Keep your dog in top shape during the winter months with these care tips.

  • Don't leave your dog outside in the cold for long periods of time.  Be attentive to your dog's body temperature, and limit its time outdoors.

  • Keep your dog warm, dry and away from drafts.  Tiles and uncarpeted areas may become extremely cold, so make sure to place blankets and pads on floors in these areas.

  • Your dog needs a well-groomed coat to keep properly insulated.  Short- or coarse-haired dogs may get extra cold, so consider a sweater or coat as long as it does not impede the use of a harness.  Long-haired dogs should have excess hair around the toes and foot pads trimmed to ease snow removal and cleaning. 

  • Towel or blow-dry your dog if it gets wet from rain or snow.  It is important to dry and clean its paws, too.  This helps avoid tiny cuts and cracked pads.  A little petroleum jelly may soften the pads and prevent further cracking. 

  • Don't leave your dog alone in a car without proper precautions. If the engine is off, the temperature in the car will get too cold.

Health Tips 

  • Antifreeze, which often collects on driveways and roadways, is highly poisonous.  Although it smells and tastes good to your dog, it can be lethal. 

  • Rock salt, used to melt ice on sidewalks, may irritate footpads.  Be sure to rinse your dog's feet after a walk with a warm, damp cloth or towel and be sure to dry them off afterwards.

  • Provide plenty of fresh water.  Your dog is just as likely to get dehydrated in the winter as in the summer. 

  • Frostbite is your dog's winter hazard.  To prevent frostbite on its ears, tail and feet, don't leave your dog outdoors for too long.

  • Be very careful of supplemental heat sources.  Fireplaces and portable heaters can severely burn your dog.  Make sure all fireplaces have screens, and keep portable heaters out of reach.

  • Dogs can be more susceptible to illness in the winter.  Take your dog to a veterinarian if you see any suspicious symptoms.

  • Don't use over-the-counter medications on your dog without consulting a veterinarian.