San Francisco Bay Area is known for it's warm to hot summers, warm rainy fall weather and it's foggy winters. Since the weather has changed much and gotten a lot colder then it has in the past, there are some ways to help your four-legged friend stay comfortable.
Tip 1: If you have doubled coated dog (i.e. Husky, Malamute, or German Shepard), think about leaving some of that undercoat in. It is there as a means to insulate their bodies. Ask your groomer to leave some undercoat, as it will benefit your dog. *However if your dogs does not get regular grooming please feel free to make sure they pull all undercoat out as any that is left which can matt will cause problems later. *
Tip 2: If you have a grooming breed (i.e. Maltese, Shih Tzu, Cocker Spaniel) please remember that the groomers can do many things at your request, but in order to keep them longer during these times it does require more time at home with a brush and a comb. But the longer the coat in the winter for these guys is a better thing. Then you don't need to buy sweaters. If you would like your dog to wear sweaters please ask the groomer to keep the coat shorter as the sweaters with rub spots that can cause Matts and sores on their skin.
Tip 3: If your breed of choice is of the shorthaired variety, their coat is very limited in what you can do. The suggestions I can offer are early climate conditioning where they spend frequent amount of time outside to climate to the weather change. If they are older dogs, you might want to consider a sweater to help keep the major joints (hips and shoulders) warm. Those areas can get sore just like ours do as we age.
Tip 4: For all breeds exercise is key to helping them stay healthy as well as keeping them warm. Remember that what your Maltese can handle is going to be different from the Husky down the street.
Tip 5: During these winter months are a time when we get puppies. Puppies need exercise and food to help keep warm. If they are long coated remember to brush and comb. If they are smooth or short coated please think about a sweater if they have only been in the house. Gradually as they get older and are outside more you can get them better adjusted. If they have been in the elements from the time they were born consider yourself lucky, as these young pups will be more adjusted then the house-raised cousins.
Happy new Year Bay Area! Let's get out behind our dogs and have fun!