Cold Weather Tips for Dogs

Make sure your dog can stay warm during the cold months

Winter can be a grueling time for people. It's cold, it can be hard to get around, and slipping and falling risks are increased. It's easy to think that dogs are impervious to the detrimental effects of cold weather because most of them have fur. The truth is that our canine friends can suffer from some of the same uncomfortable or dangerous cold weather conditions that we can. Here are some cold weather consequences for dogs and the associated tips to help you increase your pet's enjoyment of the season.

Ingesting Toxic Substances

There are many food and non-food substances that can be toxic when eaten by dogs. It's important to be diligent all year about what your dog has access to that might harm her if she eats it. In the winter-time, there are a few extra substances around to be aware of.

Keep your arthritic dog more comfortable during the winter.

Irritation of Arthritis

Dogs with arthritis can experience more pain associated with their joints when the weather is cold. Here are some tips on how to keep your arthritic dog more comfortable during the winter.


Dogs can get frostbite and it usually occurs on the toes, ears, and tail. If it is cold enough outside to be concerned about frostbite for yourself, be concerned about your dog as well. Limit your dog's time outdoors during frigid temperatures. A pair of doggie booties and a sweater can help but don't rely on them alone. If your dog has been outside during extremely cold temperatures, examine her skin for any areas that look pale. If you find any, contact your veterinarian immediately for help.

Becoming Lost

Dogs that are outdoors by themselves may have a harder time finding their way back home during the winter. The normal smells and sights of the neighborhood are disguised by snow and frozen ground. Be extra diligent about keeping your dog on a leash or within your fenced yard when the weather is cold.

Dangerous Conditions Inside Vehicles

We are reminded often throughout the warm months not to leave our dogs alone inside of a parked car. It may not be as obvious that this is a dangerous practice in cold weather also. Being left inside of a cold car for long periods is like being left outdoors. Your dog will be trapped in very cold conditions, risking frostbite and hypothermia.

A Note on Outdoor Dogs

It is best if your dog does not stay outdoors during the winter. It can be extremely dangerous at worst and uncomfortable and boring at best. If you are completely unable to bring your dog inside, consider a heated garage, shed, basement, laundry room, or any heated shelter. If it is absolutely necessary to keep your dog outdoors, pay close attention to the following requirements.

With some attention to your dog's extra needs during cold weather, you can both better enjoy the season and count down to warmer days.

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