How To Keep Dogs Warm During Winter

These five suggestions can help you remember your dog’s safety and comfort throughout the chilly winter months.

Provide a Warm, Cozy Place to Sleep

Your dog should be warm enough throughout the winter with a cozy bed and a thick blanket. However, if your dog sleeps in a particularly chilly or drafty area of the house, think about investing in a self-warming pet mat or a mat with a detachable microwaveable heating pad. These mats trap your dog’s body heat.

Just be cautious to stay safe.

Your dog need to be able to effortlessly exit the bed by itself. If you have any concerns regarding the proper heated pet beds, speak with your veterinarian.

Get Your Dog a Jacket or Sweater

It goes without saying that some breeds with thick coats, like huskies and malamutes, can withstand the cold better than those with little to no fur. If your dog belongs to a breed like a greyhound, a miniature pinscher, a Chihuahua, or a whippet, get them a doggie jacket or sweater to wear while you go outside.

Measure your dog’s size around the neck, over the shoulders, and around the chest to ensure a good fit. Search for styles that fit comfortably but not too tightly and are devoid of grating zippers or potentially choking-hazardous embellishments.

It’s acceptable that not all dogs will tolerate wearing a sweater or jacket. Simply limit their outdoor time if they don’t want to wear one.

Provide Adequate Shelter

When it’s extremely cold outside, you should keep an eye on your dog. Your dog’s ears, tail, and paws are vulnerable to frostbite if they are left romping around in a chilly yard for an extended period of time.

Make sure the outside kennel or shelter you use for your dog is dry and draft-free. The ideal shelter should have a slanted roof and be 4 inches off the ground. Put straw down for more insulation.

Protect and Inspect Your Dog’s Paws

It’s a good idea to give your dog’s paws a little additional care when the weather is cold. The naked paws of your dog are susceptible to frostbite, and snow on the ground might conceal harmful things that could injure the paws.

Check your dog’s feet for wounds or abrasions after they come inside from being outside, and remove any snow or frost. Maintain your dog’s paws by shaving off extra hair from in between their toes if they are a long-haired breed. If your dog would let you, you might want to consider giving them booties to protect their feet.

Consult your veterinarian about a suitable moisturizer that is safe for dogs if you find that the cold weather is causing the pads of your dog’s feet to crack and dry out. Never use a moisturizer intended for people because you can end up doing more damage to your dog’s paws than good.

Protect Against Hypothermia

In extremely cold weather, a dog left outside may experience a drop in body temperature that could result in hypothermia.

Dogs with mild hypothermia become lethargic and sluggish and can’t stop shivering. Dogs who are hypothermic start to lose consciousness and their respiration and heart rates begin to slow. If your dog exhibits any of these signs, take them to a warm location right once and to the vet in case IV fluids need to be given. Use a hot water bottle that has been wrapped in a towel to keep your dog warm on the journey there.

In the cold, how can I keep my outdoor dog warm?

When it gets below freezing, add more insulation to your bed. Put a foil space or emergency blanket underneath your dog’s bed. Because the Mylar material reflects the body heat back to the dog and bed, the bed becomes self-heating. Bubble wrap works well, but it must be tucked in to prevent tearing by a puppy or a dog who likes to chew on beds. When bedding is nibbled on or damaged, replace it.

In the winter, what temperature is too cold for dogs to go outside?

As we’ve already discussed, a number of variables, like acclimatization, your dog’s breed, and if it’s sunny outside, influence how well your dog can withstand the cold. However, there are some broad rules you can adhere to. Your dog will start to feel chilly when he is outside in temps below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, but it is still entirely safe for him to spend brief periods of time outside.

From Dr. Sara Ochoa: “Dogs can play and do potty outside for 15 to 20 minutes in below-freezing temps. However, experts recommend keeping senior dogs, young puppies, small breeds, and dogs with health issues inside when the temperature falls below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Although they’ll probably be fine for a short while, we prefer to be cautious when it comes to your dog’s health. Any breed, even a northern type like a Siberian husky, cannot endure being outdoors for an extended period of time at temperatures of 20 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.

Rover’s veterinary specialist, Dr. Gary Richter, claims “Dogs are susceptible to developing cold-related illnesses like hypothermia and frostbite if the temperature falls below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. In chilly weather, you should always keep a close eye on your dog. You must bring your dog back inside if he starts to shiver, whimper, act abnormally, or limp.

In the cold, how can I keep my indoor dog warm?

  • Remain inside. During severe weather, your dog should always remain indoors with you. Just use the outdoors for brief bathroom breaks.
  • Divide the rooms that are colder. Reduce the amount of space in your home that is used to trap heat by closing off any unneeded rooms.
  • Keep dog sweaters, booties, and coats on hand. Having extra clothing on hand will help keep your dog warm if you lose power or have to walk your dog in really cold weather. Purchase dog winter coat and booties in advance.
  • Lay out additional blankets. Give your dog lots of blankets and clothing so that they may curl up. Dogs will heat the bedding using their own body heat, keeping the space warmer.
  • Around their crate, drape a cozy blanket. Put blankets on top of your dog’s crate to insulate it so they have a cozy, contained space to hide out in and sleep in.
  • Give out a lot of food and drink. More calories will be burned to stay warm in colder temperatures. Ensure that your dog has access to additional water and lots of food. You might want to warm their water on the stove if you can.
  • Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors save lives. Install both of these devices, and make frequent checks to ensure that the batteries are functional.
  • Where practical, install insulation and weatherstripping. Between the interior and exterior walls, foam board insulation performs better and reduces noise.
  • Check the fireplace. Before using your fireplace and chimney if you have dogs in your house, get them cleaned and examined. For children and dogs, a safety barrier should always be present.
  • Keep your energies in check. But if boredom sets in, use these suggestions to make indoor activities enjoyable. Your dog can have fun exercising his mind and body with toys and interactive games.

Does a dog experience cold weather?

Your dog could feel cold in the winter even with a thick, heavy coat. Just like their owners, pets are susceptible to hypothermia (low body temperature) and frostbite (frozen skin and tissue).

However, it is simple to keep your dog warm throughout the winter. Your closest buddy will stay warm and secure thanks in large part to the same safety precautions you take for yourself.

Spend less time outside. Even the toughest Arctic sled dogs are not designed to spend extended periods of time outside in the cold. Not all body parts are protected by a thick layer.

According to K.C. Theisen, director of pet care problems at the Humane Society of the United States, “their ears are exposed, their feet are in direct touch with cold cement, and their nose is poking out there in the wind.” “Never let a dog outside alone for an extended period of time. If you want them to be active and exercise, only take them outside.” Even then, if it’s extremely chilly, you might need to cut a walk short.

Give them warm clothing. When it’s cold outside, small dogs and those with short hair require additional care. It may be challenging for puppies and senior dogs to regulate their body temperature.

Theisen thinks that a sweater or coat might be a particularly lovely addition and increase the pet’s comfort. nonetheless, leaving their head exposed. “You probably shouldn’t go outside if it’s so chilly that you think you need cover their head.”

Increase your friend’s intake of protein and fat to keep their coat in good condition throughout the winter.

Cleanse their paws. Your dog’s feet may develop accumulations of ice, snow, salt, and hazardous substances like antifreeze and de-icers. They might lick them and ingest the poisons. Particularly sweet-tasting antifreeze can be lethal.

Every time they enter the house, make sure to dry up their paws with a towel, advises Theisen. Additionally, frequently inspect their pads for damage. Snow and ice can bleed and produce painful splits. To avoid the formation of ice, trim the hair between their toes.

Don’t leave them in the car unattended. You are aware that you shouldn’t leave your dog in a hot car. Cold weather is the same. It’s a terrible concept, according to Theisen. “People frequently fail to consider how quickly cars can cool down in the winter. Even if pets aren’t directly at risk for health problems, they’ll probably feel uncomfortable.”

Make your home pet-proof. Watch out for potential winter hazards in your house, such as space heaters. Dogs are capable of setting themselves on fire or even tipping them over. Your pals’ skin could be burned by heated pet mats. The warmth of a dog bed or several blankets should be plenty.

When topping off your car’s antifreeze inside the garage, be sure to promptly mop up any spills and store the container in a secure location. Propylene glycol, as opposed to ethylene glycol, is used in safer products.

Recognize the red flags. Watch out for hypothermia and frostbite signs, and know when to call your veterinarian.

Get your pet indoors as soon as possible if they:

  • Whines or displays anxiety
  • cannot stop shaking or appears frail
  • an ice-covered body
  • slows down or stops moving
  • tries to find warm spots to burrow.

These can be hypothermia warning signals. Once they are warm, cover them with blankets and contact the veterinarian for further advice.

The signs of frostbite may take longer to manifest. According to Barry Kellogg, VMD of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, check your dog every day for any unexpected changes, such as sore or pale spots.

Defend against the weather. If you’re forced to leave your dog outside for a while, make sure they have access to a dry, spacious shelter that is wind-free. A few inches of elevation should be added to the floor, and cedar shavings or straw should be spread throughout. Keep a canvas or waterproof plastic cover above the doorway. Give them a lot to eat, and make sure their water doesn’t freeze over by checking on it as frequently as you can.

What kind of dog bedding is the warmest?

Over the years, many various materials have been utilized as dog bedding, but some have shown to be more effective than others. Some of the tried-and-true resources include:


Your dog can have a basic and functional bed made out of a decent blanket, sheet, or towel. In addition to providing some softness, linens don’t make as much of a mess as particle beddings (like wood chips) or readily harbor insects.

You don’t want to use your favorite duvet as your dog’s bedding since she will eventually destroy it rather badly. Instead, look for a sturdy blanket that is suitable for dogs that you won’t mind discarding after using it for a while (or years). To keep the blanket as fresh as possible and to help prevent odors from accumulating, try washing it occasionally.

Remember that blankets can act as hiding places for spiders, snakes, and other creepy crawlies; therefore, it is advisable to remove it and aggressively shake it once or twice a week to prevent these types of issues. Additionally, check the blanket frequently to make sure your dog hasn’t torn the seams apart or gnawed through the fabric. Dogs who ingest the filler substance, even unintentionally, may experience health issues.


Your dog might have a really comfortable bed made out of a soft rug. Rugs provide many of the same advantages as linens do, plus they frequently have a rubberized back that helps to keep them from sliding around and protects them from dampness. Rugs aren’t as suitable for severely cold weather because your dog can’t easily crumple them up like she can a blanket.

Choose a rug with a long/high pile (length individual fibers) if your dog is well-behaved and doesn’t like to gnaw on items as this will increase comfort and warmth. To prevent chewers from tearing the threads out, chewers should be given beds with short heaps.

You could just use a regular rug (like the kind you’d use inside your bathroom or in front of your entrance), but an indoor-outdoor rug that is made to withstand the elements will last longer.

Dog Beds

A dog bed is one of the more expensive solutions, but it is also far and away the best option for keeping your dog warm and happy inside your home.

Your dog will appreciate the support offered by a sturdy orthopedic mattress (those who aren’t put off by the price should consider the Big Barker) or the warmth offered by a heated winter bed, which is available in electric or self-warming models.

There are undoubtedly some good bed options, but not many dog beds are made expressly for use outside, and cheap beds may quickly deteriorate if exposed to the weather for an extended period of time.

If you want your dog to use the bed for several winters, make sure to get a sturdy one—cheap bedding won’t do. For the fabric’s protection, you could also want to spend money on a waterproof cover.

Wood Chips

Another risk-free choice for the majority of dogs is wood chips, particularly those made of cedar or pine. The insect-repelling properties of cedar and pine chips will help keep fleas and other bugs from setting up shop in your dog’s home, and they also offer your dog excellent insulation and comfort.

Pine and cedar chips provide a pleasant aroma as well. Keep a watch out for symptoms of lung or nose discomfort, such as sneezing, as the same volatiles that give off the fragrant scent may irritate dogs with delicate respiratory systems or noses.

Be aware that some cedar and pine beddings contain tiny wood shavings, while others contain small blocks or chunks of wood. The shavings are a superior choice since they give your dog considerably more comfort—nobody wants to lay on a pile of hardwood pieces.

Keep in mind that wood shavings should never be used with females who are pregnant or nursing, or in dog houses where there are puppies. Although rarely an issue for adults, wood shavings can contain bacteria that can seriously illen puppies.