Weatherproof Your Dog

Remember to Keep Your Dog Winter-Safe

Snow, snow and more snow here in New York City - we are breaking records and the dogs are loving it. I have never seen so many dogs frolicking in the snow, but snow and bitter cold require special care that cannot be ignored.

Note: - In New York City a law just went into effect (January, 2011) to limit the amount of time a dog can be chained outdoors. Remember, even if your long-haired dog can handle cold weather - being chained for long periods of time will limit movement and exercise.

Below are a few tips to make sure your pup is having big-time fun, but not being harmed in the process. Prevention is always the best medicine.

Extra Calories - Your dogs may need a few extra calories at this time in order to stay warm especially if they are spending a lot of time playing outside.

Hypothermia - If your dog has heavy fur she can probably handle any kind of cold weather as long as she is receiving a proper diet. But an elderly dog, even with long hair would likely need a sweater or coat of some kind if temperatures are below freezing. Short-haired dogs would also need protective covering.

If your dog's body temperature falls below 101 degrees, she'll show signs of weakness, lethargy and start shivering. Take her indoors and wrap in a dry, warm blanket. But if she doesn't improve in 30 minutes - you need to seek immediate treatment.

Antifreeze - Antifreeze is a concern because dogs are attracted to the sweet smell and taste of ethylene gycol. A small amount can be fatal and result in kidney damage. Prevention is the key here.

Such chemicals should be stored on a high shelf and any leaking containers should be disposed off. In case of a spill, thoroughly scrub the spot with soap and water. If you think your dog has licked antifreeze, he will show symptoms of lack of coordination, vomiting and seizures. You should take your pet to the vet immediately.

Salts and de-icers on the sidewalk - This affects every dog in NYC because when it snows and gets icy, the sidewalks are salted to melt the ice. Additionally, main roads are also industrially salted, making it is hard to avoid having your dog walk in salt and other removal chemicals. Dogs may also lick the de-cing product.

Some of these chemicals will lead to vominting, loss of appetite and lethargy. The hard salt can also stick to your dog's foot pads and cause cuts. On your own sidewalks and driveways you can use a non-toxic type of de-icer. However, after a city walk, you should wash your pets paws with warm soapy water, and dry thoroughly.

Frostbite - Just like humans, frostbite can affect your dog. Exposure to frigid temperatures will cause the blood to flow to your dog's center to keep her warm, and can result in tissue damage to her extremites - the tip of the tail, ears and foot pads. Signs of frostbite will cause the skin to become white and cool to the touch, soft or rubbery and then turn black.

Don't let her stay out in the cold longer than you would. Treat the frostbite by pressing a tepid towel on the affected areas for about 20 minutes. Blistering or blackened skin means you should check with your vet. Above all, do not leave your dog outside for hours at a time without regularly checking on her - no matter how long her hair.

Outdoor Dog Shelter - If your dog usually lives outside year round be sure to insulate his dog house with straw or warm padding. Cover the doorway with a flap and keep the shelter small so it holds his body heat. Have it built a few inches off the ground, which will help keep moisture from soaking in. But also consider your pets age even if he has long hair - it may be time to bring him indoors and provide a warmer, draft free shelter.

There is a wealth of information on the internet and the ASPCA website.

For more pet friendly information, including whether your dog should go out and get a job, information about therapy dogs, and acupuncture for pets, see the links below.

Super fun for this doggie!
Super fun for this doggie!

More by this Author

Comments 68 comments

tnderhrt23 profile image

tnderhrt23 5 years ago

Excellent hub with good information that all pet owners need to be aware of! I am from Fla and am currently visiting my son in the Maryland area. I walk his dog during the day while he is at work, and your info here includes some things I had not thought of, which I am now aware of! A big thank you!

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

You're very welcome tnderhrt23. And now that you mention it I think most new arrivals in NYC who have brought their dogs with them - are not taking into consideration all the de-cing products being used. This month of January we broke all snow records and I can't tell you how often I step on a hard de-icing product. All the big trucks have been out spreading salt in the streets. Imagine if we were walking barefoot in all this stuff.

I'm glad you wrote.

Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 5 years ago from Georgia

What a great hub! I am very positive that this information will help many...especially those feeling the effect of this cod and snowy weather.

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thanks Veronica Allen. If we are suffering - our pets probably are too. They need the fun and exercise and then we have to step in and prevent the harm. I'm glad you wrote!

danieliuhasz profile image

danieliuhasz 5 years ago from Romania

Yes, indeed a good hub. I've had a good laugh while reading it, so good job in transmitting your message in an interesting and unique way! :)

VioletSun profile image

VioletSun 5 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

I don't own a dog, but had to read your hub as you mention my beloved New York. :) The tips are excellent, and glad NY passed the law limiting the amount of time a dog can be chained outdoors, especially now that its winter.

Voted up!

Philipo profile image

Philipo 5 years ago from Nigeria


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thank you danieliuhasz. Glad you found the hub unique!

Seems the law came about after so many complaints - people leaving dogs in the yard and then going to work forever - of course even when it's not cold - the dog may bark for hours. Thanks for the vote VioletSun.

You're welcome Philipo.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States

I used to live up north and I think those are great suggestions you made. Now I live in North Florida so I don't have to worry too much about the temperatures. Very good hub.

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thank you Pamela99! We do have weather issues we have to be aware of here in snowy, cold NYC - and remember them for our pups as well.

PWalker281 5 years ago

Great tips for pet owners, BKCreative. Hope you are surviving all that snow. Rated up.

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thanks PWalker! I actually like the snow because it cleans the city - and it is so pretty to watch from my window. But the super bitter cold - when they say old folks should stay indoors - well, I'm beginning to agree.

Another snowstorm is due.

PWalker281 5 years ago

Oh my goodness! Another one?! Stay safe!!

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thanks PWalker for thinking of me - yes - we are breaking records this winter with the snow!

AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Thanks for an extremely useful hub. You’ve included essential information for dog owners that people sometimes don’t think about or don’t know. What a strange winter New York and some other parts of the world are having this year! The weather forecasters were predicting that we would get a lot of snow where I live, but so far that hasn’t happened.

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

You're welcome AliciaC. It just occurred to me that with so many people at work all day and using dogwalkers - I doubt if dog paws are cleansed after walking though this snowy city. And more snow is expected tomorrow.

I don't remember seeing this much snow in NYC.

Thanks for commenting!

lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida

Living in Alberta and running a kennel there with sometimes 50 dogs to look after, we didn't worry about their paws too much. Out in the country, we had no such problems. We did have to watch to make sure they didn't get chilled. The problem was, when it was so cold, we couldn't leave the doors to the runs open and run the heating system -- $$$ -- so you had to take them out, but then, most of them couldn't stay out for long. So the cold weather was very boring for them. Different set of problems. Excellent hub for the city dogs, though. Lynda

Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

Great hub!

We don't have too much snow here in Wales as a rule but we have had a little more this winter.

Because of these our dogs are not as used to it although my daughter's Staffie jumps around in it like something trying to imitate a kangaroo on four legs.

There are so many useful suggestions here and thanks for sharing

Take care


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois

Great hub. Although we haven't been getting nearly the amount of snow you all have in NY, it's been a snowier winter and we're in the middle of that "blizzard of the century" making its way across the Midwest.

But I digress -- your hub has a lot of good info here for keeping our dogs safe in winter. I don't know what it is about snow - I have to drag Josie out if it is raining, but get some snow on the ground and she is happy!

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thanks llmartin - city dogs for sure are faced with this issue about the salt and de-icers - it's everywhere and we have to salt lest someone fall and then want to sue. Sigh.

So true Eiddwen - Love how the Staffie jumps around in the snow - our dogs know it's fun time. Of course folks are whining and complaining here - like for what? Maybe we should go out and frolic - like all the dogs here.

We too were expecting a major snow here in NYC Danette Watt - so far it's been less than a 1/2 inch and stopped.

Thanks for the comments!

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

Wonderful advice for keeping dogs safe in winter, BK.

About the new law, I'm really glad to hear that. I wonder if the Animal Planet network didn't play a big part over the last few years, with such shows as Animal Precinct, in building public awareness of animal cruelty.

We're in that storm path you are, BK. My daughter's dog, who normally LOVES the snow, has now had enough! He's a big guy with a double coat, so cold isn't the problem, but I think he's not happy with all his favorite elimination spots being covered with such deep snow that he's got to get his private parts chilled and wet to do his business!

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thank you Sally's Trove. We have been warned about the storm and so far nothing. Never know what will happen. We have had record breaking snowfall but it is never like upstate New York and the midwest.

I spoke to my neighbor whose beagle was thrilled with the first snow storms and was hard to get back in - she was bounding around everywhere - but now the old snow doesn't get a chance to leave and it has covered all the familiar smells. So she has had it now too.

Thanks for writing!

akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon

Great info on one of my favorite groups of 'people' - ha ha. I love that chain law and wish all states would pass it. I think it is inhumane and always has been to ever chain a dog. Great points though on how to keep our furry friends healthy and happy in these cold times....especially the antifreeze problem!

TheListLady profile image

TheListLady 5 years ago from New York City

I'm a NYer and we have had sooo much snow. Love it but I think the dogs are getting weary. They are not frolicking as much as they used to. I suspect the many dogwalkers are not expected to wash the salt off their paws. I can see problems coming.

Thanks for a beneficial hub! Rated up!

2besure profile image

2besure 5 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

Amen! Great hub on protecting your dog from the cold. Treat your dog, like you would want to be treated and you can't go wrong!

CountryCityWoman profile image

CountryCityWoman 5 years ago from From New York City to North Carolina

Thanks for the tips - I'll be sure to pass them on. I'm sure our city dogs are suffering from all the salt and de-icers.

Rated up!

Wealthmadehealthy profile image

Wealthmadehealthy 5 years ago from Somewhere in the Lone Star State

Great hub. As I have lived in MN and also own several dogs, the salt issue is one I wish to add to . In the city, it is definitely hard to control what your dogs walk in, but if they are in a home with a fenced yard and you have to put salt out, use water softener salt. It does not contain the chemicals the regular "deicers" which are used commercially.

I am most decidedly against dressing dogs, but mine do own an extra winter coat for cold weather. Dogs put on extra fur in the winter, but sub zero temps tend to make them ill. They need protection just as we do...AND when bringing Rover in out of the snow, check in between the pads of his/her feet. They get little "snowballs" in the area between the front pads and the rear. Pulling them out when they come in will save them from feet infections.

Great hub, lots of good info, enjoyed reading it!

Stay warm..the ice is on it's way. Have an inch of it on the ground here.

rakoo profile image

rakoo 5 years ago from Midwest

I have a rhodesian ridgbeback just hates the cold and winter.

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

I love dog lovers, we share such good useful information.

Thank you akirchner, dogs are among my favorites too because, well they are hilarious - they have such a good sense of humor and are born knowing how to play.

Thank you thelistlady I know what you mean about dog walkers. Folks are working all day and paying to have their pups walked but with this never-ending snow and salting it can take a toll on the foot pads.

So true 2besure - a very simple rule to live by!

Thank you CountryCityWoman - and more snow and ice is coming.

Thanks for passing on those tips Wealthmadehealthy! And the information about water-softener salt. Right now it seems this major storm predicted here in NYC since last night is passing us by - but freezing temp are expected and there is plenty of slush out there now.

Thanks for writing rakoo!

Mrs. J. B. profile image

Mrs. J. B. 5 years ago from Southern California

You wrote a fabulous hub. I loved it.

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden

BkCreative, you have done a great hub that will prevent dogs from freezing! My last dog was a Leonberger, and he loved being out when there was snow and down to -20 degrees C. But even a dog with that kind of fur can´t be left alone outside during a cold day, and certainly not with limited possibility to move around. And he had also problems with small hard "snowballs" between the pads!

Thanks for this wonderful hub, for humans best friend!Voted up!

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thank you Mrs. J.B., for the nice compliment.

Thanks for your input thoughtforce. It's always grand when there is input. So true a dog with that kind of fur still has limited range in a backyard, is probably not working, may even be a single dog so no 'three dog night' to stay warm. And the small hard snowballs, I'm hearing more about that. Thanks for commenting and thanks for the vote.

GettysburgGerry profile image

GettysburgGerry 5 years ago from Gettyburg Adams County Pa area

Excellent post, being the VP of our local shelter board I cannot say how wonderful this post is. We are working hard on a similar bill regarding the amount of time a pet be left outside or chained. Pisses me off that we have to enact bills to get people to use common sense and decency. Great post

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thanks for your comment GettysburgGerry. We have to have laws here because you just can't appeal to the intelligence of the irresponsible, because it seems there is none. Sigh! It has to be illegal for people to be cruel.

I'm glad you wrote.

lindatymensky profile image

lindatymensky 5 years ago

Informative, well written article. I didn't think about the chemical and salt dangers. Thanks! I'm following you. Keep 'em coming! Linda

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

You're welcome lindatymensky! Thanks for commenting and I am following you! There is so much ice out there right now - it can only get worst for our pups!

janiek profile image

janiek 5 years ago

Hi BkCreative:

Very helpful article for dog owners! I'm so happy to hear about the new law that went into effect in New York. We live in PA and the same law was supposed to of gone into effect awhile back, although I didn't follow up and I'm not sure what happened.

What troubles me though is that if the Humane Officers do not enforce the law, it doesn't help much. Hopefully NY humane officers will. I don't feel that PA is very pet conscious and many resist change here.

As you recommended, I typically rinse my dog's feet in warm water after returning from a walk on the snowy salted roads. My dobe is pretty good about wearing boots, but our lab wants no part of coats, sweaters or shoes. Lol!

Very nice Hub....


Kelly347 profile image

Kelly347 5 years ago

Great hub! I hope people are not leaving their dogs chained up this time of year!!

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

I hope they are not leaving their dogs chained as well Kelly347. But still we had to create this law in NYC for those that refuse to think.

Great to meet you by the way!

janiek profile image

janiek 5 years ago

Last year I had to call on one particular family regularly in our neighborhood regarding their yellow lab being chained to a tree and living in plastic dog house. Last year we had many, many snow storms and this dog's house was sitting in the middle of snow that was atleast 2' deep. I'm quite sure there was no straw inside the dog house either. I approached the family and asked if there was anyway that I could help. I follow "Dogs Deserve Better" which is a wonderful organization working towards unchaining all dogs. Well, they weren't very happy with me and said that I should worry more about kids than dogs -- I told them that I worry about both!

I asked the humane officer if he would enforce the new law in Pa when it came into effect and he said how could he?

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Isn't that always the case janiek - you see abuse and even step in and get some idiot/smart mouth response. So it has to be law so this way you can call the police. We have community policing organizations here in NYC and each precinct has a community liason that you can call for quality of life issues. If you just dial 911 it may take awhile for a patrol car to get your way. I have called this liason and they have shown up in less than 5 minutes. Amazing!

I did not know this existed until my son as a member of the dept. told me. The reason to call them he said is because if you get into a confrontation with a neighbor and the police show up they have no idea who is doing what so everyone is taken to the precinct. (And I'm sure, he doesn't want his poor old ma in police custody) Especially when there is an easier and more enduring way to handle this.

I have the name of the person to call and his direct line.

Maybe this will work for you if it is now the law in your city.

Thanks for checking back!

janiek profile image

janiek 5 years ago

Awe, thanks you BkCreative.

I love the idea of community policing - that's so important. I pretty much police the entire neighborhood myself and everyone around here is pretty good. One more story though! My next door neighbor had a 16 year old cocker spaniel. Not bad enough that they never got her spayed and let her have a litter at 14 years old. She started showing signs of incontinence and they threw her outside in the dead of winter in a dog house. Naturally, she wouldn't go in because she was a house dog. So she would wander over my way and I couldn't get ahold of her to take her in. Anyway, he had another dog (a german shepard) that lived outside and his hips were so bad from dysplasia. Myself along with the authorities managed to get him to put both dogs down and end their suffering. I would appreciate the name and number of that person please.

Thanks for a nice hub. :o


toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 5 years ago

Great hub! Thanks for all the wise tips. In this weather, I let my dogs tell me how long they want to be outside. Some days, they look so happy frolicking in the snow and some days you can tell they can't believe this weather anymore than we can.

lindacee profile image

lindacee 5 years ago from Southern Arizona

It infuriates me that people have so little sense or empathy than to leave a pet unprotected out in the cold!

Your Hub is full of wonderful information for pet owners. There are many hidden winter dangers that can harm our four-legged little buddies! We need to keep them safe. Thanks!

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

It seems janiek that we have a long, long way to go before we treat other animals as we want to be treated. How in the world can you abandon a 14 year old dog to have puppies?

You're welcome toknowinfo. When I see my neighbor dogs they have had it with the snow. At first you had to almost carry them in but now they don't want to go out. My beagle neighbor says it's because his pup can no longer smell her familiar spots. Need I mention the piled up snow is now filthy?

I can see why, lindacee, that this law was so necessary in NYC. People are only going to do the right things if they are going to suffer consequences. They know better but are just cruel.

Thanks for the comments!

stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Great tips and very useful! Our dog likes to go outside, but winter is not the time to leave them out for long periods of time. I especially loved the tip about extra calories - didn't even consider that one. Rated up!

stey_true profile image

stey_true 5 years ago from Maine

Great Hub! I'm glad someone is getting the proper information on animal care out there! Voted up and useful.

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

I'm glad you liked the tips stephhick68. We've had some bitterly cold weather here in NYC and our pets deserve better. Thanks for the rating!

Thanks for commenting stey-true. It's always surprising to see the blatant lack of commonsense when it comes to petcare. Thanks for the rating!

stey_true profile image

stey_true 5 years ago from Maine

You're welcome!

GreenThumbLady profile image

GreenThumbLady 5 years ago from The Beautiful Earth

Very very important information!! Everyone with a dog needs to read this and think about the health of their dogs at all times.

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

So true - thank you for commenting GreenThumbLady. If we insist on their domestication we must be the caregivers.

theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 5 years ago from Holly, MI

I love that I am reading this as I am trying to bribe my dogs to come in from the cold right now. lol But so true...many people think they can leave their dogs outside but even though my dogs have long coats...I would never MAKE them stay out there for an extended period of time. If they want to play...fine but people that leave their dogs out when they go to work,'d like to lock them outside for the day and see how they like it. It's also important to check paw pads when you come back from walks to make sure no ice or salt is stuck in them! Great hub..rated up!

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thank you theherbivorehippi - that may be fun if we can team up and make some people spend the day chained outside. Oh, we will let them put on a coat and what not. But then chain them. If anyone was meant to run free it is our 4 legged friends.

And I am thinking that when summer comes we will have to create a whole other list of safety precautions lest people leave dogs out chained all day in the sun and with no water. Sigh.

I'm glad you wrote!

AskAshlie3433 profile image

AskAshlie3433 5 years ago from WEST VIRGINIA

Very useful information. Great hub, great layout.

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thank you AskAshlie3433 - I'm glad you found the hub useful!

shygirl2 5 years ago

Wow! Great hub and advice and tips for those who have a dog, Bk. I hope to have one someday again soon, so this is good to know. Thanks for sharing it with us.

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

You're welcome shygirl2 - thanks for writing!

HealthyHanna profile image

HealthyHanna 5 years ago from Utah

I love my dog! Thanks for the tips. We let him live inside, but I hate the dog hair. Your hub on household hazards and dogs is good too.

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thanks HealthyHanna - I'm glad you checked out both hubs. Our dear doggies have no problem putting anything in their mouth - but so might children. So it's up to us - the big dogs to be careful! Thanks for commenting!

ImChemist profile image

ImChemist 5 years ago

Nice hub , thanks for sharing it. i rated your hub. Stop at mine too.

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thanks ImChemist. I'll be there!

DOGS 101 profile image

DOGS 101 5 years ago from Planet Earth

Nice reading. I like the picture of the doggie.

kephrira profile image

kephrira 5 years ago from Birmingham

Useful info. I was thinking more along the lines of little shoes for them. I'm always amazed by how their feet don't freeze when you take them for a long walk in the snow. I know I wouldn't want to be walking around barefoot in that weather, but it really doesn't seem to bother them at all.

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

I see some dogs with boots on but they always look so uncomfortable. I guess the pads on the paws can handle the cold for awhile. Thanks for writing!

Romano Arnesto profile image

Romano Arnesto 5 years ago from Philippines

What's the dog digging? LOL! Anyways, dogs should be kept inside during winter or accompany them if they want to go for a walk. Great hub and information, Ms. BK>

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

So true Romano Arnesto - we're supposed to be the caregivers - that means 24/7. Love the dog digging for something - a rat perhaps. Thanks so much for writing!

Richard83 profile image

Richard83 5 years ago from West Virginia

Thank you so much for the info. Sometimes in the winter here, it is real snowy and cold. We always keep him in for the winter but he still needs to go out at times. I think many people don't realize the pain they can feel during the harsh months of the year. Now they can. Great article. Best wishes.

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thanks so much Richard. I'm glad you found the article useful.

Now we are experiencing a heatwave in NYC - temps near 100. And we have to realize that again we have to be aware of how the weather is affecting our pets.

Thanks for commenting!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article