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10 Tips for Keeping Your Dog Warm: A Cold Weather Guide

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We’ve created a tip list on keeping your dog warm this winter. There are some things that as a dog owner, you should be aware of. Here’s a few things that we’ll cover: knowing when it is too cold for your dog, how to protect your dogs paws, why you don’t want your dog sleeping outside in the cold, and many more common questions about caring for your dogs during the winter.

Can all dogs handle the cold weather?

Not all dogs can handle the extreme cold that some parts of the country see. Just below this we have two lists, on one list are a few examples of popular dog breeds that are able to handle the cold temperatures and on the other list are several breeds that need a little extra care to handle the cold. No matter which list your dog would be on, watch them closer during the cold, especially if it gets extremely cold.

Does your dog have a long, shaggy coat of hair? Hair is insulation for a dog, and the more hair it has the more it will be able to handle cold weather. A few examples of dog breeds that can handle cold weather are:

  • Labrador Retriever
  • Siberian Husky
  • Bernese Mountain Dog
  • Collie
  • Newfoundland
  • Saint Bernard
  • Alaskan Malamute
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chihuahua in the snow in connecticut

If your dog has a coat of hair that is shorter or tighter it may not be able to handle cold temperatures as easily. A few dogs that fit this category might be:

  • Bulldog
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Boxer
  • Great Dane
  • Shih Tzu
  • Boston Terrier
  • Chihuahua

How do I know when it is too cold for my dog?

Most dogs are okay to be in the cold until the temperature hits 20˚ F. At this point, you should watch your dog for signs that the cold is getting to him or her.

Dogs, like humans, show symptoms when the cold begins to get to them. Symptoms include; lethargy, runny and/or congested nose, watery eyes, low fever, loss of appetite, sneezing, whining or acting anxious, shivering, or feeling weak. When your dog begins to show signs of being cold, take them inside or put them in their kennel.

How can I keep my dog warm outside?

If you are a customer of The Dog Kennel Collection, then you more than likely keep your dog outdoors most of the time.  Some of our kennels come fully insulated to keep the winter chills out.

Here is a review from one of our customer’s, Chantel

Tips and Tricks to keeping your dog warm.

Here are some of the tips and tricks we recommend for keeping your dog warm during the winter. This is not an exhaustive list of tips and tricks, however it will hopefully give you a start in preparing for the cold temperatures that accommodate winter. Keep your dog safe and warm this winter!

Know when it’s too cold.

When the mercury hits 32˚ F, it could be getting too cold for some smaller, short-hair dogs. Twenty-degrees is getting pretty cold for most dogs. There are a few dogs that can take temperatures below 20˚ F. though so if you have your dog outside during these cold temperatures, keep an eye on them.

When outside, protect your dog’s paws.

The soft parts of your dog’s paws are very sensitive. If you are out walking on the sidewalk, some of the chemicals being spread to prevent icing can absorb into your dog’s paws. The chemicals can irritate the skin or even become ingested if your dog licks their paws when you get home.

Be sure to check their paws for cracks or bleeding before and after going out for a walk. Address these injuries appropriately.

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Don’t make you dog sleep outdoors.

If you have a dog kennel, that is one thing, but don’t allow your dog to spend the night on your back patio or porch in freezing conditions. Instead make a spot in your garage or home so that your dog can stay warm.

get extra bedding for dog

Extra bedding for warmth.

If you use straw for bedding, use extra so that your dog has more insulation around them. If you use blankets, throw a few extra heavy blankets or old quilts in for your dog to curl up in. The goal is to keep your dog as warm and as comfortable as possible.

Get your dog off the ground.

Do you have an outdoor dog kennel? If so, raise the kennel off the ground several inches. The ground can actually take heat away from the dog and make it even colder. Elevating the kennel several inches also helps to keep moisture from building up between the kennel and the dirt.

Purchase a heater or heat lamp.

You can find just about any type of heater these days, but make sure you get one that will be safe to keep in your doghouse. A heat lamp is okay, but make sure it is secure so that it won’t fall on the floor.

You can also purchase a heat pad to keep under the dog so that there is a heat source close by. This is one of the safest methods of heating a dog’s sleeping area, especially if there is no insulation in your dog kennel or garage.

Make sure they have plenty of food. 

Once the weather starts getting cold, make sure your dog has enough food to eat. Dogs will stay warm by digesting food, so make sure they have plenty of food.  You might even consider giving your dog more than their usual amount of food.

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Winter Grooming Tips

There are many misconceptions about doggy care for winter weather, however there are a few practices that you should consider. Your dog needs a clean coat to keep it properly insulated. If you give your dog a bath, make sure to dry them thoroughly before letting them go outside. If your dog has long hair, do your best to keep it from getting wet and matted. Long, wet, and matted hair drops their body temperature faster.

The Takeaway

You can keep your dog quite comfortable during the cold temperatures by following some of the tips and tricks we’ve mentioned above. Above all, keep watching your dog and watch them for signs they are getting cold then respond appropriately. Prioritize keeping your dog healthy this winter.

If you have questions about the cold symptoms of your dog, contact your local veterinarian. If you want to order a kennel from us for your puppy, ask about insulated options for winter time.