Dogs love the winter as much as we do, perhaps even more! Dogs and humans are different. That’s a no brainer. I mean, just look at them! Most people, especially dog owners, understand that dogs act differently, think differently, and have completely different needs than we do.

However, when it comes to warmth we might treat our pets more like people and less like dogs. Here’s our detailed guide on how to keep your dog warm in the winter. Here’s a hint: it’s a lot easier than you might imagine.

Most Dog Breeds Are Equipped To Easily Handle The Cold

Over the past 50 years, more and more dogs tend to sleep inside the house, protected from the elements. If this is your dog, chances are they’ll be more comfortable than you this winter… unless you set the thermostat to 30 degrees!

A dog’s coat will regulate their body heat much more effectively than human clothes would. The coat is an effective mechanism for warming and cooling as needed, like a biological AC. So don’t shave them in the summer or before the winter, let it grow!

Dogs that have thicker coats are warmer during the winter. Breed plays a role in your dog’s ability to keep warm, but it’s a smaller factor than you might imagine. It’s pretty obvious how Huskies endure Russian winters. But, the short-haired and low-bodyfat Weimaraner of Germany also thrives in chilly climates.

There are definitely breeds that will have a harder time in the winter. This doesn’t mean you have to wrap them in sweaters all day, but paying attention to their exposure is important. These breeds include:

  • Greyhounds
  • Whippets
  • Chihuahuas

Generally speaking, the shorter a dog’s coat, the more protection they might possibly need.

While outside, watch for signs that indicate your dog is cold, such as:

  • Shivering/trembling
  • Lethargy
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry nose or skin
  • Labored or slower breathing

If you see symptoms like these get your dog out of the elements immediately. Don’t just throw a coat or blanket over them. Get inside, you don’t want to risk hypothermia or worse.

Elderly and younger dogs are especially at risk. Dogs can lose or just haven’t yet gained, the body fat that’s necessary to keep them warm. You may also need to take measures to protect an older dog from arthritic pain in colder weather.

How Can You Help Your Dog Weather The Winter?

Puppies are more vulnerable to the winter cold, their coat and fur aren't developed. If you’re concerned about your dog’s health during the winter, or they need to spend the day outdoors, don’t despair! There are plenty of ways you can help. The first step is ensuring their most basic need of shelter, which includes:

  • Protection from wind shear
  • Protection from rain, sleet, and/or snow
  • Bedding for comfort and warmth

A few blankets coupled with a well-made doghouse will accomplish all of these goals. It may sound a bit basic, but your dog will be safely snug in most conditions except extreme or inclement weather. In that case, you will want to make a plan of action to keep your dog indoors for those situations.

Dogs also need more food to fuel them during the winter. Their metabolism is working overtime to burn calories and keep the body at the right temperature. Just increase their dinner portions a little to keep up. They’ll be doubly grateful, warm and full!

Typically, dogs don’t need coats, but they can help vulnerable dogs stay outside more comfortably. There are lots of great coat options out there. A fav of mine is Fido Fleece by PetSafe. You can find them pretty cheaply on Amazon.

When choosing a sweater or coat, look for one that velcroes across the back and actually covers your dog’s body. Other dog jackets typically hang loose over the top of your dog, and will do very little to actually warm them.

Despite the “frightful” weather, winter is just as fun as summer at the Ranch. If you have any questions about how we keep dogs cozy during the winter, feel free to contact us today!




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Snowy Charlie by Clarice Barbato-Dunn

Stoic Snow Puppy by JThai hUYNH

Nostalgic Shiba Inu by gregoryallen