Chill-Proof Winter Care Tips For Dogs

December 1st, 2023

It’s always a bit surprising as we move from a crisp fall into a blustery winter; it seems to be here all at once. It’s a quick shift into a season of bundling up, warm fires, frosty front yards, and suddenly seeing our visible breath in the crisp air. The winter season is in full force, and we’re reminded we must brace for those chilly, rainy, snow-covered days and prepare to be warm. It’s a true tale for even our little furry buddies. While they carry around their coats day in and day out, it doesn’t mean they don’t get cold as well. The sometimes bone-chilling air you feel when you open your front door – well, they feel it, too.

happy hound in the snow


While we tend to focus on those hot summer days and the dangers that come along with that time of year, winter has its own safety concerns when it comes to your dog’s health. They have become accustomed to the comfort of their cozy, warm den (your home), and it takes some adjusting and preparation for the cold weather that will be with us for the next several months.


dapper happy hound in a sweatervest


Gearing Up For Winter

Here are some simple essentials will keep your pet pal feeling toasty and snug. 

For starters, a warm, water-resistant jacket can protect them when you venture outdoors, and a comfortable sweater will keep them cozy inside.  A pair of booties will help keep dog’s feet safe from sand or salt that can get in between their toes and cause irritation. These take some time to get used to; they may not love it at first. But if you get the right fit and have some patience, they will become part of their winter wardrobe. If you haven’t picked out their holiday gift yet, this is the way to go! Plus, how cute are they walking around in their winter outfits?!


happy hound snoozing by the fire


Home Safety Tips

With the winter season bringing festive cheer, you’ve probably already taken some steps to pet-proof your home for their safety. If not, we have some quick and easy ways to make your home safe during the holidays. As the chilly vibes set in, many of us turn to space heaters or curl up in front of the fireplace.  Your cuddly creature LOVES warmth and will likely seek it out, especially for a little snooze. Take some extra precautions when using space heaters. They can cause burns if your furry bud gets too close, or they can be knocked over, potentially starting a fire. Fireplaces also should be considered since embers can be a little unpredictable.   

If you have a doghouse or shelter outside, it should be raised to be off the ground and covered in thick, warm bedding. They should also have access to water and periodically check to make sure it is not frozen. However, your furry pet pal should never spend the night or extended periods of time outside in extreme cold temperatures or below freezing. 


happy hound wearing a yellow rain slicker


Exercise and Play

When it’s cold outside, it may mean fewer walks, sniffing all the new and familiar smells, and seeing their friends. Our furry companions can experience the winter blues so it’s important to stay in some sort of exercise routine. You can also have some creative playtime indoors. Invest in a brand new chew toy or play a couple of rounds of tug-a-war; it will make them so happy, plus they love a little one-on-one time with their favorite person.

When out and about, especially in snowy climates, avoid frozen ponds, lakes, and other bodies of water when walking your dog. It’s advised to keep them on a leash to prevent them from venturing toward potentially thin ice that may crack and lead to them breaking through into icy waters.

It’s also found that snow can mask familiar scents, and they can get disoriented and lose their way. Make sure your dog has their collar on and tags updated.  

For our senior canine companions, sometimes their occasional bursts of energy might mislead us into thinking they can handle the cold weather. But it can really aggravate their joints, especially if they already experience some arthritis. While keeping them moving is important, just be mindful of this and of icy, slippery surfaces that may be hard for them to navigate safely.

Regardless of your dog’s age, outdoor trips this time of year may look different with some adjustments and could be on the brief side. Even with their furry, soft coat providing some protection against harsh winds and weather, dogs can still be vulnerable to the cold.


happy hound holding out paw to shake


Paw & Coat Care

Your furry kid’s coat should always get a good combing to work through any of those tangles, and trimming the hair between their paws can help prevent salt or chemicals from making their way in there. 

Keep to your normal bath routine, but make sure the water is lukewarm and you have a towel ready to go, otherwise “Brrrrrrrr!”  This time of year, their fur needs a little extra TLC to help prevent dry, flaky skin. Coconut oil applied topically is a safe route to give their coat a healthy glow, and it can soothe irritated, itchy skin.

City streets are coated with deicing substances, such as sodium chloride (rock salt) and calcium chloride, which can damage paw pads. After each walk, wash and dry your dog’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt, and chemicals—and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes. You can also use a paw balm to moisturize dry skin. It’s like a mini-spa day for your furry favorite! It should be noted that common ice melts or deicers not only can irritate your furry friend’s paws but can also be toxic if licked. 

Some Winter Warnings

Similar to the dangers of cars becoming excessively hot in summer, freezing cold temperatures pose an equal threat to your dog in winter. Running your vehicle carries additional risks, such as the potential for carbon monoxide poisoning if it’s parked in a garage. Cars can essentially act as refrigerators, trapping in the cold and putting your pet at risk of a fatal consequence. 

Antifreeze is poisonous to your dog if it is consumed. According to the Pet Poison Helpline, as little as one tablespoon can cause kidney failure in dogs. So, it’s important to clean up any spills from your car. If they ingest antifreeze, contact your veterinarian right away.


happy hound wrapped in a blanket


One of the major perks of this season is all those couch cuddles we get to share with our favorite Fido. We humans love this time of year to do some of our own hibernating.  The colder weather is a great excuse to hunker down and take life a little slower. The winter season can bring with it all the cold elements that leave us feeling like our fingers and toes will never thaw, but it also gifts us with beautiful scenery that is meant to be enjoyed. Go ahead, build that snowman, or race through the rain! It just may mean some extra layers and taking those extra precautions to keep your cute furry sidekick safe and warm.  

Have you done your holiday shopping for your spirited pup pal?  Here are some great toys that will make the best doggone gift they will get this year! 

Did you suddenly make out of town plans and need a fun, festive place for your companion to hang out at while you’re gone! We’ve got you covered!