Dangers To Dogs In Cold Weather – Protect Your Dog From The Cold

Daina Beckman

Dog Behavior Specialist

Happy Tails Dog Behavior & Training

I recommend dog boots and coats for your dog when temperatures plummet you can find quality boots and coats in our store. I also sell and recommend Mushers Secret.



If you think your dog has hypothermia warm him SLOWLY and get him to the veterinarian as soon as possible. (If you try to warm too quickly to can push the cold blood to the inside of the body causing the organs to become too cold, resulting in the hypothermia becoming worse.)


If you think your dogs has frost bite warm the affected area SLOWLY and get him to a veterinarian. Frostbite is frozen tissue, the tissue may die and fall off if not treated immediately. Frostbitten skin looks pale and is cool to the touch. It may look burned after it thaws.


When I was working as a veterinary technician, I saw frost bitten ears and feet and tails too many times. Even the big furry dogs can be frost bitten and can suffer from hypothermia when the temperatures plummet. Senior dogs, puppies and sick dogs are at higher risk. Help protect your dog by following these simple recommendations.


Dogs get very invigorated by cold weather and snow. They may ignore the pain of frostbite and the effects of beginning hypothermia if they are having fun. This happens more often when they are playing with other dogs or animals or their owners. It is your responsibility to keep a watchful eye on your dog.


If you have a puppy including dogs that have not gotten their adult coat usually around a year old – they have on a “summer shirt” They have no protection from the cold. Use caution when taking puppies out to potty.


All dogs need shelter from the weather. If you have an outdoor kennel area where you leave your dog when you are gone make sure he has good protection from wind and weather. Be careful when choosing bedding. If your dog chews, blankets may not be a good idea. Cedar shavings are irritating to the skin. Straw or Hay is a good choice.

Check his bedding daily and change it if it gets wet. Don’t use heat lamps or space heaters in your dogs shelter. They pose a burn hazard.

Dogs like people get used to the temperatures that they spend most of their time in. For example when family visit me in the spring from Florida, they are cold, I am not.


Frankly, if you have a dog that you leave outside all the time and is not part of your family – re-home him. It is cruel to leave a social pack animal all alone. If he is living outside because of behavior problems, I can help you teach him to be part of the family.


The cold can be dehydrating, make sure your dog has fresh water at all times. If he is outside when you are gone you can use a heated water dish so the water won’t freeze. Be cautious though if your dog chews he could get electrocuted.


Keep an eye on your dog when he is outside in cold weather. If you see him lift a paw off the ground get him back inside right away. Dogs can get clumps of snow and ice packed between their pads. Pads can become cracked and dry and toes can be frost bitten.


Dogs who walk where salt and other chemicals have been used to de-ice the surface are at high risk for cracked dry painful paws. Because his feet hurt he will lick them causing ingestion of these chemicals which can cause gastrointestinal irritation. . I recommend boots, or a footbath when you bring him back in.


I sell Pad Protector, Paw Pleaser and Mushers Secret. (I use and recommend Musher Secret)

These products are great for fast trips out to potty or when the temperatures are cold but not brutal.


Frozen lakes and ponds pose a life threatening danger to your dog. The do not understand that the ice my be thin. Once they fall in it is almost impossible for them to get out.

“ice-skating” dogs are at risk of injuries such as torn cruciate ligaments and hip injuries. Don’t let your dog run and slide on the ice.


Arthritis gets more painful during cold and damp weather. Be careful to handle your dog gently and slowly if he has arthritis. Please see your veterinarian for pain management for your dogs arthritis.


Cats and the cold… Keep them inside. Stray cats or your neighbors cat will look for warmer places when it gets cold. Car engines are a great place to get warm, and they offer protection from the wind. BANG ON THE HOOD OF YOUR CAR BEFORE YOUR START IT.


Musher’s Secret is a dense, barrier wax that forms a breathable bond with your dog’s paws. Developed in Canada for use with sledding dogs, it provides tenacious protection even in the most extreme conditions. Safe and Natural. Made from a blend of several food-grade waxes, then refined. Musher’s Secret is the safe, non-toxic way to protect your dog’s paws. The semi-permeable shield is absorbed into the paws, allowing perspiration to escape through the toes.


Paw Pleaser is chemical free grape seed and green tea protective moisturizing and conditioning balm. The high grade shea and coco butter base will sooth, condition, moisturize and relieve dry and cracked paws. Both the grape seed, which naturally strengthens and protects living tissue, and green tea, known for its organic anti inflammatory properties, are rich in anti oxidants that help neutralize free radical damage.

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