How to Keep Your Dog Warm This Winter

March 14, 2024


How to Keep Your Dog Warm This Winter

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How to Keep Your Dog Warm This Winter

During cold weather, it’s crucial to prepare your dog for warmth and comfort. Dog owners often know their dogs better than anyone else, but some animals have unique preferences.

Short-haired dogs prefer outdoor activities, while furry ones prefer rainy days.

Regardless of the dog’s preferences, whether they’re finicky, cold-hearted, or well-behaved, you worry about their comforts, especially when temperatures drop.

This article provides tips on how to address their warmth and ensure they have the necessary protection. By doing so, you can keep your dog comfortable and ensure they have the necessary protection.

Basic Considerations

It’s not always viable to keep your dog enclosed all day while you are at work, and if you have space,, most likely allow your pet to have the room to run and explore even when you are not at home.

Even if your dog prefers to curl up in a crate or on your bed all day, you still face the basic needs they have when heading into colder, wet weather.

A few things you should consider about your animal’s comfort are their breed and their age when approaching your plans to provide care.

Can Dogs Get Cold?

Dogs, like humans, can get cold. While they have a fur coat that provides insulation, it isn’t enough to protect them from long-term exposure. Dogs have extremities like ears, feet, and tails that are prone to frostbite and have a baseline body temperature higher than humans.

Some breeds, like Siberian Huskies, Newfoundlands, Old English Sheepdogs, and Golden Retrievers, have thick double coats to protect them from the cold. Other dogs with thin coats, like Greyhounds and Chihuahuas, lose heat and feel cold quickly.

Size also plays a role, with smaller dogs losing warmth more quickly than larger ones. Heavy dogs carry more natural insulation, staying warm longer.

Age and health also play a role, with senior and sick dogs getting colder quickly due to lost muscle mass and distracted bodies.

How Do I Know if My Dog Is Cold?

Dogs often show signs of discomfort when they feel cold, such as shivering, holding feet up, whining, hunching up, tucking tails, and showing behavioral changes.

If they don’t find warmth, they can become hypothermic, which can be fatal. Signs of hypothermia include weakness, lethargy, decreased mental function, and a loss of consciousness.

It’s crucial to act quickly when your dog starts to look cold or before the cold has time to set in.

Tips for Keeping Your Dog Warm

You should always pay attention to the weather when your dog is outside, but there is no need to keep them locked up indoors if you provide proper protection and warmth. The following tips provide a quick guide to ways you can create some easy comfort solutions.

  • Provide a Heated Area to Outdoor Dogs

Providing a heated, protected area for your dog to warm up in is not necessarily a difficult task. Dog houses can be equipped with simple heaters and lamps only when secured properly and used in a non-hazardous manner. You can also provide a heated mat to the floor of your dog house, or, if your dog has access to a shed or building, keep it at a warmer temperature with a garage heater– of which many different designs and options exist.

  • Layered Doghouse Floors and Insulation

Dog houses are easy to insulate with newspaper, foam, or housing insulation, and you can easily layer the floor with straw, cedar and pine shavings, and old blankets or dog beds. Plus, by doing so, you provide a more comfortable area to lay in.

  • Consider a Dog Coat or Sweater

If your dog is small, has a thin coat, is elderly, or otherwise groomed or not well acclimated to colder weather, you may want to consider a coat for them. Just like a coat serves to retain our body heat and insulate us from the cold, so does a dog coat. Don’t skip your daily walk just because it’s cold out, simply provide the extra layer your pup needs to stay comfy.

  • Protect Their Feet

Some dogs have an abundance of fur on their feet, and even though this may serve to keep them warm, they can also collect snow, which can melt into painful ice balls. Trim the hair on the tops of their feet, paying particular care to remove it from between their toes. If you plan on walking outside in icy conditions or for any length of time, you may also want to provide a foot covering to avoid frostbite.

  • Have a Heated Water Bucket

Keep a heated water bucket full and available at all times. Winter can be extremely dehydrating for humans and animals alike, and a heated bucket ensures that your dog isn’t drinking chilled water, which can lower their body temperature.

Final Thoughts

Even though these are just a few basic tips, they address the overall comfort of your animal through cold, seasonal changes.

Remember, many animals will begin to feel the chill once the temperature begins to drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, at which point ensuring they have a place to warm up should become a priority.

Anne is a wellness writer with a lifelong love of animals large and small. As a former veterinary technician, she has a passion for your pet’s well-being. Anne rescues and rehabilitates animals in need. She shares her farm with lots of critters including horses, sheep, dogs, cats, rabbits, and chickens
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