12 Tips for Dogs in the Cold Weather – Including How to Get Them to Pee and Poo Outside

dogs in the cold

It’d be easy to dismiss tips for dogs in cold weather when you live in Texas, but we all remember the winter storm that happened in February 2021.

Plus, even if there isn’t snow or ice on the ground, there will still be days when it is cold outside. As a dog owner, you need to know what to do with dogs in the cold weather.

Use these tips to keep your pup warm, safe, and happy throughout the winter.

1. Limit Time Spent Outdoors

As much as possible, dogs should be kept inside when the temperatures drop.

ASCPA says, “If it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside. If left outdoors, pets can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured or killed.”

Let them outside to do their business and to get some exercise, but don’t allow them to stay outdoors in the cold too long.

2. Invest in a Winter Wardrobe

Even if your dog has a thick coat, you should still consider investing in a winter wardrobe for dogs in the cold weather.

Not only do dogs need jackets and booties for their feet, but they also need reflective gear.

This is because it gets dark earlier in the winter, which means many dogs go on their walks when it is dark outside.

dogs in the cold

3. Pay Attention to Your Dog’s Unique Needs

Not two dogs are alike. One dog may be better able to regulate his body temperature than another dog. Note – puppies and elderly dogs tend to have problems regulating body temperature.

Your dog’s coat will also make a difference in how well he tolerates cold weather.

Additionally, certain medical issues, such as arthritis, may make it more difficult for dogs in the cold weather.

4. Protect Their Paws

If your dog doesn’t wear booties, make sure you take special care of your dog’s paws.

Fetch by WebMD explains, “Ice, snow, salt, and toxic chemicals like antifreeze and de-icers can build up on your dog’s feet. If they lick them, they could swallow the poisons.”

5. Don’t Wash Them Too Often

It can be tempting to bathe your dog more in the winter – especially if they do play in the snow or ice.

When you bathe a dog, you may accidentally dry out its skin (even more so in winter).

6. Make Sure They are Microchipped and Leashed

According to Great Plains SPCA, “More pets become lost in the winter than any other season because snowfall can disguise recognizable scents that would normally help them find their way home.”

You can prevent this from happening by always using a leash on walks. This is also a good reason to have your dog microchipped in the event you get separated or he gets lost.

7. Give Them a Little More Food

Dogs in the cold weather will burn extra energy trying to stay warm. That’s why it is important to give your pet a little more food in the winter. Just don’t go crazy (pet obesity is a serious issue).

8. Have a Pet Emergency Kit

You never know when an emergency is going to happen, such as the freak winter storm in 2021.

Just as you should have an emergency kit for your family, you should also have one for your four-legged family member.

The kit should include pet first aid supplies, food, and important documents (such as vaccination records).

9. Choose Appropriate Bedding

Make sure your dog has access to a warm and safe space to sleep inside your home.

Floors get cold, and you don’t want your dog to sleep where there is a draft.

Instead, invest in a nice dog bed and some cozy blankets.

10. Pet Proof Your Home

Just like with babies, you need to pet proof your home.

Look for potential winter hazards, such as space heaters, and make sure they are kept out of your dog’s reach.

11. Know the Warning Signs for Dogs in the Cold

Fetch by WebMD says, “Get your pet inside right away if they:

  • Whines or acts anxious
  • Can’t stop shivering or seems weak
  • Has ice on their body
  • Stops moving or slows down
  • Looks for warm places to burrow”

These are signs of hypothermia.

If you notice pale or painful areas on your dog, these could be signs of frostbite.

In either instance, call your veterinarian right away.

12. Make Going to the Bathroom Easier

It’s no secret that it is hard for dogs to go potty in the cold weather. Humans wouldn’t want to, either.

Avoid your dog refusing to go outdoors and leave messes inside your home with these tips:

  • Clear a patch of ground (if there is ice or snow).
  • Dress your dog in winter gear.
  • Walk your dog on a leash.
  • Praise your dog when he goes pee or poop outdoors in the cold.

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