Winter-Proofing Pets: Seasonal Fun, Learning and Safety for Furry Ones!

October 18, 2021 by University District

As the seasons change, we are turning our attention to planning for pet fun, wellness and safety in fall and winter.

From Howl-oween treats to agility training, paw-waxing to night-time safety measures, there is lots to ponder to prepare our pets for harsh weather, dark nights and preventing boredom from setting in.

This is especially important when long walks and hours at the dog park are so chilly it’s almost silly!

Lucky for us there is a local resource — retailer Pet Planet — with experts in all things big and small, furry and fabulous!

We spoke with owner Debbie Bauman about the wintertime what-to-dos for pets and you.


It’s a pack of fun when Halloween becomes Howl-oween this year at U/D!  How best to celebrate Halloween with our pets, Debbie?

“Who doesn’t love a Halloween treat or two?” asks Debbie. Pets enjoy getting in on the pumpkin flavours of fall too! 

“Pet Planet stocks pumpkin flavoured cookies and training treats to reward dogs for tricks…or just because! Healthy variety in snacks and meals makes sense for pets. They are how we train, bond and get all the right nutrients to stave away hunger and physical concerns.

“Use this time of year to pick up some fall-themed stuffed toys to keep your pet curious and surprised — another Halloween joy we can all share.”

Have you visited the U/D Pet Planet lately? They are celebrating their 25th anniversary in business this fall. Watch for in-store specials in November!

Firecrackers and late night doorbell ringing, Halloween can be a little extra scary. What are some tips for comforting your pet when their survival instinct kicks in and they become naturally afraid?

Debbie suggests reducing stress by staying home with your pet and encouraging them into a safe spot, like a crate or bed in case they want to hide away. Reassuring your dog or cat or bird with a calm soothing tone goes a long way to settling nerves. 

Gentle words work wonders! Try playing some music — like relaxing jazz — to divert their attention.

Tip: Tire your dog out during the daylight hours so they are sleepier come night time, then treat them with something like a frozen Kong stuffed with peanut butter and a bully stick! They’ll be too tuckered to get flustered.


Inspired by Halloween tradition or the Superdogs who made our Block Party a blast, what more can our precious pooches do in the winter?

Look around for some local classes that U/D dogs would love to take and start this fall. They can practice all winter and be ready to show their stunts come spring at the U/D dog park. Teach your dog new tricks and keep them active this winter with here in the NW.


When the wind starts to whistle and howl, the snow flurries and the ice builds, do dogs benefit from an extra layer of protection?

“Consider a fleece coat or knitted sweater for short-coated pets,” says Debbie. “Long-hairs are usually fine au naturel!

“Great for winter, we love the idea of glow in the dark and light-up leashes and collars. Nightfall comes fast here in Calgary in fall and winter months, so safety measures are a must. We have a nice selection of glowing accessories that signal you are out and about to drivers and cyclists.  Being seen with your pet at night will bring you peace of mind and reduce risks.”

Do winter weather variables also mean paw care becomes a priority?

Yes! Debbie suggests being wary of the drying damage that salt on roads and walkways can cause for pet’s paws. There are several bootie options for wet days and full tread booties for the harshest times.  She also recommends a good layer of good quality paw wax.

“A layer of wax goes a long way to ensuring healthy, conditioned paws all winter long.”


Winter becomes a muddy, messy, soggy, sloppy time for dogs and their people. Luckily, many of the U/D residential buildings have on-site dog washing stations. How best to keep pets clean and comfy in the winter weather?

“I encourage spot cleaning our pets versus full blown cleanings any more often than once a month or once every two months,” says Debbie.

Zoning in on the paws, snout and underbelly with a cloth or towel prevents the risks that too much product or water — especially hot water — can cause. Make a game of cleaning time with a bright cloth disguised as a toy. Pop on some music and be quick and happy when cleaning your pet. They don’t just feed on dog food…they feed on your paws-itive energy too!

“Did you know that Pet Planet also has a DIY dog washing station? There is a bay with shampoos and conditioners all there for you to clean and blow your pet dry,” says Debbie.

“Consider a rinse after a muddy walk to carpet-proof paws, haunches and paunches!” suggests Debbie. “You can drop in, first come first served, for a rinse charged in 15-minute increments. We do ask people to bring their own towels.”

Stay safe, sustained and upbeat with a little winter planning for you and your pooch! See you at the dog park, on the trails, down the Pet Planet aisles, or at the washing stations this winter! Be safe, be smart and be loved by your pet this wintertime!

We learn what makes Pet Planet different and what it offers from U/D shop owner Debbie. Follow and share your thoughts about our new retailers with University District on Facebook, @udistrictyyc_ on Instagram and Twitter, too!

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