How to Keep Your Dog Safe in Winter

We all prepare for the cold winter months in different ways. Living in a frozen wasteland like northwestern Pennsylvania means boots, scarves, gloves, jackets (yes, I wear two), hats, and anything else we can think of to stay warm.

But while you are trying to keep yourself from shivering and getting frostbite, don’t forget to keep your pet dog warm too! Just because he or she has a long, fur coat doesn’t mean they can’t fall prey to certain dangers of the wintertime.

Here is how to keep your pet dog safe in winter:

How to Keep Your Pet Dog Safe in Winter 1 – Never Leave Your Dog Unattended

This is simple. Don’t leave your dog outside unattended. Do not take your dog places in winter and let them roam free without a leash.

In the cold winter months, particularly if there are weather conditions such as heavy snowfall, dogs can easily get lost and all scents that they could track get covered up or blown away. Keep your dog safe, and keep them on a leash.

How to Keep Your Pet Dog Safe in Winter 2 – Brush Snow, Ice, and Other Frozen Material Off Them

After you take your dog outside, make sure to brush off anything that might be stuck to or in their coat.

Do this for several reasons: one) it’s cold when it melts, and two) it could have any number of chemicals and other things in, such as road salt, ash, or worse, anti-freeze. You don’t want your dog to ingest that.

How to Keep Your Pet Dog Safe in Winter 3 – Don’t Leave Anti-Freeze Anywhere Your Dog Can Get to It

It’s no secret that dogs love anti-freeze. To them, it’s sweet and tasty – and deadly. Keep anti-freeze away from your dog at all costs.

Of course, this rule applies year-round, but anti-freeze is obviously more common in the cold winter months, which ups the need to protect your pooch from the stuff.

How to Keep Your Pet Dog Safe in Winter 4 – Do Not Leave Your Dog Unattended in a Car

Just as you shouldn’t leave a dog cooped up in the summertime in your vehicle, you shouldn’t do it with your dog in the winter either. If you have ever sat in the car while mom popped in to grab a ‘few things real quick’ from the grocery store and she took the keys with her, then you know just how cold it can get in a car by your lonesome.

Don’t refrigerate your dog. It can lead to hypothermia and death.

How to Keep Your Pet Dog Safe in Winter 5 – Small Dogs and Short Hairs Need Extra Attention

If you have a small dog or a dog with a short coat, consider getting them a ‘sweater’ or something of the like. Do not leave them outside for long periods of time.

Greyhounds and chihuahuas are examples of two dogs that might need extra warmth to be protected from the cold of winter.

(Note: I have a small dog, and even though she is a miniature of a breed of sled dogs, she oftentimes will wander far out on our ten acres and stop. Since she is white, this can be difficult to spot and locate her, and she frequently needs carried to the house after wandering so far because her feet are too cold to walk on the snow anymore.)

How to Keep Your Pet Dog Safe in Winter 6 – Consider Booties

I remember reading the “Call of the Wild” by Jack London and reading that sled dogs wore booties to protect their feet from the snow and ice. If your dog doesn’t mind wearing them (it might take some time to get used to them, so don’t give up), it might be a good idea to get some for your pet, especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors.

How to Keep Your Pet Dog Safe in Winter 7 – Open Fire Places and Heaters Should Have Protective Coverings

If you have open fireplaces or use heaters of some kind that your dog could get burned on, take precautions to prevent your dog from brushing up against them or sticking their nose in where it doesn’t belong. You don’t want your pet getting burned.

How to Keep Your Pet Dog Safe in Winter 8 – Watch For Any Signs of Abnormality

Remember, your dog can’t tell you when he is feeling ill or too cold, so be on the alert for the signs! If your dog is shaking or shivering too much, bring them inside, wrap them up in a blanket, and cuddle up to them. Try rubbing your hands over them. If they still shake and shiver, consider taking them to a vet immediately, because these are the signs of hypothermia.

If you suspect your pet has even tasted anti-freeze, contact a vet immediately. Anti-freeze is absolutely deadly to dogs, and your dog won’t stand a chance if they get into anti-freeze.

If anything about your dog seems off or abnormal and you suspect illness or possible poisoning due to anti-freeze or other chemicals (such as the ones that build up on the roads), take your dog to the vet without delay.

It could save your dog’s life.

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