For those of us in the North East, the polar vortex is here and by the look of it, its not going anywhere anytime soon. February is sure to bring more cold days so if you are a dog owner its important to know how to care for your four legged friend to keep them warm. Dogs hate the cold just as much as we do – every time I take my dog’s jacket out of the closet he runs the other way because he knows its time to go outside! As much as pets may hate going outdoors, there are ways to protect them from the harsh winter elements and to make the outdoors a little bit more bearable.
Firstly, dogs shouldn’t be left outdoors during extreme cold temperatures and should only be brought outside for brief walks. Exposure to severe cold for an extended period of time may cause frostbite and hypothermia in dogs. Each dog has a different tolerance level for the cold based on their age (puppies and older dogs are more vulnerable), the thickness of their coat and their overall health. Pay attention to your dog while outside and if the dog is shaking, shivering or whimpering the dog is probably too cold. A good way to tell is that if you are too cold, you can probably assume that your dog is too. Jackets are recommended for dogs with a short coat to help keep them warm.
Aside from adding an outer layer of warmth and protection, it’s also important to protect their paws from the chemicals and salt that are used to de-ice the roadways and sidewalks. The salt and chemicals can be harmful to pets’ paws so be sure to cover the paws with dog boots or protective footwear. If your dog’s paws are exposed to these substances, make sure to wash them with warm water once inside before the dog licks them off. You should also wipe down the dog’s feet, legs and belly to remove any remnants of these chemicals since they are toxic and can be harmful to pets if ingested.
For pet owners who are concerned about the health of their pets and the environment, there are a number of eco-friendly winter pet gear options to choose from. We’ve chosen to highlight a few of our favorites.
Billy Wolf Jacket
All products from this brand are made only with existing resources including vintage dead stock, American made fabrics and salvaged buttons. We love the Rupert Waterproof Jacket which is reversible, features both canvas and wool and is hand crafted in the USA.
Organic Oscar Pet Wipes with Organic Aloe Vera
These handy wipes are ideal for cleaning pets on a day to day basis or for those snowy days when you want to give pets a quick clean up before coming back into the house. These wipes are organic, all-natural and 100% biodegradable and are made with an extra gentle formula that is perfect for pets’ sensitive skin.
Pawz Dog Boots
Made of natural rubber, Pawz Dog Boots are the world’s only disposable and reusable dog boots. Waterproof as well as 100% biodegradable, the boots are made for easy on and off with a secure fit and are very durable so you can get numerous uses out of them. The boots come in a variety of colors and come 12 in a package.
Big Sky Blankets from West Paw Design
Just like their owners, pets like to cuddle up in a nice cozy blanket on cold winter days! Big Sky Blankets from West Paw Design are plush blankets hand sewn in Montana and made with high quality materials like faux suede and silky fabric. Best of all, they are machine washable which makes for super easy cleaning.
P.L.A.Y. Snuggle Beds
The name says it all! This convertible dog bed is made with a dirt-resistant canvas on one side and faux fur on the other and is also machine washable/dryer friendly. Like all of P.L.A.Y.’s products, the Snuggle Bed is eco-friendly and filled with PlanetFill® filling made from certified-safe, 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles.