Winter vs. Summer Pet Care Tips

Written by: Only Natural Pet Team


It's that crazy time of year here in Boulder, Colorado...a balmy summer temperature one day, and a biting winter freeze the next. We recently had a record high and a record low just three days apart! While you may be in a more temperate climate, it's still a good time to strategize on behalf of our pets in terms of preparing for the next season.

While summer and winter are worlds apart in many ways, they also have quite a few things in common. For example, pets everywhere may prefer to stay indoors in extremes of either hot or cold. And even though the term "holiday" typically brings to mind jingle bells and colorful lights, summer and fall also have their share of potentially perilous events! A little planning will go a long way toward making the whole year safe and happy for both two- and four-footed family members.

Here's a little summary to remind you about the most important differences and similarities between winter and summer pet care:

Skin and Coat Care

Winter: Most dogs and cats grow a thicker winter coat that needs extra care to prevent matting. Dogs with ever-growing coats should be left extra-furry for the cold months.View grooming products >

Summer: The winter coat sheds out, but the lighter summer coat still needs its regular attention. Matted coats can damage skin and attract flies. Many pets enjoy a "close shave" during hot summer months.View grooming products >

Extra omega-3 fatty acids from fish or cod liver oil will help skin and coat stay healthy.View Omega-3 fatty acids >

Daily vitamins and antioxidants help maintain an active lifestyle.View Daily Vitamins >

Consider using sweaters and coats for thin-coated breeds.View Clothing & Outerwear >

Don't forget sunscreen for light-colored pets, especially around the face and ears (but be careful not to get it in the eyes!)View Sunscreen >


Winter: Use booties or paw balm to protect from cold and prevent painful ice balls that collect between toes.View Footwear >View Paw Care >

Summer: Hot pavement can cause serious burns to unprotected paws; use boots or paw balm.View Footwear >View Paw Care >

Remember to wipe paws clean of road chemicals (check tummy fur, too!)View Bathing & Clean Up >

Check all over for burs and foxtails that can cause pierce skin and cause big trauma.View First Aid >


Winter: That daily walk is still important, no matter what the weather.View Collars & Leashes >

Summer: Exercise in early morning or cooler evening hours to prevent heatstroke.View Cooling Jackets >

The Great Indoors

Pets may spend more time indoors in both extremely cold and extremely hot weather. Indoor "enrichment" videos or calming music; treat-dispensing and other fun toys; climbing trees for cats; novel objects; and regular training or play sessions will keep your indoor pet emotionally as well as physically healthy.View Interactive Toys >

Outdoor Protection

Winter: A dry, wind-resistant shelter and freeze-proof water bowl must always be available.View Bowls & Waterers >

Summer: A shady retreat and plenty of fresh, cool water are vital for outdoor pets.View Bowls & Waterers >

Nutritional Changes

Winter: If your pet remains active in winter, more calories will be needed in cold weather to fuel hard-working muscles.View Natural Food >

Summer: If your pet lives to snooze in the shade, reduce food intake to maintain a healthy weight.View Natural Food >

Holiday Planning

Winter: Provide a quiet retreat for pets, and keep them away from kitchen temptations.View Anxiety & Stress Relief >

Summer: From fireworks to trick-or-treaters, that safe space is still important.View Anxiety & Stress Relief >


Air travel can be easier with pets during winter. In very hot weather, most airlines will not fly pets during the day. Car travel happens year-round; make sure your pet is secure in a harness or carrier. For errands around town, though, it's best to leave Rover at home.View Pet Travel & Carriers >

Stress Management

Stress can happen at any time of year. Good nutrition and regular exercise give pets the foundation for handling unexpected events; the addition of flower essences and herbs can be even more helpful.View Flower Essences >

Young and Old

Young puppies and kittens, as well as elderly animals, are more susceptible to temperature extremes, as well as to stress and dietary "indiscretions." Take extra care to make sure they stay comfortable.View Digestive Aids >

Pet Flu?

Cats and dogs can get the flu, but it isn't necessarily seasonal. In fact, it's more often related to crowded and stressful situations, such as in kennels and catteries. Dogs are more likely to be exposed to canine influenza during the warmer months, when they're out socializing at the dog park or on walks and hikes. There is a vaccine for canine flu, but it's controversial; a healthy immune system is still the best defense against stress and disease.View Immune Support >