5 Things Your Dog Needs This Winter

November 14, 2016
dog in winter
Léa Jones/stocksy

Ever notice how, when they step into a fresh snowfall, most dogs get all bouncy and goofy? There’s a lesson there. They benefit from time outside when it’s cold just as much as their owners do. To find out how to keep tails wagging when temperatures plummet, we checked in with vets in spots where winter hits hard.

“Don’t let the cold weather keep you inside,” says Brooke Wilson, who runs a mobile veterinary service in south-central Alaska. “Getting out and exercising your dog in winter will keep you both more mentally and physically healthy.” (As will following these 13 simple ways to keep your dog healthy.)  

Wondering if your dog needs a second coat? Wilson offers a rule of thumb: When out for an easy stroll at temps below 40°F, put short-haired dogs in jackets, especially if it’s windy or damp out. For long-haired or thick-coated breeds, save the extra layer for when it’s below freezing. But if you plan to romp, run, or play with your dog, you can skip the jacket. “Dogs are good at using their metabolisms to create body warmth, but it’s harder for them to cool off, because heat only escapes by panting or through their paw pads,” says Wilson.

Sally Schlueter, an integrative veterinarian in Vermont, says you can give your dog spices such as cinnamon, ginger, and turmeric to improve digestion when it’s cold out. Always consult your dog’s veterinarian in case of food sensitivities and to work out doses based on your pet’s size and age.

Here are 5 essentials your four-legged pal needs this season:

(Find seasonal recipes, inspiring imagery, and gardening tips every day inside the Rodale’s Organic Life 2017 Calendar!)

nite-dawg led collar
Matt Rainey

Nite-Dawg LED Collar

Boost Fido’s visibility for safety in the winter dark with this illuminated collar.

waterproof dog coat
Photograph courtesy of Nina Choi

Billy Wolf Wyatt Waterproof Coat

This reversible waxed-canvas and vintage plaid wool coat keeps pups dry, warm, and stylish. (Avoid these 3 mistakes even good pet owners make.)

water bottle
Photograph courtesy of klean kanteen

Klean Kanteen Insulated Wide Bottle

Pack room-temperature water for your pooch. Drinking from cold streams chills dogs way too quickly.

mushers secret paw wax
Matt Rainey

Musher’s Secret

Rub this all-natural wax blend on paws to provide a barrier from ice and salt.

salmon oil
Matt Rainey

Yummy Chummies Wild Alaska Salmon Oil

Omega-3s in this sustainably fished supplement keep skin from itching in dry weather.

Related: Proof Your Dog Knows Exactly What You're Thinking