Here are some things to keep in mind when the weather turns frosty:

  • A fur coat does not prevent frostbite and hypothermia! When the temperature drops below freezing don’t leave your dog out for extended periods of time, especially when there’s a wind chill warning.
  • Signs that your dog is too cold: shivering, paw hopping or excessive whining or barking.
  • It’s also a good idea to keep dogs that are young, old or on medication indoors as much as possible as they are more vulnerable to the cold.
  • Just as in summer, never leave your dog in a car during the colder months. The space is too large to heat with their own body heat and there is a very real danger of freezing to death.
  • Keep in mind when letting your dog off-leash during snowy weather that it will be harder to hear oncoming cars due to the sound dampening effect of snow.
  • While exercising your dog outdoors make sure to wipe your dog’s paws to remove any salt or ice balls and to check for dry cracking pads. A good way to prevent this is a good pair of booties!
  • Shorten the usual exercise time if your dog appears to be winded or is having difficulty running around in snowy or icy conditions.
  • Anti-freeze contains Ethylene Glycol which has a sweet taste to dogs. If ingested it can prove fatal. Symptoms to watch out for include stumbling, vomiting and behavior that resembles being intoxicated.

Outdoor dogs

Good dog care in winter is crucial for dogs that live outside. It is important to remember outdoor dogs will require more calories to generate body heat. Frequent checks to ensure their water bowl hasn’t frozen or spilled will also need to be made. This is where investing in a tip-proof, heated bowl can be invaluable. And on those really cold days, your dog should always be allowed to come indoors.

To ensure your dog stays warm and cozy during the winter look for a dog house with the following:

  • One that is the appropriate size. Too large and their body heat won’t be enough to heat the house.
  • Make sure it is constructed of weatherproof materials.
  • Is insulated with Styrofoam and has a clear rubberized door covering.
  • Is at least six inches off the ground.
  • Is facing away from prevailing winds.
  • Filled with straw bedding that is changed often. Blankets and rugs tend to freeze quickly.
  • Is easy for your dog to get into.
  • If possible, built with a small hallway that leads to a resting area.
  • Heat lamps or other types of portable heaters should be avoided in the event they may cause a fire. To help keep your dog warm at night consider putting a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel in his bed.