Updated: Apr 25
Often times dog owners do not think much into preparing their dog(s) for the weather. "It's just a dog, they have fur. They can take care of themselves" is the common train of thought. Through my years of experience, I have found that depending on the breed of dog, weather preparation is essential. Here is a list of things to keep in mind:
It is important for short haired dogs to wear a coat if you plan on taking them outside for long periods of time. When looking for a coat for your dog good quality includes for the coat to be weatherproof, waterproof and comfortable. One of my favorite brands is Ruffwear, please see https://www.thedogoutdoors.com/10-best-winter-coats-to-keep-your-dog-warm-in-winter-2017-2018.html for further information.
Hydrate your dog. Even in the winter, water is important for dogs to intake. It allows them to regulate their body temperature. I would use metal-free plastic containers outside, and metal containers inside to avoid a tongue hazardous freeze.
Regularly grooming your dog. By getting rid of old fur/hair you can encourage growth of a fuller and insulating coat.
If you have an outside dog, I would recommend insulating their dog house.
Allow for your dog to have an extra scoop (or two) of food when they eat. Your pup will utilize those extra calories to keep warm.
Keeping your dogs ears dry can help prevent ear infections.
Avoid letting your dog walk on salt and De-icers, most of those have chemicals that are toxic to your dog’s paw pads and may absorb into their system.
Proper paw care is essential for dogs, you should be moisturizing your dogs paw pads regularly to prevent cracking. Using coconut oil on the paw pads helps to keep them soft, smooth and is essentially absorbed through their paw pads. If your dog licks the coconut oil, don't fret - the oil helps with their coats and joints. In the winter it does not hurt to introduce your dog to booties.
I would recommend measuring your dogs foot correctly when purchasing your dogs booties. Quality is essential, and the way they fit will allow your dog to adjust and become comfortable with the booties quicker. I would recommend going into your local REI store and purchasing Grip Trex Dog Boots by Ruffwear. The box of these booties helps you measure your dogs foot correctly. (Note: it is important the boot fits bellow the dogs carpal pad. It is also important to note that dogs "breathe" through their feet. So when you are inside take the booties off).
It is important to tend and care to your dogs paws. By keeping your dogs paws healthy they can become accustomed to various terrain and weather conditions.