Winter is in full swing which means it’s time to bring you part two of our cold weather tips series. Last year, we shared five tips to prepare your pet for the cold weather. This year, we’ve put together a list of our top tips to not only prepare your pet for the cold, but to keep them safe and happy all winter.
No matter how comfortable your pet is off-leash, try to keep them on-leash during your winter walks. Unfortunately, this is the season that a pet is most likely to become lost as snow can cover the scents that they would normally use to find their way home. If you want to give your pup the chance to stretch their legs and run, try swapping your regular leash for a long one when you’re at the park. With a 50 to 100 foot leash, your dog will have plenty of room to run without the risk of getting separated from you.
Regardless of the season, if you want to ensure your pet finds their way back to you safely in the event they become lost, make sure they’re microchipped and have a collar with up-to-date contact information.
On particularly cold or snowy days, you may need to shorten the amount of time that you’re outside. Every dog is different, so while some may be fine with their regular walk, others will not. If this is your pup’s first winter, keep a close eye on their behavior and body language while they’re outside – this is an easy way to see when they’ve had enough. If you’re worried about them not getting enough exercise, spend extra time playing inside your home or look into local indoor play options.
Winter’s short days means there’s a good chance that you’ll be walking your dog in the dark, both in the morning and at night. This means that you’ll want to make sure that both you and your pup are clearly visible to any passing vehicles. Wear clothing with reflective materials and add small lights to your pup’s leash or collar – you can even carry a flashlight for maximum visibility.
This is not so much a safety tip, but a suggestion for how to keep your pet happy and healthy if inclement weather is limiting their outdoor time. In situations like this, you need to get creative with how you keep them entertained. A great way to do this is to have some fun with their favorite Freshpet food and treats. Instead of simply feeding them from their bowl or handing them treats, you can turn mealtime into a game to increase their mental stimulation. Try using a puzzle feeder or hiding their Freshpet meals in different parts of your home and letting your pet to use their nose to find it. For more ideas, check out our list of six games and activities you can try throughout the winter.
Your dog’s coat acts like a jacket, providing an extra layer of warmth while they’re outside. Knowing this, it’s important to keep your pup’s coat nice and long – clipping it short can make it difficult for them to maintain a comfortable temperature. If your dog has very long hair, you can always trim it to avoid snow clinging to it, but keep an eye on their warmth when they go outside.
If your dog has a short coat – or no coat at all – they’ll need a little help to stay warm. The clothing your pet wears when it’s outside is dependent on both the weather and their tolerance of the cold. Some dogs may just need boots to protect their paws, others may need boots, jacket, and even a hat/scarf combo. If you need some winter clothes for your pup, we’ve put together a list of the best cold-weather gear for your pet.
We hope this list of tips not only prepares your pet for the chilly temps, but also keeps them safe and happy all winter.