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Winter Gear for Dogs: 15 Essentials to Keep Your Dog Safe & Warm

Written by: Jessica Kim

Last Updated on June 20, 2024 by Dogster Team

Border collie dogs and belgian shepherd dog running in the park in winter

Winter Gear for Dogs: 15 Essentials to Keep Your Dog Safe & Warm

Winter poses extra challenges for dogs and owners who live in cold climates. It is important to be familiar with winter safety to protect your dog from injuries and sickness related to chilly temperatures. Having the right gear can help your dog stay safe as they explore the outdoors.

Shopping for new winter gear for dogs can be overwhelming, though, because of the many available products. This list will help you get the essential supplies that will keep both you and your dog safe and help you get through the coldest months of the year.

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The 15 Essential Winter Gear for Dogs

Walking Supplies

1. Paw Wax

Musher’s Secret Paw Protection Natural Dog Wax

Your dog’s paws will get exposed to all sorts of harsh elements in the winter. Not only are they walking on snow and ice, but they can also step into sidewalk salt. Therefore, paw protection is a top priority when walking dogs on winter days.

Using a reliable paw wax like Musher’s Secret Paw Protection Natural Dog Wax can help your dog feel much more comfortable during walks. A good paw wax will act as a protective layer and prevent cracks and damage to their paws. It also has moisturizing components to soothe and nourish paw pads after returning from a walk.

2. LED Collar

Nite Ize NiteHowl LED Safety Necklace Dog Collar

Visibility is a priority when you’re taking your dog out on a walk. Reflective patches of snow can make dogs more difficult to see, and winter usually means shorter hours of daylight. Using reflective gear or dog collars and harnesses with LED lights lowers the risk of accidents and your dog getting lost.

The Nite Ize NiteHowl LED Safety Necklace is an excellent example of a safe dog collar. It has a comfortable and lightweight design while maintaining a secure fit around your dog’s neck. The lighting is encased in a weather-resistant housing and can last up to 60 hours.

3. Goggles

Rex Specs Goggles for Dogs 2024

We recommend goggles for active dogs that enjoy playing outside on winter snow days. The brightness of the snow can make it difficult for dogs to see and can cause visual discomfort. The Rex Specs Goggles for Dogs enables active dogs to let loose and play in the snow freely and safely. Along with enabling clearer vision, the goggles act as eye protection so you don’t have to worry about any eye injuries from stray twigs and low-hanging branches. They are also comfortable for dogs to wear, and many users have reported that it is easy to train dogs to get used to them.

4. Dog-Friendly Ice Melt

Safe Paw PetSafe Ice Melt for Dogs & Cats

If you live with dogs, it’s best to use dog-friendly ice melt on your driveway, sidewalks, and outdoor steps. Regular ice melt contains harsh chemicals that can dry out and damage your dog’s paws. They can also cause dogs to get sick if ingested.

Pet-friendly ice melts have non-toxic formulas and usually don’t contain salt. Safe Paw PetSafe Ice Melt is safer for your dog and the environment, and it can be used on all outdoor surfaces. It has a distinct green color that enables you to see it clearly and distinguish it from other ice melts.

5. Paw Wipes

Hepper Wash Wipes

Walking in snow usually means tracking mud and water into the house, and cleaning their paws after every walk can be a hassle. Paw wipes make the job easier because they’re moistened with a formula that helps loosen and clean up dirt that gets trapped between paw pads.

Since you’ll be using paw wipes daily, it’s important to find a set that has a gentle formula that won’t dry out your dog’s paws. Hepper Wash Wipes have a hypoallergenic formula and are specifically designed not to irritate your dog’s skin. The wipes themselves are durable and won’t tear easily while you’re wiping around your dog’s paws and nails. They can also be used to spot clean dirt and debris caught on any other part of your dog.

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Clothing Supplies

6. Waterproof Winter Jacket

Hurtta Extreme Warmer Insulated Dog Parka

Some dogs have thick double coats and won’t require wearing a winter jacket when they’re walking outside in the cold. However, puppies, older dogs, and dogs with thinner coats get cold more easily and will appreciate wearing a coat.

When shopping for a winter jacket, look for something that’s lightweight and made with waterproof material. The Hurtta Extreme Warmer Insulated Dog Parka is a great example of a high-performance jacket that will keep your dog warm all winter long. It has a thin foil lining that traps heat effectively and efficiently. It also has high-visibility 3M reflectors to increase your dog’s visibility to any oncoming traffic. The jacket has an overall lightweight design so dogs won’t feel restricted when wearing it.

7. Sweater

Canada Pooch Soho Dog Sweater

Some dogs can feel cold when they’re indoors and will appreciate wearing a warm and cozy sweater. When choosing a sweater, look for options that use high-quality materials. Cheap synthetic textiles can be rough on the skin and can cause static, which will only cause further discomfort for your dog.

We recommend sweaters like the Canada Pooch Soho Dog Sweater. It’s made with soft yarn and has a ribbed design that’s comfortable for dogs to wear. It also has a back opening that enables you to easily attach a leash to your dog’s collar.

8. Boots

Muttluks Deluxe Winter Dog Boots With 2024

If you live somewhere that gets a lot of snow, paw wax alone may not cut it for your dog. Investing in a sturdy set of dog booties can help your dog enjoy walks without getting wet and cold.

We recommend the Muttluks Deluxe Winter Dog Boots because they have a longer lining that makes them more resistant to slipping off your dog’s paws. The soles are also flexible and feel comfortable for dogs to walk in. These boots are made with waterproof material to ensure your dog’s paws stay dry, even if they’re walking through snow and puddles.

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Indoor Supplies

9. Plush Dog Bed

Best Friends by Sheri The Original Calming Shag Fur Donut Cuddler

If your dog is a heat-seeker, consider getting them a plush dog bed for the winter. We recommend donut-style beds like The Original Calming Shag Fur Donut Cuddler by Best Friends by Sheri. These types of beds wrap around your dog and do a great job of retaining heat. They also provide lumbar support so your dog can nap comfortably.

10. Dog Blanket

Rocket & Rex Waterproof Cat & Dog Blanket

Another way to help your dog stay warm is to use dog blankets. Your dog will appreciate being wrapped up or burrowing under a soft and fuzzy blanket. Rather than using regular throws, invest in a high-quality dog blanket like the Rocket & Rex Waterproof Cat & Dog Blanket. These types of blankets are specifically designed with pets in mind. They’re made with safe materials and are usually waterproof or water-resistant. They’ll keep your couch free of drool and other pet stains, and they’re designed to be easy to clean and machine-washable.

11. Heating Source

FurHaven ThermaNAP Faux Fur Self-Warming Dog & Cat Mat

Puppies and older dogs may require extra care and attention to stay warm. You can use different kinds of heating sources, such as heating pads and hot water bottles to help your dog find additional warmth.

The FurHaven ThermaNAP Faux Fur Self-Warming Dog & Cat Mat is one of the safer options for heating sources. There’s no risk of burns or overheating since it doesn’t use any hot water or electricity. It efficiently stores your dog’s body heat and stays warm for as long as your dog lies on it.

12. Enrichment Toy

Omega Paw Tricky Treat Ball Dog Toy 2024

Wintertime usually means shorter walks, and many dogs start to get cabin fever because they’re not getting enough exercise. So, make sure to stock up on fun enrichment toys that your dog can play with indoors.

Enrichment toys are excellent boredom busters that can help dogs get some exercise and enjoy a mental challenge. If your dog’s a beginner, we recommend starting with the Omega Paw Tricky Treat Ball Dog Toy. It has a simple design that will keep your dog engaged and motivated by encouraging them to use their natural foraging instincts.

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Grooming Supplies

13. Moisturizing Shampoo

Hepper Colloidal Oatmeal Pet Shampoo (Aloe and Cucumber Scent)

Winters usually mean drier air in the home, which can cause your dog’s skin to become dry and itchy. So, when it’s bath time, switch to using a shampoo that has a moisturizing formula containing gentle ingredients like colloidal oatmeal. These types of shampoos will help nourish the skin and coat and prevent skin irritation.

Hepper Colloidal Oatmeal Pet Shampoo is specifically designed to be gentle on the skin. It has a pH-balanced formula, and it’s free of harsh and irritating chemicals, including DEA, sulfates, phthalates, soaps, glutens, and dyes. It uses natural ingredients to keep your dog smelling clean and fresh without damaging their skin and coat.

14. Conditioning Spray

John Paul Pet Oatmeal Conditioning Spray for Dogs & Cats

Dogs with long coats and thin hair often feel uncomfortable in the winter due to the build-up of static. Spraying your dog with a high-quality conditioning spray can help reduce static. When shopping for a conditioning spray, look for one that has a non-greasy formula. Some sprays leave an oily residue that causes dirt to cling to your dog’s coat.

John Paul Pet Oatmeal Conditioning Spray has a lightweight formula that also significantly reduces static on your dog’s coat. All you have to do is spray a thin layer on your dog and brush them to let the conditioner work into their coat.

15. Paw Moisturizer

Natural Dog Company Snout Soother Dog Healing Balm

Winter weather doesn’t just affect a dog’s skin and coat. It can also dry out their paw pads and noses. Some dogs will benefit from using a moisturizer during the winter months. It’s important to remember that while paw wax and moisturizers often look similar, they’re designed to do different things. Paw wax is formulated to protect dogs’ feet when they go on walks. Moisturizers don’t always act as protection, as their primary purpose is for healing and nourishing cracks in paw pads and dry areas on the skin, respectively.

We recommend Natural Dog Company Snout Soother Dog Healing Balm for dogs that have sensitive skin. It has a vegan formula and uses safe, natural ingredients that won’t harm your dog if they accidentally lick it. It’s also free of artificial fragrances to prevent any scent irritation.

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Top 4 Tips for Getting Through Winter With Your Dog

Winter can be challenging for many owners because it limits their dogs’ ability to spend time outdoors. Dogs are susceptible to damaging their paw pads or getting frostbite or hypothermia. Therefore, it’s important to know your dog’s limits and reduce their time outdoors in frigid temperatures.

1. Limiting Time Spent Outdoors

The amount of time a dog can spend outside in cold weather will vary from dog to dog. Puppies, small breeds, and older dogs usually can’t withstand cold weather as well as healthy adult dogs can. Breeds with short and thin coats also won’t be able to spend too much time outside.

The general recommendation is to keep walks no longer than 15–20 minutes when temperatures are at around 32°F. Temperatures below 20°F can cause frostbite and hypothermia. Therefore, it’s important to monitor your dog’s condition whenever you’re outside in cold weather. Look for signs of discomfort, such as shivering, difficulty walking, whining, and holding up one or more paws. Never push your dog to continue walking when they’re cold, and find the quickest route home.

Image Credit: Artush_Shutterstock

2. Exercising

You can do several things to help your dog exercise and prevent boredom during the winter. Try walking during the warmest parts of the day, such as the afternoon, and schedule more frequent short walks rather than one or two long walks per day. Some cities have indoor dog parks with climate-controlled spaces. So, if you have a high-energy dog, consider reserving a spot and letting your dog let loose indoors.

3. Playing Indoor Games

You can also play indoor games to prevent boredom. Along with enrichment toys, play tug or fetch in the hallway to help your dog let out some steam. If you live in an apartment building, have your dog walk up and down the stairs, and use treats to keep them motivated. You can also teach them games, like hide and seek or snooping around for treats hidden in the house.

4. Monitoring Any Changes

Lastly, make sure to check up on your dog’s condition regularly. Examine their paws for any signs of wear and tear. If you notice anything strange or see your dog exhibiting sudden changes in behavior, don’t hesitate to reach out to your veterinarian to determine if any medical issues are causing these changes. Your vet can also let you know if your dog needs additional care or a treatment plan.

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Choosing the right outdoor winter gear will help your dog stay safe. Make sure to find items that will protect their paws and help them retain body heat. It’s also important to have supplies at home that will help your pup stay warm and comfortable. Always check how your dog is doing and be on the lookout for signs of discomfort and being too cold. Taking these extra measures will ensure that you and your pet avoid accidents and injuries and get through winter safely. With these essentials, your dog will also have style and be protected in the cold.

Also see:

Featured Image Credit: Miachikova Natalia, Shutterstock

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