How to Keep Your Dog Safe This Winter

Outside of a few select breeds, most dogs are not made for extremely cold weather and need added protection. Following these simple tips will improve your dog’s quality of life during the winter and help keep them safe.

Hair Length

As a general rule, dog breeds with long hair can stay outside longer and tolerate the cold better. But remember that small dogs will become cold more quickly than larger dogs, even if they have long hair. If your dog stays indoors, go outside with them during cold weather. By the time you’re ready to head inside, they should be ready as well. For outdoor dogs, keep reading and follow our tips below to prepare them for cold weather.

Look Out Below

When taking walks during the winter, be on the lookout for two common dangers. First, watch out for antifreeze that leaked onto neighboring driveways. Many dogs find the sweet smell and taste of antifreeze alluring, even though it’s toxic and can be lethal. Second, salt and other sidewalk ice melting chemicals can embed themselves in a dog’s paws, causing painful irritation. After returning from a walk, wipe your dog’s paws with a warm cloth. Not only will this relieve irritation, it will prevent your dog from licking salt or chemicals off their paws.

In addition cleaning your dog’s paws, trim the hair around their toes regularly. This may help prevent ice buildup on their feet when going through the snow.

Health Conditions

Health conditions can prevent a dog’s body from properly regulating its temperature. If your dog suffers from heart disease, hormone irregularities, diabetes, or other conditions, he or she should not spend extended periods of time outdoors. Make sure to consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns about cold weather exposure.

Gimme Shelter

If left to their own devices, dogs will find shelter by climbing under covered areas or tunneling into the snow. Avoid this by providing your outdoor dog with a warm, cozy shelter. A dedicated dog house or place in the garage will protect them from the elements and give them a place of their own. For added comfort and warmth, add an outdoor heated dog bed such as the K&H Lectro-Soft or Lectro-Kennel. They feature built in thermostats that automatically warm to your dog’s natural body temperature of 102° F when they lie on the bed.

Don’t Cover Up

Avoid using blankets on or around your dog’s bed. These absorb moisture and can end up making your dog damp and colder than they would be otherwise. A better option is to use a K&H outdoor heated dog bed or pad. They can be used with or without the included washable cover and provide a reliable heat source in even the coldest temperatures.

Keep Hydrated

When the temperatures dip below freezing, check your dog’s water bowl several times a day to make sure they have plenty of fresh, unfrozen drinking water. This will keep them hydrated and less likely to drink from standing water that could be contaminated with pollutants. To make life easier, consider using a K&H Thermal-Bowl. This heated water bowl for dogs turns on as needed to prevent ice formation, saving you time and providing peace of mind.

Enjoy the winter season with your canine friends and feel free to contact us with any questions about K&H heated pet products.