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Two German Shepherd dogs in the snow.


Before we talk about cold weather care, you should know that in winter, the VERY BEST place for your dog to sleep is in your house. It's better than on a porch, under an awning, in a barn, or in a dog house. Because children don't often make these decisions, discussed below are ways to take care of your dog if he spends any time at all out in the cold.

Border Collie in the snow.
There are times when it's important for you to do special things for your dog. Dogs require very special care in cold weather. The air is cold, it's windy, water freezes, and salt is on the sidewalks to melt the snow. The air can get very dry and cause static electricity. This can make your dog's hair stand up and maybe give you a tiny shock.


Dog laying in snow.

If your double-coated dog will be living outside during the winter, start putting him outside early in the fall. This will give him time to develop the thick undercoat he needs for warmth.

Outside dogs use more calories to keep warm in winter, so you give your dog additional food.


Your dog's coat is good protection against the cold weather. Don't ever shave your dog during the winter months. Keep it thick and long. And if you bathe him, it's best to dry him completely before going outside.


In cold, snowy weather make sure that if your dog is outside, he has shelter to protect him from cold wind. Giving him a bed inside the shelter will help him stay warmer because he will be off of the cold ground.

Fresh straw (not hay) can make a nice bed in the doghouse. It's comfortable and helps keep your dog warm. Many people who live in cold areas use this inside their dog houses.

Young puppies should not be left outside when it's very cold. They can't make themselves warm like older dogs can. Keep your puppy safe and cozy inside a heated building.

Siberian Husky dog on top of doghouse on a winter day.


No Ice, Please

If you leave water outside for your dog, make sure that it does not become frozen. Your dog needs regular, cool water to drink, not ice.

If you are not able to change your dog's water, you might want to buy a special heated dog dish. You can check these out at your favorite pet store.


Pomeranian with sweater on.

Some dogs are small. Some don't have hair. And some dogs don't have thick coats. All these dogs will get cold faster than dogs with thick, double coats. If your dog gets cold easily, you might buy a sweater and some booties for him. Check them out at your favorite pet store! Note: Dogs were not meant to wear clothes all the time, even though clothing is popular right now. Have a natural dog! Only wear clothes on special occasions or when it's cold.


Not All Snowballs are Fun!

After your dog has been playing in the snow, check his feet. There may be snowballs stuck between his toes. If the hair on your dog's feet is long, the snowballs will stick to it.

Snow can also build up on a dog's ears, tail, and belly. It forms little balls of very hard, icy snow and they can stick to the hair on your dog. They can be very cold and painful.

Black cocker spaniel with snow frozen to his ears.
This dog has snowballs on his ears.

Front paws, all trimmed up.
These paws can play in the snow.

To prevent paw snowballs, have your parents trim the hair on your dog's feet and between the toes. Or your dog can wear dog booties!

All snowballs can be removed by using a warm washcloth to melt the snow. Also, bringing your dog into the house will melt the icy snow.


Dogs get lots of smells from the ground. When snow covers the ground, it's much more difficult for dogs to get the usual smells that give them information about the world. In the winter make sure your dog always wears a leash and his name tags because if he were to get lost, it might be harder for him to find his way home using the usual smells for clues.


Two Precautions

1. If your dog walks on salty sidewalks or streets, be sure to rinse the salt off the bottom of his feet when you get home.

2. Ask your parents to make sure that liquids like car anti-freeze are put away in cupboards or high up on shelves where young children and dogs can't accidentally drink them. They're very poisonous.

Two mixed breed dogs in the snow.


Warming his nose, Bailey keeps warm.

To keep themselves warm in the winter, dogs sometimes curl up with their tail covering their nose. Having a dog bed in your house will give your dog a cozy place to curl up off of the cold floor.


Where Do I Go?

Many people wonder where dogs, especially little ones, can go to the bathroom when there is deep snow. One thing you can do is to shovel the snow in an area that is big enough for your dog to do his business.

If it's impossible for you to do this, put some newspaper down in your house by the door and hopefully your dog will use that until he can get back outside.

Pug in the snow.



What's the worse weather for mice?

When it's raining cats and dogs.

Rusty's Ridiculous Riddles!

Thanks to Kenny W. from Tennessee for sending us this riddle!


What Dogs Need
Shelter and Weather Needs
Health Care
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How To Love Your Dog...A Kid's Guide to Dog Care
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