Compared to humans, dogs are pretty low-maintenance. But they're not like their wilder wolf ancestors. They need some help to survive the winter. Much like there's a new puppy checklist, there are things that can make winter a little more pleasant for your pup. Here are a few essentials for staying safe and sane this season whether you have four legs or two.
Winter essentials for your dog
Much like humans need warmer sheets and blankets for winter, dogs need warmer beds to get through chilly temperatures. With its (machine-washable) soft faux shag fur and unique donut design that helps trap your dog's body heat in the center, this is one of the warmest dog beds out there. It's also one of the most popular. On Amazon it has almost 30,000 reviews and an impressive 4.7-star average rating.
Russell Harstein, certified dog training and dog behaviorist in Los Angeles, doesn't endorse any specific companies. But he told Shop TODAY he highly recommends his clients invest in anti-slip dog booties. This particular set is the #1 bestseller on Amazon in the Dog Boots category. Instead of laces, they have Velcro straps. But the best part is the anti-slip soles which help on ice. (They can also be used in the summer on hot pavement.)
Harstein is also a fan of dog paw wax. So are the dogs he trains since it protects their paws from the harsh elements like snow, ice and even hot sand. While there are a lot of waxes out there, this one is an Amazon bestseller with a 4.7-star average rating from over 6,000 reviews. It's made with natural food-grade waxes and oils and acts like an "invisible boot." It's what mushers and hunters use on their prized pups.
Do dogs need a cashmere sweater to survive the colder months? No, but they deserve one! This sweater from Naadam, one of the brands behind affordable cashmere, is made with 100% cashmere. There's even a matching human-size sweater for you, too.
If you're worried about your dog being deficient in vitamins during the winter, or any time of year, these multivitamin bites offer serious peace of mind. They include more than 35 nutritious ingredients that help in five areas: skin and coat, hip and joint, heart, digestion and immune system. They're for all stages from puppy to senior, and on Chewy they have a 4.8-star average rating from more than 1,300 reviews.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of dog jackets out there. But Nicole Ellis, a certified professional dog trainer seen on TODAY with her rescue, Maggie, recommends this jacket from Ruffwear. At $90, it's as expensive as a human jacket, but it's worth it. It's water-resistant and filled with high loft recycled insulation. It also features a full-length zipper making it easy to put on and off, four-way stretch for a wide range of motion and reflective strips for visibility.
If you're wondering what a pair of shoes are doing on a roundup of dog products, take your dog out for a walk in slick or icy conditions. It can be dangerous, especially if your pup likes to pull. For that reason, make sure you're wearing a pair of shoes like these with good grips. Nearly 20 million people have bought this model since it debuted, and it's ranked #1 on Amazon's list of Bestsellers in Hiking Shoes. These shoes feature Vibram traction which is used on shoes worn by the athletes who climb mountains like K2 and Kilimanjaro.
8. Cat Cave
Is this cave designed for cats? Yes, but that doesn't mean it can't fit dogs, too. In fact, Kristen Bell has one for her pup, Barbara Biscuit. It's the perfect hideaway for a dog who wants to hibernate during the colder months. It's made of "ethically sourced wool" and 100% natural materials including organic vegan dyes. Choose from more than two dozen different designs and colors.
It makes sense to wash your dog in the bath or shower when it's too cold to wash your dog outside, but it can be a huge mess, without the right accessory. Enter the Aquapaw. It may not have gotten an offer from the investors when it was on "Shark Tank," but it's a total game-changer for dog owners. It can also be attached to your hose and used in the summer.
It's OK to feel bad when you indulge in treats as your dog sits at your feet and begs for a taste. It's not OK to give them too many human sweets, especially chocolate. Instead, give them one of these adorable gingerbread dog biscuits so they can indulge happily and healthily. These treats, which have a 4.5-star average rating from more than 1,900 reviews on Amazon, are gluten-free and made with human grade ingredients making them ideal for pups with sensitive stomachs.
Dogs need to stay hydrated year-round. But if you live in an area where the temperature drops below freezing, it can be hard to keep your dog's outside water from turning into solid ice. One solution is this heated dog bowl which can be used in sub-zero temperatures. It features a steel wrapped abrasion-resistant cord and is controlled by a thermostat so it's energy-efficient and turns off when it's not needed.
Even though they're expensive, it's hard to find a dog owner who doesn't swear by bully sticks. They're a healthier alternative to rawhide and can keep dogs busy for hours on end. Although they can be enjoyed year-round, they are especially appreciated on days when it's too cold to play outside and cabin fever sets in.
Not only does winter mean it gets colder, it also gets darker earlier. For walks before the sun comes up or after it goes down, use a light-up leash like this which ensures other people, especially drivers, see your dog. This bestselling LED leash comes in two sizes and six bright colors. It features three modes: steady, rapid flashing and slow flashing. After about five hours of use, recharge the battery using the USB cord included.
For more stories like this, check out:
- 10 things you need if you brought a new puppy into your pod
- I tried the popular 'Shark Tank' pet-cleaning brush — and my dog loved it
- The 5 best dog foods to buy now