dog during colder months

Being a pet parent is a round-the-clock job — every day of the year, it’s your responsibility to care for your dog. Even when winter rolls around and all you want to do is hibernate, you still have to brave the cold and take care of your animals. Along with snow, winter brings an entirely different set of concerns that influence how you care for your pets.

Frozen ground, shorter days, and that nip in the air can all make taking care of your animal more difficult than in the summer months. But with some careful thought and a little preparation before the first big snow storm of the season, being a responsible pet parent during the winter can be easier than ever before. Here are a few ways you can smartly care for your furry friends when it’s cold outside:

Get Your Home Organized

It may sound like an obvious first step, but before anything else, do your best to organize your pet supplies as well as your winter gear. It’s all too easy for a lone glove to be forgotten in a mess of chew toys. You may not even realize you have gear that you bought for last winter because it’s not where you thought you left it. Organizing your gear will give you an idea of what winter pet supplies you already have, as well as what you may still need to purchase to get through this winter. As a bonus, you’ll get through those long winter nights without tripping over any leashes or scarves.

Go to a Doggy Day Care

If you are unable to keep your dog indoors unattended and have to be away from home for work, consider hiring someone (or asking a friend or neighbor) to help out. Taking your dog to a daycare facility will keep your dog entertained, exercised, and most importantly, warm while you finish up your day. Or, instead of taking them to a dog care facility, try hiring a dog walker to come into your home and care for your dog. Not only will they get the same attention and exercise, they can come inside for a while to warm up before heading back out.

Invest In a Home

Consider investing in a new home that is better suited to your pup. Better yet, consider buying it directly from the owner. They have already lived in the neighborhood and will be an incredibly valuable asset in your efforts to make your home as dog-friendly as possible. Discuss how the yard holds up when playing roughly or if a dog door is a feasible, safe idea in this home. They can also advise you on the best ways to exercise your dog in the neighborhood during the winter months and common precautions and practices other dog owners take to keep their dogs safe when it’s cold out. They can be an incredibly valuable asset and help you ensure that this new living space truly is the best one you can find for your family, dogs and all.

Adjust Your Schedule

If possible, consider rearranging your schedule or discussing work-from-home options with your boss so you can spend more time in the warm indoors with your pooch. Tell your boss about how dogs can improve productivity at work. If you’re feeling extra bold, try petitioning your boss to allow pets in the office, and say you’re happy to be among the first to try it out.

If that doesn’t work, even coming home to have lunch so your dog can come inside can help make the day go by a little faster for them. Being able to work part of the day or week from home would be even better! Those puppy dog eyes begging to play fetch or for some belly rubs will be a great reminder to take the occasional break from work while also brightening up your dog’s day.  After all, your dog is a member of your family, and you should do your best to make them a priority, especially when it’s cold out.

Winter weather can make us want to slow down, stay inside, and try to forget about how cold it really is outside. However, you still need to take care of your dog before doing so to ensure that they are also safe, warm, and healthy during the winter. They’ll be happy to join you on the couch or by the fire afterward!