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Canines in the Cold: Keeping Your Dog Content in the Winter

by Andrew Feld December 19, 2017 3 min read

Your dog may thoroughly enjoy a romp through the snow, plowing through the wintry landscape leaving a trail of paw prints behind—but as an owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that this frigid frolic is as safe as it is fun.

There are several safety tips you can follow for the good of your pooch, from basic preparations to cold weather enrichment activities. Here are some ideas to keep your dog safe, healthy, and active during the cold season:

  1. Dress for the Weather

Got a Saint Bernard or a Husky? Then your dog should be set when it comes to the winter wardrobe (and you’ll likely be a bit concerned about just how much time your snow-loving pooch wants to spend outside).

However, not all dog breeds are naturally endowed with a heavy coat of fur. For pooches who weren’t made for the cold temperatures, some extra heat from a jacket or sweater may be necessary.

There areinnumerable winter canine coat options made primarily with style in mind, but if your dog is going to engage in some heavy-duty playing in the snow and cold, you will want to consider a more durable option, and likely one with some sort of insulation. Your furry friend will thank you for trading fashion for function in this case!

  1. Combatting Cold Feet

You don’t want a “salty dog” on your hands during the winter months, so be aware of the potentially harmful substances used to treat outdoor surfaces for ice and snow.

Not only are these substances bad for your dog’s feet, but there is a good chance your dog will try to clean them off himself and ingest these substances, causing a host of risks and potential dangers. It’s best toinvest in a set of booties to avoid contact with the salty roads altogether.

Follow the ASPCA’s tips for winter paw protection, which includes booties, petroleum jelly to provide relief for those dry feet, and cleaning your dog’s paws before coming back inside.

  1. Cold Season Coat Care

If you find yourself dealing with your own dry skin issues in the wintertime, you can be sure that your dog is dealing with the same sort of problems.

In general, you will most likely want to reduce the number of baths your dog has in the wintertime to keep his skin and coat as moist as possible. There are a number other things you can do to improve your dog’sskin and coat during winter, from vitamins tospecial shampoos. Comfort is key to keeping your dog happy!

  1. Avoid Ice Altogether

Ice is an unfortunate hidden danger for everyone—dogs included—in the wintertime.

Favorite summer swimming spots may appear to be frozen solid, but don’t be fooled—there is no guarantee that a layer of ice will be strong enough to support your dog’s weight. Even ice patches on the sidewalk can pose a safety concern for dogs.

A pooch’s paws and claws do not have the same traction of your shoes—be sure to scout out your route before taking your dog along with you.  

  1. Stay Fit through the Freeze

Though the great outdoors during the winter months pose new safety concerns for you and your dog, your pooch still needs the same amount of physical exercise as he did during the warmer months.

Just like exercise improves your personal health, the benefits for your dog are very similar—a physically fit dog means a healthy and happy dog. Take your dog for walks outside whenever possible. When it’s too cold or the elements are too much for you and your dog, exploreindoor options that shake up you and your dog’s routine while keeping Fido fit.   

Fresh Patch potty pads can be a great compliment to your dog’s winter routine. While outdoor walks are still essential for mental and physical stimulation, natural grass potty pads like Fresh Patch can mean less quick tinkle trips out in the snow!

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The winter months often bring picturesque scenes, chilly temperatures, and quite a few hazards for our furry friends. Preparing for the season ahead of time will ensure that dog’s routine is changed as little as possible—and your winter will start off stress-free.


Snow, sleet, ice and cold—whatever the elements bring, be sure that you and your pooch are prepared to enjoy the season!      

This post is a guest blog post, so here's a little about the author:

About The Author: Meg Marrs is the Founder and Senior Editor atK9 of Mine, a site dedicated to helping owners better care for their canine companions! When she’s not cuddling with dogs beside the fireplace, you can find her in a papasan chair reading a great sci-fi novel.

Andrew Feld
Andrew Feld