This PhunkyPets coat is maybe a little more expensive than other coats we have looked at but we think it’s worth the price tag when you consider the benefits. And it’s really cute. You can even turn the collar back to reveal a bit of the fleecy lining! The only risk it that your dog will be warmer, drier and more stylish than you!

This made us giggle a bit. We love a parka and think this doggy version of a human classic is genius. It’s even got the faux fur lining on the hood, although ours didn’t like the hood up! If you haven’t already seen it, check out the Canada Pooch website. We’re talking dogs with attitude.

The CanadaPooch Army Parka is a beautiful thing. It’s got quite a thick, faux-down lining for insulation, but it’s only water-resistant, not fully waterproof, which makes it more suitable for cold and damp rather than pouring-with-rain-wet weather. The Parka has a snug fit, but that’s probably OK for a winter coat. It’s got a pocket so you can stick any poop bags or treats in there and it’s compatible with both a lead and harness. We love it!

Paws – Dog Boots and Paw Protectors

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Some dogs simply refuse to wear booties, but it is a fantastic way to protect your dog’s precious paws. The trick is treats. Put the dog boots or socks on and distract your dog with treats or food or go for a walk immediately. That way they get used to having them on and associate them with something fun and tasty. The biggest bonus is no wet and muddy footprints all through the house!

Go for boots that are non-slip with Velcro fastening. Here’re our top picks…

  1. OnemoreChoice Waterproof Dog Shoes

These are tough little doggy boots that will protect paws from the cold, slippery roads and paths. They’re anti-slip, which is really important when you’re walking in frozen, icy conditions. They are sewn, not glued and are easy to get on and off with a Velcro strap for a better fit. Most importantly they are water resistant so your dog will have dry, warm feet whilst you’re out walking.

As with all the boots and paw protectors we looked at, these are anti-slip with a moulded rubber sole to make them skid-proof and tough. They protect the paws and keep nasty sharp thorns and other pavement debris at bay. The difference with these is that they cling to you dog’s natural paw shape, making them easier to run about it, as well as offering better protection and comfort around your pet’s ankles.

Again they are waterproof and breathable and adjusted and tightened using Velcro straps so they won’t slip off when your dog and running around the park.

These little dog boots have a warm flannel lining inside and are completely waterproof. They are also cut a little higher so they come further up the dogs’ legs, so you won’t get lots of snow or dirt getting into the shoes.

A lot of these doggy boots have the reflective strip on them but they don’t always show up that well in the dark. These actually do so if you’re walking in the dark then that is a big plus.

Not dissimilar to the other dog boots we looked at, the JunBo boots are non-slip, waterproof and breathable.But these are a better shape than the others and the dog seemed to be comfortable in them. Whether that was because at this point she was just so over it or not, we’ll never know!

NB. If you’re wondering how to measure your dog’s paws for doggy boots, it’s honestly a wee bit tricky and not an exact science. Just lift your dog’s paw and place firmly on a piece of paper, mark both sides of the paw on the paper and measure the length and width. Choose the most suitable size. Go up a size if the dog is in between sizes.

We have also come across these recently, and although we haven’t used them ourselves, they are highly rated on Amazon, so could be something extra to consider…

PawPlunger

The idea here is that after your winter walk, you come home and use this to clean your dog’s paws. It’s a little pot with soft brush bristles in it. You fill it with warm water and put your dog’s paw in it and move it around to gently brush the dirt and salt off. Good for the dog, better for your carpets and floors. 

You could then follow the paw bath up with Cooper& Gracie’s paw and nose balm. It’s an all-natural, vegan balm that treats dry, itchy or cracked paws, which are common at this time of year. It’s like a home pedicure for your pooch.

Snuggly Dog Beds

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It’s really important to make sure our dogs are warm during those long winter nights. During the winter months, keep your dog’s bed off the ground and away from drafts. We love a hot water bottle in bed but it’s best to avoid dog basket and bedding warmers, especially if your dog is a chewer. It could result in some serious burns.

We’ve chosen some super-cosy, plush dog beds, perfect for keeping your furry friend toasty all winter long.

  1. TheDog’s Bed Premium Orthopaedic Memory Foam Dog Bed

This thing is better than the mattress we sleep on! As well as being hypoallergenic, it has waterproof, removable and washable covers, handy if your dog is prone to accidents or incontinence. You can also buy additional covers for it. The orthopaedic mattress is particularly good for older dogs with joint problems.

We love Wolfybeds – they ooze doggy comfort. Although the fabric is durable, the fleece on this bed is warm and cosy and the wraparound style will will keep your four legged friend comfy and secure all winter long. We like the design too –sometimes dog beds and baskets are ugly and stick out like a sore thumb. This one blends in nicely with the furniture.

ThePetFusion beds are very, very comfy and ideal for older dogs or dogs with joint pain and mobility issues. PetFusion beds are everything you want from a dog bed; comfy, washable, sturdy and water-resistant. This one looks a bit like a couch with bolster pillows all around, which make great headrests for your dog. If you get a chance to try one out yourself, have a go.It’s pretty comfy.

Just look at it! I’d sleep on it. It’s so soft. And the shape is perfect for making your dog feel secure and supported. The faux shag fur is designed to be like a mother dogs fur and the design means that your dog can really cosy down. The machine washable materials are finished with water and dirt-resistant bottoms so if there are any little accidents, the wet won’t reach your floors.

Dog Blankets

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There’s nothing like wrapping up in a blanket, sipping hot chocolate and watching a good holiday movie. There’s no reason why your dog can’t wrap up too. No hot chocolate for them though, obvs. We’ve chosen some beautiful, super-cosy blankets to wrap your dog up in after their winter walk.

  1. SleepyPaws Sleeping Pad

This is an innovative little blanket. It’s a lovely, soft sheepskin-style blanket that has a clever structure that reflects your pets heat back towards them. So it’s self-heating. Perfect for wrapping up in after your windy walk on the beach.

Couldn’t resist a Christmas themed blanket at this time of year. This is a reversible blanket that comes in three different colours. It’s made of hollow fibres so your dog will be comfortable at all times.

This is a nice big, soft, cosy blanket. And you can personalise it. A great gift for the dog or dog lover in your life.

This is one that you could borrow. It’s super-snuggly and soft and really well made. The thought of curling up under this blanket with the dog after a walk makes it easier to brave the cold and rain.

Safety First

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During those long winter months, it’s dark first thing in the morning and depending on where you are in the world, as early as 3 o’clock in the afternoon, so if you are walking your dog in the dark you need to take extra safety precautions, for both you and your pooch. We’ve put together a little list of tips for safely walking your dog in the dark here.

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