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Keep Your Dog Warm in the Winter

Updated on September 26, 2015
Whitney05 profile image

Whitney has over 10 years of experience in dog training, rescuing and dog healthcare.

Cold Weather

When it's cold outside, you probably don't want to go out and place, run around, and have fun. More than likely neither does your dog, especially if he's used to being pampered in a warm house. And, if you think about it, there's just not that much a dog can do when it's cold outside except sit. At least in the warm months, there are birds, squirrels, chipmunks, lizards, and other animals running around to keep your dog busy and occupied.

There are many tips that you should keep in mind to keeping your dog safe and warm during winter, and below you'll find several tips that you may find that you've either 1) never thought of or 2) really need to consider during the cooler months.

Just remember if you keep your dog outside most of the time, you really need to find a way to keep him warm when it's cold outside. When you see him out there shivering, and it's tearing at your heart, consider everything that you can do to keep him warm. Bringing him in the house is a great option, but if it's not the option for you, there are other things that you can do for your outside dog.

Cold Weather Tips for Dogs

  • When walking your dog outside during the winter, don't let him off the leash when walking on snow or ice because they can easily lose their scent and become lost.
  • Make sure to thoroughly wipe of your dog's legs, stomach, and feet when coming inside from outside so that you can remove any salt, de-icing chemicals, or other chemicals.
  • Do not shave your dog during the winter. A long coat will help protect your dog against the cold. Long, thick coats will help hold in body heat so that your dog can stay warm.
  • If you have a short-hair dog, consider buying a coat or sweater for the dog so that he can wear when he goes outside.
  • Do not leave your dog outside for long periods of time.
  • Do not leave your dog in the car during cold months, as the car will act as a refrigerator and hold in the cold air, which can cause him to literally, freeze to death. Even if you plan on just running into the bank or the grocery store, you never know if anything may hold you up. Better safe than sorry. Don't leave your dog in the car.
  • If you have a puppy and you're trying to house train him, consider kennel training the dog because it can be quite hard to house train a puppy in cold weather, as puppies do not tolerate the cold temperatures as well as adult dogs. The same can typically go for small dogs versus big dogs; generally, small dogs do not tolerate the cold weather as well as bigger dogs can. Take puppies and small dogs outside only to go to the bathroom; try to eliminate long periods of time outside.
  • Instead of leaving your dog outside during the day while you're gone, set up a kennel or dog-proofed room that he can stay instead. If you have a garage, consider putting the dog in the garage instead of in the yard; this will keep the dog out of the house (if you just really don't want him in the house whether in a crate or in a room), but it'll also keep him out of the cold wind. You may want to consider setting up a portable heater within the garage, depending on how low your temperatures are dropping; even out of the wind, it's still cold if it's below freezing outside.
  • If your dog will be outside a bit during the cooler months, you'll want to increase the amount of food that you normally offer. You want to make sure that he's getting plenty of proteins and fats in his diet.
  • Make sure that you have a warm place for your dog to sleep at night or during the day, if he has to be outside. Purchase a dog cot so that he doesn't have to sleep on the ground, which is going to be, by far, the coldest place, especially concrete. Find a place without any drafts, and make sure that he has plenty of blankets.
  • Consider buying a dog warming bed. Most are controlled by a thermostat so that you can control how hot the dog pad gets. You don't want your dog to freeze, but you don't want to burn him either. These are great for outside, garages, and patios.
  • If you feel a little adventurous, you may want to consider one of the warming bowls so that your dog can have warm food and water. Most have an anti-chew cord so that your dog can't chew through the cord and get electrocuted.

Outside Cat Care During the Winter

If you have a cat that spends time outside. During the winter consider keeping the cat inside because it can easily be stolen, injured, or killed. Consider that cats are prone to getting under the hood of the car, and when the motor starts, the cat can easily become severely injured or killed by the fan belt.


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    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 8 years ago from south Florida

      A heated dog bowl? Will wonders never cease? Living in a semi-tropical climate, the need for that product never arose. Practical information from you, Whitney, as always.

    • cjvelasquez profile image

      cjvelasquez 8 years ago

      Thanks for those tips Whitney. I currently have been struggling with what to do with my dogs especially since its cold.

    • cojaqmarketing profile image

      cojaqmarketing 8 years ago from Carmel, Indiana

      Very practical and great advice. Thanks for sharing.