Winter has a funny way of creeping up on us. Some years, you can have a sunny autumn walk one afternoon, only to wake up to a foot a fresh snow! Where you find yourself spending the winter season this year, make sure you have the right care items to protect your pet from the harsh winds, inevitable storms and other winter worries for pets. Here are our top 5 must-haves for pet owners this season!

Weather-Proof Doggy Door: Many pet-parents have plastic dog doors that allow the pup to slip outside to the backyard anytime he needs to do his business. In the warmer months this works well, but during the winter, some dog doors will swing open during snow storms or when the wind starts to howl. This can be very counterproductive for those hoping to hold the heat inside! Fortunately, there are now weather-proof dog doors that will keep the house nice and cozy, and still allow the dog freedom to go for a quick romp in the yard. The Freedom Pet Pass Door will keep the warm air from escaping, and will seal the cold air from coming in.

Potty-Pads & Indoor Litter: Depending on the region where you live, there may be days where the temperature drops unbearably low, making even the quickest of trips to go to the potty unimaginable. For such days, keep a few pee-pee pads available so your pooch will have a designated place to go when ground is too icy outside. Using an indoor patche or natural fiber “puppy litter” are helpful ways to give dog a place he can go without worrying about either messy clean up, or getting frostbite from going outside.

Heated Pet Mat: Does your pup usually sleep on a bed in the kitchen, or down in the basement? If you are worried about chilly breeze sneaking in, or the cold cement floor making it tough for your dog to retain heat, opt for a self-warming dog bed. These will keep your dog’s natural body temperature high, without using electricity. (If you are really concerned about your dog, fill a rubber water bottle with warm water and put it on his bed before he lays down for the night.

Winter wear: Most dogs have beautifully thick fur, but short-hair dogs like Chihuahuas, Italian Greyhounds and even Doberman Pinschers have thin glossy coats that are no match for damp winter evenings. Be sure to keep at least one decent knit coat for indoor days, and a rain-slick dog jacket for long walks when there is a chance for snow or a cold drizzle. Dog booties are also a great way to protect your pup from ice-melting salt, icy roads, and freezing strolls outside. There is a wide variety of winter wear for pets, so make sure you have all the accessories you need to make this cold season a pleasant one.

Care products for outside dogs:   If your dog does spend a good amount of time outdoors (which we do not recommend in winter!) it is imperative that he has access to several important care items. First an insulated dog house or a dog house heating pad. Additionally, leaving a shallow water bowl outside almost ensures that it will turn to a solid basin of ice on chilly nights. Purchase a heated water bowl to keep the pup’s water source from freezing!

Other helpful items

Flashing light collars: These are great for late-afternoon walks when the sun sets early. It will help cars or other walker see your dog, even if the light is dim.

Treat-dispensing toys: When a dog gets “cabin-fever” when it is still too frigid for outdoor play, a food-hiding toy is a great way to keep him occupied and entertained during the long indoor hours.

Paw-balm: If your pets paws get dry and cracked from being in a warm house too long, or his feet are damaged after an icy walk, paw balm will help restore moisture and heal up the cracks in a jiffy.