how to keep a dog warm in winter

How to Keep a Dog Warm in Winter

Dogs are not typically tolerant of cold weather, but some breeds are more tolerant of the weather than others. Species with short furs or small dogs tend to feel the pinch worse than others, especially when the cold is below freezing point. The same applies to aging dogs because of their thinning skin. But whether or not your dog feels the cold, it is crucial to keep it as warm as possible.

If it is a surprise to learn that dogs get cold, remember that some parts of their bodies have no thick fur coat to protect them. Their noses, paws, ears, and tails are exposed to the elements and let in cold air that affects the entire body. Therefore, keep your dog in a warm environment if the temperature drops below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, though some can hold their own in 32 degrees weather.

Ways to Keep Your Dog Warm in Winter

keeping dog warm during winter
Image by 4174332 on Pixabay

If your dog is already feeling cold or you have concerns about how to prevent it, here are things to do:

Use a jacket or sweater

dog using a jacket during winter

There are doggie jackets and sweaters you can buy for your dog. If your dog is a naturally smaller breed with a light fur coat, such as a chihuahua, or a giant breed with an equally light fur coat such as a greyhound, buy a jacket or sweater for times you have to go out. Breeds with thicker coats may still need such jackets, but not thick ones.

The jackets and sweaters are not one-size-fits-all. You have to get your dog’s exact measurement before buying one. Get your dog’s size along the shoulders, around its neck, and chest. Consider buying one that fits snugly but nothing too tight so that the dog does not get uncomfortable; the plainer the clothing, the better for the dog.

If you find that your dog resists wearing the jacket or sweater, let it be; do not force it. Not every dog likes getting into clothing, and that is all well. You can keep it warm in such a situation by limiting its time outdoors.

Keep an eye on the paws

healthy and clean paw on a palm
Photo by Shane on Unsplash

Speak with your vet to recommend which moisturizer or cream to use. These moisturizers can protect your dog’s paws to keep them from getting frozen, frostbitten, or cracked in winter. Avoid moisturizers for humans; they can be harmful to your dog’s paws.

As we mentioned earlier, the nose, ears, and paws are usually exposed because they are not covered with fur like other body parts. As a result, dogs tend to feel the bite of cold weather in those areas, even when they are breeds with thick coats. 

Therefore, it is crucial to keep an eye on those areas, especially the paws. The reason is that the paws are in direct contact with the cold floor. Also, dogs may step on pointy objects when it is snowing because the snow can hide them.

Keep the shelter warm

warm shelter for dog
Photo by Alireza Shirvan on Unsplash

If your dog has a kennel outside the house, consider bringing it inside or keeping it warm some other way. No matter how much it wants to go outside when it is freezing or snowing, it is best to keep it as warm as possible. Frostbite can set in if your dog plays for too long outside.

You can use a straw to insulate the kennel and ensure it is at least four feet off the floor. Also, the roof must be sloped so that it does not retain water or snow. That is if the kennel must remain outside the house.

Use hot water bottles

hot water bottles can be used for dog houses
Image by succo on Pixabay

Wrap a hot water bottle in a towel and place it close to your dog when the temperature drops too low. It provides warmth for the dog in much the same way it does for a human. If you do not have hot water bottles, use thick blankets as bedding and cover for the dog, especially when asleep.

Protect from drafts

Dog House Heater Buyers Guide
Photo by Trinity Nguyen on Unsplash

If your dog sleeps in a typically cold part of the house, winter is the time to relocate it. Find a warmer area and place your dog’s bed there. Ensure there is enough thick and warm bedding to keep it as warm as possible when it is cold. Also, keep all fluids that can spill away from the bed area.

Check all windows and doors around that area to ensure they do not easily swing open. Cold drafts can slowly seep into the house, especially at night. Even with the warmest clothing and bedding, your dog can still feel cold in such a situation.

Use a heat source

dog house using a heater to keep warm

Your dog will enjoy the benefits of a portable heater much the same way you will. Research and find suitable heaters to fit in a kennel or doghouse, and buy one for your dog. If you live in a particularly cold area and warm clothing does not do the trick, a heater will come in handy.

Ensure it is safe for use close to your dog. If you cannot find such a heater, use a heating pad or heat lamp. These heat sources will serve the same purpose, but not as well as a heater. However, the dog will fare better with a heat source next to its house.

Feed the dog

feeding a dog
Photo by Anelale Nájera on Unsplash

Getting your dog to eat well when the weather is icy will help it retain some warmth. Eating and digesting adequate amounts of food prevent cold; a hungry person quickly gets cold. The same applies to a dog. Therefore, ensure you always have a good supply of dog food during winter and feed your dog when necessary.

Groom your dog

grooming a dog in winter
Image by Henar Langa from Pixabay

Knowing that a clean dog keeps warm better than a grimy one may interest you. Fur matted with dirt leaves some areas open, making the dog susceptible to the cold weather. Therefore, keeping your dog clean is vital to keeping it warm.

Furthermore, ensure you thoroughly dry its fur after bathing it. It will be counterproductive to leave it somewhat wet and make it vulnerable to the cold. A hairdryer set to warm can get its coat dry faster than leaving it to chance.

Exercise often

pitbull happily playing with other dog as a regular exercise
Photo by David Taffet on Unsplash

Exercise helps your dog warm up its muscles. It is the same with human beings; you get warm when you exert yourself in cold weather. However, remember that a dog needs to warm up for a few minutes before going for the real deal. In other words, let your dog stretch its muscles for a couple of minutes before you can take on exercise routines. In addition, keep the routines inside the house if the weather is icy.

Tips to Help You Through Winter With Your Dog

dog in a dog house with heater
Photo by Steve Sewell on Unsplash

The following are a few tips to help your dog get through winter:

  • Keep your dog away from heaters and radiators. When it begins to feel cold, it will be drawn to heat sources and may get too close. Consequently, it may hurt itself. Do not allow it too close to heat sources.
  • Treat it for ticks and fleas. Winter does not prevent these parasites from latching onto your dog. They thrive in cold weather, so it may be a time when they are in abundance in your dog’s coat if you are not careful. Use creams and ointments to prevent them, especially in winter.
  • If you have an open fireplace, ensure your dog does not get too close to it in a bid to get warm. Use safety screens to keep it from fire and protect it from embers and soot.
  • Ensure the dog stays active while indoors. Staying in one spot will make it feel colder, but moving around the house will improve blood flow and warmth. You may also want to take it outside for a few minutes if it begins to get cranky from being cooped up indoors for too long.

Wrapping Up

It is crucial to keep your dog warm during winter. Dogs feel as much as we do, even though they cannot express themselves. Whatever you do, do not leave your dog out in the cold to sleep. It is best to set its kennel in a warm area or set a doghouse up inside your house.

Use protective clothing such as a dog jacket or sweater if you must go outside. Also, protect its paws to prevent frostbite and injuries. Keep the dog as well-fed as possible because digested food makes the body warm. When it is time to go to bed, place hot water bottles in the padded bedding for extra warmth. You can also use a heating pad or heat lamp for the same purpose.

Finally, keep the dog as well-groomed as possible. Grooming prevents the fur from matting and increases the dog’s chances of getting cold. Even if it is indoors, add exercise routines to help blood circulation and avoid boredom.

Similar Posts