Now that it feels like we’re in the dead of winter here in the PNW, what should you do to keep your dogs happy and active? Whether it’s indoor play or outdoor play, we’re here to save you and your furry babies from being cooped up all winter long.
1. Watch out for stinging and cracked paws!
It’s important that you keep a close eye on those adorable paws during cold and wet months. While winter walks can be crisp and refreshing, cold damp sidewalks and the chemical agents used to defrost our areas is enough to dry out paws, cause discomfort, and lead to cracked, bleeding paws.
To protect your pet’s paws, apply a moderate layer of petroleum jelly or other pet paw protection waxes. This will add a barrier layer between your pet’s paws and the ground. When you’re done with your walk, always spread those furry toes and inspect paw pads for debris and injuries, as shown below.
If you live in an area with harsher winters, consider purchasing pet booties to keep those adorable furry feet protected and warm!
2. Bring a Towel on Walks
Can’t stay away from nature walks and hikes? Then be sure to bring a towel and water for your pup. On walks, periodically check your dog’s belly and legs to see if they need a quick towel dry. Wet bellies and legs can rapidly decrease body temperature
Also make sure to offer your dog some water in between dry offs. Cold winter months tend to be drier, which will increase their water needs.
3. Keep Your Home Warm and Humidified
ASPCA recommends keeping your home warm and humidified during winter walks. Repeated transitions from the cold to indoor dry heat can be taxing on your dog’s skin (and yours too!). Keeping a humidifier on during cold months will help skin retain some moisture.
4. Hold the Baths!
Bathe your pets less during the cold seasons to protect their skin. But if your dogs get muddy and dirty playing, it’s still best to bathe them. To keep their coats shiny and their skin moisturized, opt for oatmeal-based shampoos.
For dogs prone to dry skin and skin infections (like Cocker Spaniels), mix 1 part coconut oil to 3 parts shampoo to moisturize and cleanse at the same time. When you wash it off, the coconut oil will partially stay on their skin – leaving them silky and smelling good!
5. Get Them a Coat
Dogs that frequently walk in the cold will benefit from a nice jacket. While a simple fleece layer is enough for many large dogs, those who live in areas with heavier snowfall will also appreciate a significant extra layer. If you’d like to purchase something a little more heavy duty for your dog, check out Blue Willow Dog Coats.
6. Have Fun Indoors!
On days where weather is not cooperating, or where you would like to keep your dog clean, indoor play is an excellent option! Dogwood Play Park and House of Ruff in Seattle, offer canines and their companions a space of play and mingle. While your dogs have fun ruff-housing, you can grab a drink and relax! For the more introverted dog, K9 House of Fun offers a reservable space for solo-play.
Check out our previous rainy day pet tips for more indoor fun ideas!