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Cold Weather Safety Tips for Dogs

dog in winter

As the seasons change, people adjust their routines and plan for cooler weather. It’s important to take a few minutes to prepare the four-legged members of our family for cold weather, too. Join us as we outline a few cold weather safety tips for dogs so you and your pup can focus on having a safe and healthy winter season!

11 Cold Weather Safety Tips for Dogs

An image of a yellow lab lying under a gray blanket on a bed with a white blanket on it.

    1. Make certain to provide proper shelter.

      If you can’t keep your dog indoors during the winter months, provide an elevated structure with a door to protect pets from wind and weather. Make sure your dog’s house is large enough for them to stand up and turn around in, but small enough to retain their body heat.

      Provide dry, clean bedding materials such as straw or blankets and replace bedding if it becomes damp or wet. If your dogs sleep indoors provide them with a warm sleeping area away from drafts.

    2. Be careful around bodies of water.

      Keep pets away from rivers, ponds, and lakes as they begin to freeze. Continue to use caution even when the water appears to be completely frozen, and make sure your pup has a dog lifejacket on whenever it is necessary.
      An image of a Zippy Paws Adventure Dog Life Jacket.

    3. Keep the hair around paw pads trimmed.

      Less hair will help keep paws free of ice and snow which can quickly ball up between the pads and become very uncomfortable for your pet. For tools to help, check out Jeffers Pet’s wide selection of clippers, trimmers, and other grooming supplies.

Check the paw pads for small cuts and cracks. If needed, provide your dog with boots when walking in ice & snow, especially if they have reacted to snow removal products in the past. Make sure to clean your dogs’ paws after walks to remove salt and snow removal chemicals which can be toxic to dogs. For products to help, check out Jeffers’ selection of pad care products for dogs.

  1. Check your dog’s ears, tail, and feet for frostbite.

    Frostbitten skin may appear red or gray. If you suspect frostbite, wrap your dog’s feet in a blanket or towel to gradually warm them and contact your veterinarian.

  2. Make sure you are providing the proper type and amount of food for your dog.

    Dogs housed outside and those that participate in strenuous outdoor activities may need extra food during colder weather.

  3. Provide adequate fresh, unfrozen water.

    You may want to invest in a heated water bowl if your dog lives outside.

  4. Dressed to the K9’s.

    Pets will shiver in response to being chilled. You may need to buy a dog sweater or coat, especially if they are a short-haired breed.
    An image of a yellow lab wearing a black Jeffers Premium Nylon Ripstop Dog Blanket.

  5. Young and old dogs are more susceptible to the effects of the cold.

    Keep puppies and older dogs indoors except for short periods of time.

  6. Clean up antifreeze spills immediately.

    Many dogs like the sweet smell and taste and even very small amounts can be lethal. Consider using an animal-friendly anti-freeze!

  7. Don’t keep your dog outside in all weather conditions.

    If the temperature dips too far below freezing it’s too cold for any dog, even those used to being outside.

  8. Don’t leave pets alone in cars during cold weather.

    The engine of a car can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold.

    An image of a husky with their head out of the window of a car during wintertime.

Searching for more options to keep your dog warm this winter? Check out Jeffers Pet’s full selection of heated supplies for dogs.

Information given here is meant to be helpful and/or educational. It is, in no way, intended to supersede, challenge or supplant the diagnosis, treatment, or advice of a licensed veterinarian.

Renee Jones-Lewis, CPDT-KA is a professional dog trainer, having received instruction from canine behaviorist Dr. Pamela Reid, plus nationally acclaimed trainers Terry Ryan, Pia Silvani, and Gary Wilkes, to name a few. She works in Pet Marketing and as a Canine Specialist for Jeffers Pet. You can reach her by email at rsjones@jefferspet.com, or call 1-800-533-3377 and ask for Renee.