Seasonal changes bring differing needs for keeping healthy and happy. Dogs are no exception to this truth. Keeping your pet safe and healthy, and most of all warm, during the winter months may require some changes to your daily routine. A few simple steps can make winter a time of fun for both you and your furry companion.

The most important step is to keep warm. Dogs may have fur, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t susceptible to colder temperatures. They need to be indoors, out of the weather, during the day and the night. If you have a dog with long fur, let their coat grow. Skip the hair cuts at the groomer and allow their natural coat to add to their ability to keep warm. For shorthaired dogs, sweaters will help them maintain a healthy body temperature. 

Exercise and potty breaks still need to happen, so take extra caution during your walks. Keep your dog on a leash, especially if the weather is bad or you’re walking near water. Dogs who run loose in bad weather can lose their way, leaving them vulnerable to the cold. Icy patches and thin ice near ponds and rivers can be dangerous so use an extra bit of caution and keep your dog with you. And don’t forget to make sure they are completely dry after a bath before letting them outside. 

Dogs, like humans, seek sources of heat during cold weather. When indoors, be careful of space heaters around your pup and invest in covers for baseboard heaters. Simple cautions such as these could prevent accident or injury.

There is one safety tip that doesn’t change when the temperature does. Never leave your dog in a closed car in hot or cold weather. Both can be dangerous.

Winter can be a fun time with some small changes. The easiest rule of thumb is if it’s too cold for you outside, it’s too cold for your dog.  So keep both of you happy by bundling up outdoors and knowing when to come in and warm up.