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Baby It's Cold Outside!

Winter Safety Tips for Your Dog

With our cold winters in Rochester, it is best to follow some simple guidelines to keep your furry friend safe and warm in frigid weather!

Keeping Warm is Different for Each Breed

Some breeds love the outdoors – especially in cold weather. Breeds such as Alaskan Malamutes, Siberian Huskies and Saint Bernard can spend more time outside in the winter. Smaller breeds such as Chihuahuas, Maltese and Greyhound will not tolerate being outside for awfully long. Young or very old dogs may not tolerate the cold either.

Provide an Outer Layer

It doesn’t always matter how much fur your dog has; chances are if you are cold your dog probably is as well. Smaller dogs and those without less fur should be wrapped in an outer layer like a sweater or jacket to keep them warm during exercise or even just a short time outdoors relieving themselves.

Please Clean My Paws

During walks, ice, deicer and salt can build up in your dog's paws. And if your dog then licks them, he could be ingesting harmful poisons. This is also true after playtime outdoors. A good rule of thumb is each time your dog comes in from the cold, be sure to wipe down your dog's paws and check for ice buildup. Also, be sure to keep your dog's nails trimmed.

Limit Time Outdoors

When it's extremely cold, dogs shouldn't stay outside for long periods of time. You should limit outside trips to bathroom breaks and shorten the walks, if necessary. Also, never leave a pet alone in a car, especially on very cold days.

Make a Safe Warm Space Indoors

In order to keep your dog warm and comfy inside, have a blanket or bed available for he/she to warm up on. Beware not to place them close to space heaters that can easily be knocked over with a wag of a tail and do not use heated mats or blankets that can burn your dogs skin.

Provide Warm Shelter Outdoors

If your dog spends a lot of time outside in the winter months, make sure to provide adequate shelter that is secured to the ground, has a sloped roof and a soft place to sleep. If you have a doghouse, the floor should be at least 4 inches off the ground and insulated with straw to prevent the cold from radiating up from the ground. Place another layer of straw on the floor and consider topping it with some warm bedding. The extra straw will allow the dog to create a nest to keep your dog warm outside and reduce drafts.

Making Bubbles

If you need to bathe your dog during the winter, make sure to do so inside. A wet dog will get cold very quickly. Make sure your dog is completely dry before allowing them to go back outside.

Bring All Dogs Inside When It's Extremely Cold

No matter what the breed or age, all dogs should be kept inside when it's extremely cold, even if they have a well-insulated outside kennel. And if it's cold for long periods of time, consider moving an outdoor dog inside until temperatures warm up.

Know Warning Signs

Know the warning signs for both frostbite and hypothermia in dogs. Symptoms can include blisters and skin ulcers, discoloration of skin and pain when you touch body parts. Always be mindful of the outside temperature, keep your dog warm outside and know when to call your veterinarian.

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