It’s January, which means it’s colder than a dog’s nose almost everywhere in the U.S. (remind us to book that trip to Hawaii next January). Times and temps like these call for some special gear, so we’ve selected five pet essentials you need to survive January (and maybe the rest of the year, too) with your pets.
All-Weather BootsYour pet’s paws are susceptible to exposure, soreness or even chemical burns from ice, snow and road salt (or other deicers). We recommend a good pair of all-weather boots. Although you can also use paw balm, which is easier for pets to adjust to than boots, we prefer boots for two reasons. First, their tough soles aid your pet’s traction on slippery surfaces. But more importantly, boots keep your pet’s entire paw dry, preventing ice from forming between the pads and toes. Icy toes can lead to frostbite and soreness in short order.
Play PuzzlesThere are going to be some days that neither you nor your pet want to go for a walk, despite your best intentions. Too bad too, because walking helps prevent destructive behavior in pets and is healthy in more than a few ways. Since cabin fever probably isn’t something you want to deal with, get the next best thing to walking: puzzle games and toys for your pet. Mental stimulation not only keeps their mind off boredom, but also improves their mood too. Be sure to choose a game based on your pet’s breed, size and age. A young border collie will likely require a different type of mental stimulation than a senior dachshund.
Lots and Lots of Dog Pads
When outside potty trips aren’t an option, we reach for indoor dog pads. Actually, we use them year round; we just go through a lot more in the winter. Choose pads according to your pet’s breed, size and age. A senior dog might need more frequent pad changes, so more pads per package might be important to you. And if you have a larger breed like a mastiff or Newfoundland, you’ll probably want the largest pads you can get. Pro-tip from the dog pad experts at Simple Solution for those of us who have male dogs that sometimes miss the pad: To improve your dog’s aim, you can create a target with a small plastic cone. Just wrap the cone with a pad and place it in the center of another pad on the floor. Your dog should now hit the cone instead of the floor! Cat parents can find uses for dog pads too—many put them under their cat’s litter box to keep the floor clean. You can see many more household uses for dog pads both here and here, too.
A Warm Bed
When the temperatures dip, all we want to do is bundle up and get cozy. Why not make your home as cozy for your four-legged family member too? When shopping for a new pet bed for your pet, here are some things to consider:
Make sure there’s an insulating layer in the bed, between the ground and your pet. Especially if you have tile or wood floors, even inside floors can get pretty cold at night.
Look for a bed that is a few inches wider than your dog when he’s stretched out. That will give him enough room to get comfy and cozy.
Don’t skimp on the quality of your pet’s bed—there’s a high likelihood that it will see a lot of use and abuse. Look for high-quality materials and brands that won’t fall apart.
Netflix Streaming Subscription
If you’re bracing for a winter inside with your dog or cat, you might as well have some entertainment at your fingertips. And Netflix streaming—and other, similar services—have some of the best entertainment on-demand, including one of our faves:
The Secret Life of Pets
What Netflix Says: After ending up in the outside world, two squabbling pet dogs find common ground against a gang of angry animals preparing an attack on humans. Starring: Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart What Critics Say: Fast-paced, funny, and blessed with a talented voice cast, The Secret Life of Pets offers a beautifully animated, cheerfully undemanding family-friendly diversion.