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Cold Weather Safety for Dogs

A golden retriever playing in the snowThe temperatures can get brutally low in our area, and extended stays outdoors can be dangerous for your pets. Many people say, “but they have fur!” Yeah? Well does wearing a coat stop you from being cold outside? We didn’t think so. You have to take special precautions with your pets in cold weather to ensure they stay safe and happy.



Do you want cold weather safety tips for your dog? Call Germantown Vet today at (240) 252-7467.

Our Cold Weather Safety Tips for Dogs

Here are our cold weather safety tips for dogs:

Stay indoors

The best tip we can give you is to simply keep your dog indoors as much as possible. Just like humans, your dog can get hypothermia and frostbite, so don’t expect your four-legged family member to be able to stay outside much longer than you can. You can take regular walks and have play time, but limit the time spent outdoors in the cold.

Give plenty of food & water

Dogs who spend more time in cold temperatures will deplete their body’s resources more quickly than normal, and therefore will require more food and water. Also be sure to check your pet’s water supply every day to ensure the water is available and not frozen. We also recommend using plastic bowls—especially outdoors—during the winter as your dog’s tongue can become stuck to a metal bowl.

Have an outdoor shelter

If your dog must be outside for extended periods of time, provide a dry, warm outdoor shelter. Make sure the shelter is big enough for your dog to sit, stand, and lie down, but small enough to hold in body heat. The floor should be elevated off the ground a few inches and insulated with cedar shavings or straw. The entrance to the shelter should be facing away from the wind and protected with a burlap or plastic covering.

Check paws & fur

Not only can the cold weather cause your dog’s paws to crack (which is very painful), the ice melting salt used on many walkways can be very irritating to your pup’s feet. You should wipe off your dog’s paws and fur every time he or she comes in from outside to make sure no salt makes its way indoors. And if you usually keep your dog’s fur trimmed throughout the year, let it grow in naturally for the winter—it’s another layer of protection against the elements.

Provide outdoor apparel

As silly as some people may think it is, some dogs need warm outdoor apparel. Dogs who are small or have limited body fat, such as Chihuahuas and greyhounds, should be protected with a warm sweater or water-resistant coat and boots.

Use a leash

It’s especially important to keep your dog on a leash during the winter. Not only can your dog become disoriented or lost in the snow, he or she can venture out onto partially frozen bodies of water.

Keep Your Dog Safe this Winter

Following our cold weather safety tips can help keep your dog warm and happy this winter. If your pet is experiencing any cold weather complications, such as uncontrollable shivering or shortness of breath, visit our animal hospital in Germantown, MD immediately.


Contact us online or by phone at (240) 252-7467 if you have any questions about your dog’s winter safety!

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