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Tips to prepare for the cold and keep your dog safe

American Kennel Club, American Kennel Club on

Published in Cats & Dogs News

As the holidays roll around, so do colder temperatures. If you can feel the changes in the weather, chances are good your dog can too.

As responsible pet owners, it’s important to take extra good care of our canine companions during the winter months. The American Kennel Club recommends the following tips for a safe winter season.

Be mindful of window drafts. Small dogs and dogs with thin coats are easily bothered by drafts in your home. Tiled and uncarpeted floors will get cold in the winter easily, so it’s important to cover any uncarpeted areas with blankets or pads to keep a warm surface available for your pet. You might also consider purchasing thicker bedding to keep your pup warm.

Don’t leave your dog out in the cold. Limit the amount of time your dog spends outside; dogs can get hypothermia and frostbite too. Supervise your pooch to ensure that no snow or ice gets stuck in between his paws, which can cause cuts or cracked paw pads. If this happens, rubbing a small amount of petroleum jelly can help soothe paw pads.

Have canine winter attire. Some dogs, especially small, hairless or short-haired dogs are more likely to feel chilly as temperatures drop. For example, if you have a Chihuahua or miniature pinscher, it’s important to invest in a winter jacket for them. Because dogs' paws lack fur, you might also consider investing in a pair of winter boots for your dog.

Don’t leave your dog in the car. Though it may seem like this rule might only apply in the summer, the cold can cause the same amount of harm to your dog. Even if you’re just running a quick errand, be sure to always have your dog supervised in a car.


Rinse your dog’s paws. After a walk, it’s important to rinse your dog’s paw pads. Rock salt that is used to melt ice on sidewalks can irritate your dog’s paws; make sure to rinse and dry them after each walk. It’s also important to dry their ears as well, to prevent painful ear infections.

Beware of spilled antifreeze. Antifreeze is the most common toxic substance ingested by pets during the winter months, and it can be deadly. Be on the lookout for possible antifreeze spillage on driveways or roads when out with your dog.

For more tips on responsible dog ownership, visit the AKC at


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