Brush up on winter safety tips to keep your dog warm and cozy this winter season.

Warm, cozy dogs are happy dogs. That’s why it can’t hurt, even the most responsible pet people, to brush up on our winter care tips. To keep your pup happy and healthy from the first frost through spring, follow these easy tips.

Keep Your Dog Indoors

When the temperatures plunge, it’s best to limit his time outdoors, except for necessary exercise. When it’s bitter cold outside, don’t go on long walks or linger at the park — make it a short outing. Also, short- and coarse-haired dogs should have a sweater whenever outdoors in the cold months. It goes without saying, if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your dog.

Serve More Food

Dogs who spend a lot of time outdoors in cold weather need a little extra food to help replace the energy they burn keeping warm. Provide plenty of fresh water too. Your dog is just as likely to get dehydrated in the winter as in the summer.

Wipe the Paws

Salt, antifreeze and other potentially dangerous chemicals make their way onto dog’s paws during the winter. Make sure to wipe off your dog’s legs and tummy when he comes indoors. And, check for antifreeze spills in the garage that may be inviting to curious little noses.

Keep Dogs Dry

After a bath or a wet trot outside, make sure to completely dry your dog to eliminate the chill. You can towel dry or blow dry his fur on a warm setting, but make sure not to get too close to the skin. Also, hold down those flaps to protect the ear canals.

Sleep Tight

Make sure your dog has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. Tiles and uncarpeted areas may become extremely cold, so a cozy dog bed with a warm blanket is perfect.


The Scoop:

The ASPCA has more great tips for keeping your best friends warm and safe this winter. Check them out.

Originally published January 2011;reviewed and updated January 2016.