Winter Care for Dogs

winter-in-snowIt’s time to say goodbye to colorful fall and say hello to cold winter.  You’re probably planning on wearing a heavy coat, lighting the fireplace, and drinking lots of hot chocolate.  But what about your dog?  Special attention and care must be given to him so he can have a comfortable and warm winter.

Care for Outdoor Dogs

winter-doghouseIt’s very cold outside, and, if you own an outdoor dog or have a dog who mostly likes to be outdoors, this can be a big problem.  A doghouse is warm, but it’s not enough to keep your dog from freezing in low and negative temperatures.  If you’re expecting freezing temperatures and lots of snow, consider buying an outdoor heater to put in the doghouse or bring your dog inside.  Please remember that veterinary experts suggest that dogs not be left outside when it is 20 degrees outside, or 40 degrees for puppies, senior dogs, or those with little fur.  Also, even if you aren’t expecting a lot of snow, make sure your dog’s doghouse is only big enough for him to stand up and do a tight circle in to conserve the heat.  Put fresh straw in the doghouse and a very warm bed on top  to keep your furry friend warm and cozy.

winter-chainedNEVER leave your dog chained or tied up outside!  First of all, it’s dangerous to tie up your dog, no matter what the weather.  He could easily get tangled and strangle to death.  Also, if your dog gets tangled or wrapped around a tree, he will not be able to reach his water and will die of thirst.  You must also remember that dogs who are chained or tethered are three more times likely to bite someone, as they feel scared and trapped.  It’s not good for your dog to be tied outside alone.  It is a detriment to his health, safety, and happiness.  Also, if you leave your dog tied up outside in the snow, he could get frostbite or die of overexposure.  Please do not risk your dog’s life!

With the cold weather, it’s easy for your dog’s water to turn into a block of ice.  Your dog cannot drink ice, and without water he will die of thirst.  However, you can fix the “icy” problem by buying a special heated dog dish that will keep your dog’s water from freezing outside.  Remember, your dog cannot drink ice.sissy after outside

With the cold weather here, don’t have your dog’s hair cut.  It is meant to keep him nice and warm, like a big coat.  If you have a Poodle, have your groomer give him a short trim to keep him comfortable and free of mats.  I grow out my hair for the winter, and I look like a little teddy bear.  My humans have to spend a lot of time brushing my long, curly hair to keep it from matting.

Swirling snowflakes, mounds of snow, and icicles hanging from the trees.  Snow is wonderfully fun, even for your four-legged friend! However, you must take precautions with your dog.  Here are a few snow tips:

  • Be careful when taking your dog for walks on the snow, as it could hurt his paws and causewinter-snow-trench them to bleed.  Also, if the snow has been chemically treated, make sure that your dog doesn’t eat it, and scrub his paws with warm water and soap after his walk to make sure he doesn’t lick off any of it.  If your dog’s paws get irritated by snow, doggy snow boots might be a good investment.
  • After your dog runs in the snow, thoroughly dry him with a towel, especially around his paws and belly where little snow balls cling.
  •  Never let your dog out of your sight when he is out of a fenced yard.  (If your dog does not come when called 100% of the time, he should never be in an open area without a leash.)  If he wanders off, even for a little way, he could easily become lost.  The snow ruins finding a scent for dogs, so they cannot smell their way home.winter-walk
  • If your dog gets cold, buy him a sweater to keep him warm (puppies and older dogs are especially sensitive to the cold).  I have a very stylish pyramid sweater made by Blueberry which you can buy for $12.99 on with Prime shipping, and it keeps me very warm when I start shivering.
  • Never leave your dog outside for a long time as he could get frostbite.
  • If you have a small dog or a puppy, never let him outside off leash when there are powerful winds.  He could get blown away!

If you have a large amount of snow, shovel away a small area of your yard for your dog to go potty in.  The bigger your dog, the larger the space will have to be.  If it’s extremely cold and snowy outside, you could use a pee pad or a lot of newspapers for your dog to go potty on.


A dog curled up beside a roaring fire – it’s picture perfect, isn’t it?  It is also, however, very dangerous!  Among many other dangers, your dog could become curious of the pretty, colorful flames and try to touch it, or a spark could fly from the fire and set his beautiful coat aflame.  Continue to enjoy your fire, but put a little fence around it to keep your pets out.


Have a warm and fun winter with your dog!

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About Sissy

Hi! I'm Sissy, a Toy Poodle. On Doggy Times I share articles about dog training, socialization, care, and health. Check out the Trick and Dog Breed Pages to learn more about your furry friend and how to train him/her.

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