5 Ways to Prepare your Dog for Winter
This post is sponsored by Just Right by Purina – All opinions are my own
We have snow in the mountains. Yep. You read the right. We have snow in the mountains here in Utah and we’ve had it there since the beginning of October. Even though we’ve been enjoying the most beautiful fall days here in the valley, the snow is a constant reminder that winter is literally just around the corner and it will be snowing before we know it. Time to batter down the hatches, crawl into a whole (and get those dogs ready for winter!)
I’m not going to lie – winter is not my favorite season. I mean, I love the snow when I’m all cozied up at home, snuggled in blankets with hot cocoa and cheesy holiday movies, but everything else about winter is a big thumbs down. As a dog mom, I particularly hate winter because it’s really hard to keep my dogs active/entertained/clean from December through April. Does anyone else spend 30 minutes defrosting the snow clumps from their dog’s fur with a hairdryer after they’ve played outside in the fresh snow? Or what about the mud that comes in on their paws in between snow storms? Blech. It’s basically impossible to keep my house or carpet clean during winter time.
Winter also means the holidays, which I 100% LOVE but also, somewhat dread because it means Teddy and Rosie get a little nervous and act up in the flurry of holiday parties and constant visitors. Their training basically goes right out the door and it’s usually constant chaos trying to get them to behave. So ya know, I love Christmas, but I’ve learned that I really need to have some structure and preparations in place before we’re full-swing into the holidays.
That being said, I figured I’d share the tips and tricks we’ve learned to prepare our dogs for winter to help you skip over some of the chaos we’ve experienced in years past!
5 Ways to Prepare your Dog for Winter
- Have Indoor Games Readily Available – Utah can get pretty stinking cold during the winter, so even if I was willing to deal with the mud or snow paws, my dogs still don’t get to go outside a lot because it’s freaking cold! Without being able to run their energy out, they can get pretty bored and bored dogs become destructive dogs. We’re BIG fans of having some indoor brain games readily available so that they can stay engaged on approved activities. Some of these games include:
- Hiding treats in a muffin tin and covering them with tennis balls. Rosie is a big fan of this game because she has to knock out the tennis ball with her nose to get to the treat
- Hide & Go Seek with a favorite toy. This is a great game for any dog that has a strong hunt or prey drive because it helps them use their nose! We always take a favorite toy and hide it in the room while the other person takes the dog out in the hall. Rosie is a big fan of this game, too and Teddy (bless his heart) tries to play and usually ends up being distracted.
- Use Puzzle Toys. Teddy is a big fan of puzzle toys (which are toys that you can put treats in and they have to figure how to get them out.) His favorite is the wobble and he constantly carries it around, even when it’s empty because he wants to play with it
- Laser Pointers. Rosie & Teddy are both WILDLY obsessed with chasing the laser pointer. We can run them up and down the stairs in our house for 20 minutes straight and they are pooped for hours after.
- Trim any long hair that gets matted in the snow – Rosie has the LONGEST hair in between her toes that I’ve ever seen on a dog. They stick out in big tufts and everyone who meets her always makes a comment on how cute her toe hair is. While it is cute, it also is the perfect place for snow to clump up when she’s outside. She comes inside after taking a brief piddle break and has massive, icey clumps of snow stuck between all her toes that I have to use a hair dryer to get out. It’s not fun for either of us, so we always trim her cute toe hair up before the first snow of the year to keep the snow clumps to a minimum.
- Create a Safe Space for holiday craziness – We’ve got family coming in from all over the country this year for Christmas, so as excited as our dogs will be to have company, I also know it’s going to be a little stressful for them at first. My parents also love to spoil my dogs (which means all their training goes out the window because they get fed at the table, they get treats without doing tricks, and they get pets when they jump.) Rosie gets nervous around children, thanks to an unfortunate incident we had a few years ago with a child who poked her in the eye, so we always try hard to make sure that each dog has a safe space for the holidays. Rosie has two puppy beds strategically placed in the house that she goes to sit in when she wants a break from people. Everyone knows to leave her alone when she goes to lie down in one – sometimes she just wants to watch what’s going on from her safe space instead of be in the middle of it. Teddy lovessss his kennel and will often go to hang out in there when he wants a break. It’s so important for dogs to have their own space that they can feel safe in when their environment gets crazy.
- Have warm clothing on hand – For the dogs that might need a little extra insulation during the winter, it’s important to make sure you have coats or sweaters on hand for any outdoor excursions. Rosie typically doesn’t need any extra layers, but Teddy gets cold real quick in the winter when his coat is short. We got him the cutest little plaid coat with a hood to wear when we take him outside and he’s madly obsessed with it. Seriously. He prances around when we put it on him and even will stare at himself in the mirror when he’s wearing it (pretty vain if you ask me, but honestly, cannot blame him because it is pretty stinking cute on him.)
- Adjust their food formulas as needed – Winters in Utah are DRY DRY DRY and for our Rosie girl, that means her skin also gets DRY. We feed our dogs kibble from Just Right by Purina, which is a dog food service that lets you personalize the ingredients in the kibble formula so you can make sure your dog gets exactly what they need. Since Rosie girl has such sensitive skin, we made sure to adjust her formula to a salmon-based kibble to make sure she gets all the extra fish oils to help keep her skin and coat healthy. Additionally, because both of their activity levels are significantly lower during the cold months, we made sure to adjust their formula so they don’t get extra calories that they don’t need (Rosie has been known to pack on the pounds during colder months.) We really love Just Right by Purina and highly recommend checking out WHY we chose them for our dogs here. OH! You can also use the code JRBPI350 for 50% off your first order if you want to give it a try! (Not an affiliate code, just a save-you-money code!)
Okie Doke. Now that we got all that taken care of and out of the way, let the holidays (and snow) commence!
What do you do to prepare your doggo for the winter time? Let me know in the comments below!