Wow, we are really having a cold snap in the Pacific Northwest! The negative temperatures are hard on pipes, cars, you, and your pup. Even my pot belly pig, Sipsey, came indoors. There isn’t enough straw to keep her warm as there is for my goats with their big wooly coats. Luckily, she was raised indoors as a young pig so she is potty-trained and well-behaved. You know they are smarter than dogs? True story.
Cooped Up Dogs
Then there are your dogs. Are they managing well being cooped up, not going for walks? Doubtful. It’s even hard to get them to go outside to go potty. My newest boxer, Spy, is not fond of this cold weather since he came from California. There are no tricks to getting your pups to go outside. If they are refusing, get your boots and coat on and go out with them. Make sure they go #1 and #2 to avoid accidents in the house. It’s not uncommon for the pup to go #1 quickly and then rush in. Then, only a few minutes later, #2 happens on your floor. You know your dogs and their potty habits. Trust your gut. I, too, must put on my coat and boots and step outside to make sure Spy does all his business.
Add a Layer for Warmth
It is advisable in times like these to give your pup an added layer for warmth. I am talking about single-coated dogs. The Husky’s and Bernese Mountain Dogs have been praying for this type of weather. They were made for it. My Boxers, on the other hand, have the thinnest coat and need a little help. There are all kinds of sweaters out there for dogs, but most are not what I was looking for. You see, my dogs do not have much hair on the underside, so it was important to me there is coverage there. Usually, there is just a thick Velcro strap wrapped around the belly. The top of the dog is covered well, but the underside is forgotten.
My friend, Melissa, had her pups wearing these neat fleece sweaters. She had a Boxer and he loved wearing his cozy sweater. I thought I would give them a try as they were not that expensive, and she highly recommended them. The fleece sweater is called Gooby. Funny name, but they were exactly what my pups needed. Saul, my senior forever foster wore his fleece 100% of the time before he passed away. Emmy, my forever foster, wears her purple fleece in the house because she does not have an ounce of fat on her body and likes to be warm and snuggly. These are also great for senior dogs to help them stay warm. The colder your senior is, the stiffer they become which is painful.
I ordered sweaters for all of my pups. If one is dirty or if one gets left at DayCARE, I have extras at home. They are washable and fit all body shapes. They stretch and hug your pup perfectly. You simply slip it on over their head. No zippers to fuss with. The sizes, in my opinion, run a little small. I recommend ordering up a size. The website even boasts their shirts fit mini pigs. Hmmmm, perhaps Sipsey should have one too. I am not so sure they make one big enough for her belly, but it will be fun to try!
Gooby also offers a puffer, waterproof jacket. I am looking into getting a couple of these to put on top of the fleece liner. The fleece liners do wick water, but are not waterproof. I think having both would be a perfect combo for these frigid temps.
Here is the link so you can check out Gooby. I do not get anything by mentioning them. It is just something I found good for my dogs so I thought I would share. You can order from the website and I also saw them on Amazon.
Training Can Help Your Dog with Pent Up Energy
Not only are dogs not wanting to go outside, but they may also be a little unruly in the house due to pent up energy. Find a trick on YouTube and use your pup’s mealtime to start teaching. Trick training or obedience training will engage your pup’s brain. You can tire a pup out faster mentally than you ever could physically. If you have participated in obedience classes, now is a great time to bone up on skills. Working on a sit-stay is still engaging your dog’s brain and will help combat some of the pent-up energy your dog is experiencing due to its change in activity schedule.
Keep in mind, for times like these, whether it is too cold, too hot, too rainy, you are too busy, or whatever is TOO MUCH, having your pup able to go to doggie daycare is quite helpful. Setting up an account and doing a trial to see if doggie daycare is appropriate for your pup is a great way to be prepared so if you ever need it, it’s available. In my dayCARE, the pups run carefree in the warm building. The humans don’t have to suffer in the cold, the dogs have a glorious time with their friends in the warmth, and both owner and pup are happy in the evening. Just keep this card in your back pocket in case you ever need it. Please remember, daycares are not all the same. Do your research to find one you trust.
Using Dog Enrichment Toys
Additionally, during these winter months, adding new toys to your dog’s toy box could bring about hours of fun. Over the holidays, I was visiting family on the Olympic Peninsula. There I visited a store called Moss, which has expensive and fun outdoorsy items. This store also had a dog section. Although the dog section was very small, I found a dog toy I had never seen before. It is a Loblolly pinecone enrichment toy and is the size of a large Kong. You can fill it with coconut oil (good for winter) or peanut butter and add kibble or treats. It takes your pup a long time to get all the goodness out of the creases in the pinecone. I love using this in my rotation of enrichment for my dogs. Avi, my puppy, was licking this unfrozen treat for a good 45 minutes. If frozen, I don’t know how long it would have lasted.
I would not leave a dog unattended with this toy, like I would a Kong. The parts could be easily ripped off, chewed, and swallowed if given the chance. When my puppy is finished and the toy is licked clean, I take it away and fill it up for next time. You can check out this cool pinecone in the link below.
Another toy to combat the winter months is the QDAN soccer ball.
This ball has been a fan favorite in the dayCARE and it is withstanding the wear and tear of the dayCARE pups. That is really saying something. I ordered a couple and all are still going strong. One got popped in week 2 of having them but oddly, it is still the pup’s most favorite to play with. They have not been torn up or shredded. They still look good as new and only one is slightly less round. The tabs all around the ball make this ball much more engaging. The dogs swing it around, toss it, herd it, play tug and have a blast! I have seen this ball many times but finally pulled the trigger and gave it a try. I am sure glad I did. Here is the Amazon link.
These toys and much more are discussed in my latest podcast which you can access here. It is podcast #38 Called “Colder Than A ____”
And remember, if you don’t know if it’s cold out…walk outside, and if it’s cold, it’s cold.