Category Archives: coats

Winter Fun With Your Dog

By Linda Cole

Winter is one of my favorite times of the year. The air has a fresh crispness, and the beauty of a new snow dressing bare trees in a coat of white is awesome. In the cold night sky, stars twinkle brighter than at any other time of the year. It may be cold, but that doesn’t mean you and your canine buddy can’t enjoy the outdoors. Bundle up and have some winter fun with your dog. Here are some winter activities to help keep you both from putting on extra pounds.

Play fetch in the snow

Just remember to pick a color of ball other than white! One winter, I tossed a white ball (the only one that still had air in it) into a clump of snow and we didn’t find it until spring. Most dogs love to run and hop through snow. Playing fetch with a ball or Frisbee is great exercise for dogs any time of the year, but there’s just something about a good game of fetch in the snow that makes this winter activity special.

Go for a walk

Snow provides plenty of winter fun for your dog, even during a simple walk around the block. Walking in deeper snow provides a great workout for you and your dog. A soft fluffy snow is best because it’s usually a drier snow, and your dog won’t get as wet. The merriment can end quickly if hypothermia sets in however, so it’s important to make sure he doesn’t get too wet. A waterproof dog coat can help keep him drier, and booties will keep salt, sand, chemicals or ice from collecting on his paws.


For those who want something more stimulating than a walk, hiking is a great winter activity as long as you and your dog are in good shape. However, winter hikes require extra cautions and preparations. If the ground is covered with snow, even your favorite trail can be confusing to a dog with few familiar smells he can pick up through the snow. It’s best to keep your dog on a leash to prevent any rabbit chasing that could cause him to become lost or disorientated. A length of sturdy rope firmly attached to his leash will allow your dog to romp through the snow while staying safely tethered to you.

When hiking in winter, make sure to carry a backpack with emergency supplies that include a first aid kit, wooden matches, hunting knife, extra clothes, compass, flashlight and extra batteries, and extra food and water for both you and your dog, just to be on the safe side. Don’t forget a waterproof/windproof coat and boots for your dog. It’s best to stick to trails used regularly by other people and always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return. Check for up-to-date weather conditions before you leave. With proper precautions, hiking on a snowy trail provides a great workout and plenty of winter fun for your dog.

Indoor activities for dogs and owners

For those who prefer the great indoors during winter, try scheduling play dates with other owners. It’s a nice way to pass away an afternoon over coffee (or tea) and cookies for you, and gives your dog a chance to romp with familiar friends.

Work on basic commands

Winter fun with your dog can include teaching him basic commands every canine companion should know. Our dogs are eager to please us, and spending time working on commands like sit, stay, lie down, heel, and come helps you bond with your dog.

Of course the ultimate indoor winter activity that may suit you and your dog perfectly is sitting by a warm cozy fire with a good book or a favorite movie on TV, with your dog sleeping peacefully beside you.

Before engaging in strenuous activity, it’s always a good idea to schedule a vet checkup for your dog. When outdoors, make sure they stay dry and watch them for any signs of hypothermia or frostbite. Dogs get cold too – consider proper coats or sweaters and boots for them whether they are outside for an afternoon or just for a short time.

Outside winter activities aren’t for everyone or every dog, but if you and your canine companion enjoy getting outdoors, there are lots of things you can do together. If you take extra precautions and prepare for the unexpected, playing outdoors with your dog can help you both beat the cold weather blues.

(Photo by Seigo Nohara)

Read more articles by Linda Cole

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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The Best Warm Winter Clothes for Dogs

By Linda Cole

For some dogs, winter clothing is a must. If you see them shivering, they are cold and could be at risk for hypothermia, but don’t be fooled into thinking any coat will do. Not all winter clothes for dogs will keep them warm, and no one wants to spend a fortune trying to find what works and what doesn’t work. I have dogs who do need coats to stay warm when they are outside. The trick is finding the right coat or sweater that actually keeps them warm. The best winter clothes for dogs aren’t expensive and if you layer their clothes, you can keep your dog toasty.

Winter clothes for dogs need to be warm, but also easy to put on and take off. I’ve tried winter coats with zippers located on the underside of the dog. In order to zip up the coat, you have to roll the dog over on her back or hold her up on two legs. If a coat, jacket or sweater looks cute on your dog but it’s not warm and functional, it’s not worth the money. The best winter clothes for dogs can be put on quickly and easily, and should keep your dog warm and dry.

Dogs lose heat through their paws and ears. When buying winter dog clothes, look for coats or jackets that have a hood you can pull up over their ears. In my part of the country, we get cold temps that hover around 10 degrees and go down to subzero temperatures at the height of winter, with wind chills that are dangerous for humans and animals.

What works best for my dogs is a hooded fleece/quilted homemade coat and an outer dog blanket coat that is windproof and waterproof. If you aren’t into sewing your own, a quality hooded winter or fleece coat will do the same job as my homemade fleece/quilted coat. On really cold days, I add a T-shirt, sweater or sweatshirt under their other coats. When layering, keep in mind an outer coat will need to be a little larger to fit over other clothes if the Velcro® fastener or snaps can’t be adjusted when needed for a comfortable fit.

Winter clothes for dogs should include booties to help keep their feet warm and also give protection to the pads of their feet. Walking over frozen snow and ice can cut into their pads which can lead to infections. You can find inexpensive booties, but if they aren’t waterproof and they won’t keep their feet warm or dry. Look for dog boots that are lined with fleece and have a ribbed top. Booties are also great for summer use to help prevent accidental cuts from rocky terrain or broken glass. Use them to help prevent scratching on tender skin and protect injuries on the leg or paw. They are available in different lengths depending on your dog’s need.

The best winter clothes for dogs aren’t necessarily the most expensive. I have found affordable fleece coats, T-shirts, sweatshirts and sweaters at discount stores and online pet stores. The problem with buying online is the picture and description don’t always meet expectations and you can’t feel the coat until it arrives, so make sure you can return an item if it’s not what you expected. A coat, jacket or any clothing you put on your dog should fit comfortably and not restrict their movements. Hoods or hats should not be able to fall down and cover their eyes so it’s hard for them to see.

Winter dog clothes can be found at most retail stores that sell pet products and online pet supply companies. Sweaters and T-shirts start around $5.00 and up, winter coats, sweatshirts and windproof/waterproof dog blankets are $10 and up, and good quality dog booties begin at $10 and up.

I used to think dressing dogs in coats was silly and unnecessary. That was before my terrier/mix puppies joined my family 14 years ago. There’s no denying that they get cold in the winter. I’ve spent years searching for the best winter clothes for dogs, and have finally found the right combination for my dogs and environment. It may take a little time to find what works best for your dog, but with hundreds of styles and prices to choose from, the task is easier now than it was in the past.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Winter Care for Pets

By Linda Cole

October is quickly coming to a close, and for those in the northern part of the country, chilly winds are stripping red, orange and yellow leaves from trees and leaving only memories of a warm summer sun. The first freeze withers garden plants, flowers and grass. Winter will be here all too soon, and it’s time to start thinking about winterizing the house, the car and your pets. Winter care for pets can help them endure the coldest days ahead and help keep them safe.

Cold and snow can be rough on pets who spend most of their time inside. Dogs need to go outside, and it’s easy to forget they aren’t used to being in the cold for extended periods of time. They may have fur coats, but what nature gave them isn’t always suitable against freezing temperatures. I had a dog who would get so cold, his teeth chattered. If you see your dog shivering, he is cold. Hypothermia and frost bite are real possibilities for a pet who has been outside too long, and they are affected by a wind chill and cold.

Include coats or sweaters on a winter care list for dogs. Don’t be afraid to put coats on your dogs when they go outside. Unlike some people, dogs don’t have a macho ego that prevents them from being practical. My dogs want their coats on because they have learned they are warmer with them on. You can find a good selection of coats online at most retail pet sites.

It’s been my experience that more than one coat is needed. I dress my dogs in layers when they go outside in winter, because that’s the best way to help them stay warm. I have sweatshirts that go on first, then homemade quilted fleece jackets and finally, a waterproof, windproof dog blanket that goes on top for the really cold windy days.

Dogs lose heat through their paw pads and ears. When it’s really cold, quality dog booties will help them stay warm and ward off frostbite. However, it’s hard to find ear muffs or hats for dogs. I’m not a seamstress, but have learned how to make quilted fleece coats with hoods that help keep their ears warmer.

If you live in an area where the temperatures fall below zero with wind chills that can make it feel even colder, your dog will appreciate booties and coats once they get used to them. A combination of extreme cold and snow can quickly freeze unprotected feet. If you see your dog or cat not moving, or picking up one leg and then another, you should get them inside immediately. This is a sign that their feet are too cold.

Dogs and cats who spend most of their time inside should always be supervised when they are outside. Winter care for pets requires our watchful eye whenever they are outside. Coats and booties help, but our pets can’t tell us when they are cold. We need to pay attention to them and watch for signs like shivering, standing in one spot and not moving, or limping. A good rule to go by is if you are cold, your pet probably is too, and it’s time to go inside. Prevent frostbite or hypothermia before it happens.

Older or sick pets are affected by cold weather more than healthy ones. Pets who suffer from arthritis will usually feel more stiffness and move slower during winter months. It’s important to make sure they have soft, warm bedding they can lay on, away from drafts. Walks with an older dog should be kept short. Make sure they don’t slip on ice or snow which could put unnecessary stress on already stiff joints, and could injure them more.

Snow, ice, rock salt spread on sidewalks and chemical deicers used on city streets can collect in and on the pads of cats and dogs. Clean their paws once they are inside, because licking the rock salt and chemical ice melt from their paws can make them sick, as well as cause painful chapping and cracking pads.

Cats prefer warmth over cold. Make sure their bed is in a warm room away from drafts, fireplaces and electric space heaters. Unnecessary fires can be avoided by making sure your cat is not allowed near fireplaces or allowed to lay on or next to space heaters. Be careful using candles – a cat’s curiosity can end with an overturned candle that is still lit.

Winter care for pets is important. Don’t let cold temperatures stop you from going outside with your dog or cat and enjoying the beauty and fun of a new snowfall. With appropriate cold weather precautions, the fresh air and romps in the snow are good for our pets and us.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Should People Treat Their Pets Like Children?

By Julia Williams

Several years ago I was actively blogging on another site when a heated debate erupted concerning people who thought of their pets “like children.” A man who evidently did not have pets, had gotten his knickers in a twist over the idea that some people consider their pets a member of their family and – gasp!— akin to children on many levels. He stated that anyone who felt this way was off their rocker and further, that it was an insult to all “real” children. He also said that anyone who referred to their pets as “fur kids” or “fur babies” owed all children an apology.

It made me laugh then, and it makes me laugh now. My cats are “like children” to me, and the idea that it insults human children to feel this way is really quite funny. He’s certainly entitled to think of his own pets however he chooses. But no one has the right to tell anybody how they should feel about their pets, or about anything else for that matter! Moreover, no one has the right to tell a person they are being inappropriate for thinking or feeling in a way that is contrary to their own beliefs or emotions.

I don’t personally see the need to put little bows on dogs or dress them up in cute outfits (except on Halloween which is a whole different story), but I’d never tell a dog owner who did that they were in the wrong. Simply put, I have no right. My moral compass guides me and me alone; it guides only my choices for my pet, and no one else’s.

I firmly believe that if it floats your boat to think of your pets like children and treat them like cherished members of your family, then you should. If it doesn’t, then don’t. As long as there is no cruelty, neglect or harm being done to your pet, it’s nobody’s business.

If celebrating your pet’s birthday with a cake (made from dog food or cat food, of course) and buying them some presents is fun for you, by all means do it. If you want to include your pet in your family portrait or on your holiday card, it’s your prerogative. And why should anyone care if you choose to call yourself their “Mommy” or their “Daddy.” (Incidentally, according to a survey for the American Animal Hospital Association, a whopping 83 percent of pet owners do!).

I was watching a comedy show on TV the other night, when I heard a joke that really made me chuckle. The comedian said: “You can get everything from a dog that you can get from a child, but the dog doesn’t grow up to resent you.” Okay, technically that’s not true, but I still found it funny.

Well, I must go for now, my three children are meowing for some attention from their Mom.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

A “Coat” of Many Colors…

Tabby, Calico, Gray – okay, well gray is kind of easy, but you get the idea. What kinds of colors are available for cats? And how do you know what you have? We have the answers for you.
Interesting Fact
Tri colored cats are almost always female. About 1 in 3000 are males, but they are almost always sterile. This is due to the genetic factors required to create the color pattern. It’s no reason to avoid neutering your cat though!
Typical “solids” are just that – one solid color. There are really four basic colors, but they can vary in shades. The colors are white, blue (which is really gray), black and “red” which is the official term for “orange”.
Tabbies are one of the oldest, and most common, patterns. They can become complex though.
  • Striped: Striped tabbies look similar to tigers, but are often called “Mackeral Tabbies”.
  • Classic: These cats have a round color pattern, similar to a target. They are one of the most common patterns.
  • Spotted: These cats have spots that resemble a cheetah, but are more commonly found in breeds like the Ocicat and American Bobtail.
  • Tuxedo: These are the kitties with glossy black coats and white socks or white bib.
  • Other Bi-colors: There are other bi-colored cats that may include gray and white or red and white, or even brown and white colors.
  • Points:
  • “Points” are darker shades at the ears, tail, and/or feet of a cat. The Siamese is known for this type of marking. A white cat with brown “points” is known as a sealpoint.
  • Calico: These cats have separate solid color blocks. They may be “diluted” which results in a very angelic looking kitty or could be in blocks similar to a tabby, which creates a very colorful cat.
  • Tortoiseshell (aka Torties): These tri-colored cats have several shades of color that are all blended together in an intricate, muted pattern.

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.