Keeping your dogs safe in cold weather.

Keeping your dog safe in cold weather. Image: Pixabay

Keeping your dogs cosy and safe in colder weather

Keeping dogs safe in cold weather: Provide shelter, limit outdoor time, check for frostbite, offer extra food, and protect paws…

Keeping your dogs safe in cold weather.

Keeping your dog safe in cold weather. Image: Pixabay

While we might rug up in layers when the temperature dips, our canine companions need a helping paw to stay comfortable and safe during cold snaps.

In a conversation with The New York Times regarding the safety of dogs in cold weather, Dr. Deborah Mandell advised that when the temperature is at or below freezing, it is advisable for dogs to spend no more than 10 to 15 minutes outside. She suggested that a good rule of thumb for most dogs is to go outside for bathroom breaks and then promptly return indoors, similar to how it’s recommended during hot weather. Here are some top tips for keeping your dog happy and healthy throughout winter:

Limited Time Outdoors:

While fresh air and exercise are important year-round, adjust your dog’s walks accordingly. Shorter, more frequent walks are better than lengthy treks in the cold. Be mindful of their paws – avoid walking on gritted pavements or icy paths for extended periods.

Consider Cosy Coats:

Some breeds, particularly those with short fur, may benefit from a doggy coat or jumper during walks. This is especially important for older dogs or those with health conditions. Invest in a well-fitting coat that allows for freedom of movement.

Warm and Draft-Free Indoors:

Make sure your dog has a designated cosy spot indoors, away from drafts and damp. A comfy bed with plenty of blankets is ideal. Consider a heated pet mat for extra warmth, especially for senior dogs.

Top-Up That Water Bowl:

It might seem counterintuitive, but dogs still need plenty of fresh water in winter. They can lose fluids through panting even in colder weather. Regularly check and top up their water bowl to avoid dehydration.

Pawsitive Care:

Wipe your dog’s paws after walks to remove salt, grit, or antifreeze, which can be irritating or even poisonous. Keep an eye out for cracked or sore pads and apply a moisturising balm if needed.

Fuel for Fun:

Dogs may burn more energy staying warm in winter. Consider slightly increasing their food intake, especially if they’re very active outdoors. Consult your vet for specific recommendations.

Watch Out for Warning Signs:

Shivering, lethargy, excessive whining, or seeking warmth excessively are all signs your dog might be too cold. If you notice any of these, cut your walk short and get them indoors to warm up.

Never Leave a Dog in the Cold:

This should go without saying, but never leave your dog unattended outdoors in cold weather. Even a short time can be dangerous, especially for puppies, older dogs, or those with health problems.

By following these tips, you can ensure your furry friend stays happy, healthy, and enjoys winter walks as much as you do. Remember, a little extra care goes a long way in keeping them comfortable during the colder months.


Artificial Intelligence assisted in compiling this article.