Dogs And Cold Weather
How Well Is Your Dog Protected?

Dogs and cold weather - that means its time to take stock of your dog's outdoor shelter. You may have wondered if dogs get cold in the winter. The short answer is yes, some breeds more so than others. Hopefully, your dog never looks as cold as the one pictured here!

dog with frosty face looking cold

So, in order to protect our best friends, let's start with the top priority which is to make sure Rover has a doghouse where he will be warm and sheltered against the elements.

The fact is, if your dog is outside for longer than you planned, or bad weather comes up suddenly, the importance of an insulated doghouse can become paramount to his survival.

For more protection, add a door if his house doesn't already have one to help prevent heat loss. Another good idea is to move the doghouse to an area with more sun exposure. You may even want to consider adding a heating unit to the house for the max comfort.

small dog walking in the snow

Cold "temperatures" are not the only thing to watch in bad conditions. The weather may often be far harsher than the numbers on your thermometer indicate, if the wind chill factor increases.

Freezing rain is another weather condition you wouldn't want anyone to endure for any length of time, much less your pet. Also, be aware that your pet's extremities - feet, ears and tail - are the most vulnerable targets for frost bite, something to be doggedly avoided!

Dogs And Cold Weather - Keep Those Potty Breaks Short!

Obviously you'll want your dog to be inside most of the time during the winter months, but when he has to make a trip outside, make sure it isn't a long one. Dogs that mostly live outside will have developed thicker coats to protect them from the winter's chill, but wise owners still keep a watchful eye on their condition when the weather is challenging.

In really extreme weather, a portable indoor dog potty may be the best solution! Outside dogs, however, will also need additional fuel - as in food - during cold weather because it takes more energy to stay warm, just like your car needs antifreeze to keep from freezing.

And, speaking of antifreeze, which can be deadly to pets - keep your dog far away from any possible source of it. Apparently, antifreeze has a very sweet taste, but one lick can spell doom for your dog. If your dog is ever sheltered in the garage, make sure there are no spills of this kind around or leaking from your car.

Cold Weather Dog Grooming and Coat Protection

Another aspect of winterizing your dog is grooming, and while fleas are no longer the top priority, you are not off the hook entirely! In fact, even closer attention to brushing is the recommendation. Your dog's insulation is "rooted" in his coat, so keep it well brushed to encourage continued growth of a healthy one, as well as to avoid dry winter skin conditions.

dog in the snow wearing red scarf

Dog clothes and accessories have risen in popularity in recent times, especially since celebrities are frequently seen with their well-dressed canine companions. If you are a dog lover, you can't fail to notice how much this trend has caught on so don't leave your dog looking out of step.

Many dogs can also benefit from wearing an "extra" coat, such as the stylish dog coats pictured above. Dog coats are not frivolous accessories - in cold weather all dogs can really benefit from additional protection - especially short-haired or thinly coated dogs!

Don't Forget Those Paws

Your dog's paws should be inspected more frequently if he spends any amount of time walking on salted pavements. Make sure to wash and dry them after such an excursion, to prevent soreness and chapping.

Also, keep the hair trimmed on the foot bed to lessen the exposure to ice and snow that can easily become attached and build up in these areas.

So, has everything been covered for dogs and cold weather? Well no, not quite.

Before winter gets severely underway, give your dog a pet check-up with the vet to make sure he is as fit as can be to handle cold weather challenges. And consider adding vitamin supplements to his daily chow, as a bit of nutritional insurance.

dog wearing bandana with paws on fence on a winter day

An Excellent Shelter

Dogs in cold weather need a refuge.  If your dog doesn't have one, take a look at the igloo dog houses on the website. These unique dog houses are the antidote for dogs and cold weather, providing excellent resistance to winter weather conditions.

Humans that have lived in severe climates probably learned a thing or two about insulation, don't you think!

Resource: More expert information from the ASPCA about pet safety and protection during cold weather can be found here.

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