It’s winter and the temperature keeps dropping. You can crank your heat up in the house to stay warm but this wouldn’t help your dog much since it lives outside.
But you love your dog so much, and you definitely don’t want to see him or her cold or hurt by the freezing temperatures, right?
This is definitely a concern many pet owners have when the weather gets really bad in the winter so you are not alone.
As a concerned pet owner, you are probably interested in learning how to keep dogs warm in winter, and I’d like to explain nine helpful tips that can help you take the right steps this winter to keep your dog warm while living outside.
1. Find Out if Your Dog Has What It Takes to Live Outdoors in the Winter
Dogs come in many species, breeds, types, and sizes and some are designed in a way that they can comfortably and safely live outside.
For example, if you have a Tibetan Mastiff or a Siberian Husky, your dog is made to live outside. There are a variety of other dogs that also tend to handle the cold well and are safe for outdoor living all year round.
Other dog types were not made to live outside. A Yorkshire Terrier is one example of a dog that would not survive living outside in the cold but there are a lot of other types that fall into this category too.
To keep your dog warm enough outside, you’ll first of all need to find out if your dog can handle being outside. If you’re not sure how to figure this out, ask your veterinarian.
Also, if your dog is currently pregnant, you’ll have to really take caution with its environment if you want her to stay safe and healthy during this time.
2. Take Care of Your Dog’s Fur Coat
You can help your dog stay warmer outside this winter by taking good care of its fur coat. A coat that is matted and worn will be more susceptible to collecting snow and ice on it.
Brush out your dog’s fur each day and remove any debris from it to keep it maintained and clean. Your dog will stay warmer if ice doesn’t attach to its fur.
3. Provide Your Dog with a Dry, Insulated Dog House
If you plan on keeping your dog outside to live in the winter, you’ll have to get a dog house. The best type is one that is insulated and waterproof.
You should position it in a direction to keep the wind out of it, and you could even put up a door on it the dog can go in and out through.
4. Fill the Dog House with Hay or Blankets
An insulated dog house keeps the cold out but doesn’t provide heat. To help your dog warm up and stay warm, fill the dog house with blankets, hay, or straw.
Hay is an excellent insulator and so is straw. When your dog goes inside and lies in this, she’ll be as warm as can be. Hay holds the heat in and provides just enough comfort to an outdoor pet as needed.
5. Use a Heated Water Bowl to Provide a Constant Water Supply
You probably drink more water in the summer months because it’s hot but did you know that dogs tend to drink more water in the winter?
Due to the reduced amount of humidity in the air in the winter, dogs are often thirstier in the winter months so they tend to drink more when it’s cold. Drinking plenty of water helps the dog avoid dehydration.
When a dog becomes dehydrated, the dog’s blood flow slows down. As this occurs, a dog will feel colder as it will have a harder time staying warm.
To keep the dog’s blood flow strong and energy level high, your dog needs plenty of water to drink.
Keep in mind that you might need to invest in a heating water bowl. A heated water bowl runs on electricity and keeps water just above freezing. With one of these, your dog will never go thirsty and will, therefore, stay warmer.
6. Feed Your Dog More
One of the challenges dogs face when staying warm is that they use up a lot of energy trying to stay warm. It takes energy to keep warm.
To account for the use of all this extra energy, a dog will eat more food because this is the dog’s main source of energy.
7. Take the Right Steps to Protect Its Paws
Paw protection is also important and this primarily involves making sure you clip your dog’s nails when needed. You should also examine its paws to make sure they’re not damaged, wounded, or frostbitten.
Some people even place shoes or paw covers on their dogs to keep their paws warm and safe in the winter months but a lot of dogs do not like these types of things on their paws.
8. Place Warming Mats in the Dog House
Another measure some pet owners take is placing warming mats in their dog houses. A warming mat provides heat without electricity which makes it a safe and effective method when it’s too cold outside for dogs.
9. How to Keep Dogs Warm in Winter: Know When It’s Just Too Cold
Finally, it’s important to realize that there might be times when it’s simply too cold outside even for a dog that likes cold weather.
You’ll have to use your own discretion with this but it’s better to err on the side of caution when making this call. If you feel it’s too cold outside for your dog, take him inside with you.
Learn More about Pets
Now that you know how to keep dogs warm in winter, you may want to learn more about dogs and caring for them. You can do so by visiting our blog for more information on everything pets!