5 Ways To Keep Your Dog Warm During Cold Months

Dogs are better equipped to handle the cold than humans, but Jack Frost can still put the hurt on pooches. If you own a dog who spends a lot of time outside, there are things you can do to make sure he stays warm when temperatures bottom out.

PetPlace suggests ways to warm up your dogs, ranging from the practical to the silly.

Here are five of the more reasonable:

* Keep your dog inside. This isn’t always a reasonable solution, especially if your dog isn’t house trained, but letting your dog in for a few hours can ease the burden of a chilling night.

* Get a doghouse. A shelter will protect him from wind chill and weather. Go for a sloped roof and consider adding insulation.

* Get a dog bed. A bed can help your dog retain his body heat, adding an extra bit of warmth.

* Feed him more. Fighting off the cold burns calories, so consider giving your dog a bit more fuel when it gets cold. Consult a vet if your dog is overweight.

* Keep his spirits up. More treats and attention can make your dog less miserable when he’s struggling with the elements.

10 Ways to Keep Your Pet Warm this Winter [PetPlace]

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  1. Cat says:

    This post is relevant to CosmosHuman’s interests.

    • CosmosHuman says:

      You are too sweet Cat!. Cosmo has several cold weather garments; bought when I had the cash. He even has a camo raincoat that is simply adorable. “Sgt K-9″ and attached dog tags. I wish I could post the picture of him.

  2. SheTastesLikesCigerecxh says:

    I have a 25 lb boston terrier, and she gets cold in the harsh Vermont winters. At the dog park this past sunday, I saw another boston wearing a full fleece snowsuit, crotchless. I think I need one.

    One tip: coat the paws of your loved one with vaseline or chapstick before going for a walk on icy or snowy paths.

    • Cat says:

      “a full fleece snowsuit, crotchless. I think I need one. “

      For you, or your dog?

      Either way, your statement has caused irreparable damage to my visual cortex, and will require much brain bleach to erase the visuals.

      Does Frederick’s of Hollywood even sell such things as a crotchless fleece snowsuit, or do they maybe have a separate division for doggie lingerie?

      • SheTastesLikesCigerecxh says:

        Crotchless for both of us, it would be a shame to have to get naked to relieve myself on our walks

    • jeni1122 says:

      Good call on the paw coating.

    • qwickone says:

      +1 on the paw treatment. Musher’s Secret FTW!

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      I know they’re practical for short/thin-haired lean dogs, but every time I see a dog in a snow suit, I can’t help but think of the Pluto and Figaro cartoon with the Ugly Red Dog Sweater.

      • Brian Cooks says:

        my wifes dog HATES clothes, when she’s being super bitchy my wife will put a sweater on her and she sits there staring at us like “why……….dear god save me from this thing”

    • madfrog says:

      I wonder how that person got his/her Boston in that suit? I have all I can do to get my boy into a conventional harness, had to go for the step-in kind. He likes to play with anything that you put on him. Mine is also 25 lbs, and my husband jokes his cutness saves him. In the winter, he has to be quick, because they will actually lock up and can’t move- I just pick him up, put him in his spot, and pick him up again. Poor little guy can’t deal with the cold at all- definately not an outside dog breed. Love the idea about the paws.

  3. MrMagoo is usually sarcastic says:

    Anybody have recommendations for good, chew-proof dog house heaters?

  4. May contain snark says:

    Cuddle with your little poopsykins.

    • lacubsfan2 says:

      Before you go out and buy anything, do some research on your breed. If you own a Husky, St. Bernard, German Shepherd, or Rottweiler…. or any dog bred from a cold environment you can probably skip these steps at the risk of over heating your dog to death.

  5. IphtashuFitz says:

    I’m surprised they don’t suggest getting a nice doggie jacket for when you take Fido outdoors. They can help a lot, especially if you have a dog that doesn’t have much body fat to begin with, like our greyhound.

    • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

      Hey, hey! For the past 20 years we’ve aways had two greyhounds! Good on yer!

    • cash_da_pibble says:

      I have an 80 lb pit bull, and he shivers like the dickens in the cold. I got him a fleece-lined raincoat and he seems to tolerate it well- no more cold-weather shivers. At the very least, he’s comfortable enough to poop in it. And if you shop around, they aren’t expensive.

  6. McRib wants to know if you've been saved by the Holy Clown says:

    Oh come on now, you’re not even trying!

    >:(

  7. Cat says:

    My goldfish are freezing in their outdoor pond.

    But OTOH, if they don’t survive, they were 33 cents each. And as a bonus, FISHSICLES!

    • sufreak says:

      Ooooh…I’m telling PETA!

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      Actually, there are things you can do to winterize your fish pond; goldfish are hardy, coldwater critters, and should be OK so long as the water does not freeze over. Apparently something as simple as a large floating ball can do the trick, so long as the winds are not strong enough to blow it away.

      • Cat says:

        I’m running a pump from the bottom, and discharging straight up about 2″ from under the surface.

        But the hole in the ice near the discharge is down to about 2″ across now, and it’s only December.

        • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

          Yikes. In that case, yeah, you might want to look into a pond heater, just to keep it above freezing. It always surprises people that pond fish need air too!

    • pop top says:

      There are such things as pond heaters.

  8. marc6065 says:

    I always wear a crotchless snow suit!!! Easy acess is always a good thing!!

  9. maxhobbs says:

    Wow, whodathunkit?

  10. raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

    A “doorflap” in front of the doghouse entrance can help retain heat if the dog sleeps outside in winter. This can be a simple as a sturdy blanket pegged over the entrance, with enough give that the dog can push it aside to get in and out.

    Line their house with old blankets and towels–and be sure to handle the towels so the dog associates them with you. They’re more likely to be happy if their home smells like their human.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      I made a flap for my outdoor kitty’s plastic doghouse, which also is up on wood blocks off the ground with insulation over it. She also has a fleece blanket in there, with a faux sheepskin bed and a soft thing I bought that has Mylar in it to reflect her body heat. Whenever I go outside when it’s really cold and she comes out, I pick her up and hold her and her little feet are always toasty warm. I put my hand in there to pet her one time when it was super cold and it was pretty nice in there.

  11. SheTastesLikesCigerecxh says:

    Who keeps their dogs outside all year round in cold climates? I am not trolling, I just can’t imagine doing that.

    • JoeDawson says:

      My dog is spoiled rotten, she sleeps in someones bed every night LOL

      • SheTastesLikesCigerecxh says:

        Mine too…. Bostons love to burrow and root around. She always starts out in her own bed, but ends up in ours…. my boyfriend has observed her coming around to my side of the bed, crying softly and pushing at the blankets. I end up lifting all the blankets to let her in, all while I am asleep. Apparently I say things like, “fiiiinnnneee baby girl, come to mama”.

        • nugatory says:

          hmmm it’d be interesting to video myself at night to see what happens here. Every morning when I wake up I have two dogs in bed with me, even though I go to bed with none.

          • finbar says:

            Mine too, It got to where I just call her into bed before I go to sleep rather than be awaken by a not-so-graceful 50 pound lab mix that seems to have a skill at jumping on, rather than next, to me.

    • The Porkchop Express says:

      eskimoes.

    • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

      My Siberian Husky loves the cold, absolutely loves it. It’s California so it doesn’t get much below freezing. We up her food in Winter and she buries any excess if we over-feed her.

      She has an igloo doghouse which is the perfect size for her. Any of the suggested booties, sweaters, bedding would be shredded within five minutes, no exaggeration; same reason she’s an outdoor dog. The damage she would inflict indoors would be monstrous, I’ve seen it happen to the fool that thought he would ‘rescue’ her from being chained. Even outdoors, she has ripped out our sprinkler system, the underground wiring for the lights, uprooted three trees, destroyed our swimming pool, our deck couches, our gazebo, all the fencing and our air-conditioner (twice).

      • SheTastesLikesCigerecxh says:

        My sister and her husband have a siberian husky. he LOVES the winters here. He will stay outside all day in the cold. I know it depends on the breed, but unless they are bred for the cold, like a husky, or Bernese mountain dog, it can be dangerous.

        And I have seen the destructive powers of ze HUSKY! My goodness, it is insane. Torn up phone books, holes all over the yard, dead squirrels, etc. But what makes me smile is how my sister’s husky, Tonka, is always, and I mean ALWAYS, dominated by my Boston, Babu.

      • snarkysniff says:

        Sounds to me like she isnt getting enough exercise and mental stimulation… that is typically what causes destructive behavior in dogs…

      • little stripes says:

        But the problem is, most dogs are not made for cold weather, especially overnight, when they should be sleeping, and so they aren’t warming themselves up with activity.

        I grew up with a husky; she loved being outside, even if it was cold.

        The same, however, was not true for our Dalmatian/lab mix.

      • little stripes says:

        And, yeah, she’s not getting enough attention or exercise. Do you interact with her outside of an occasional walk, or is she just outside all day, alone? If she’s outside alone all day, that’s why she’s being destructive; not because she’s a husky. The husky I grew up with was very gentle and sweet, but we spent a lot of time with her (and she had several other dogs to play with).

      • jeni1122 says:

        I also have a Siberian Husky and he loves the outdoors, but at the end of the day he likes to come inside and sleep on his indoor bed at night when we are at our second house in the suburbs.

        During the week my husky is with us in downtown Seattle in our apartment. He has always lived with me in whichever urban area I have had to live in for work (San Francisco, Los Angeles). I have had him since he was 8 weeks old and I make sure that he gets plenty of exercise and walks to make sure he is happy. (He is now 8 1/2 years old).

        Huskies generally act up because they are board. Anything from walks outside of their living area each day, to the dog park, to doggy puzzles can help. They need stimulus.

        Keeping a husky chained up is never going to be the solution. Sorry if this is hard to hear, but it is the truth.

        • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

          She has a zip line that she’s chained to. Without chaining, she would be gone by the time we got home. I know this for a fact.

          Most Husky owners know how good an escape artist they are. Mia always found a way to get off of the chain, one of which was to climb onto a structure and hang herself and wiggle out. We shortened the zipline so she couldn’t reach the fence or hang herself. She would consider each new attachment method a puzzle, and would spend hours playing with it until she figured it out, even quick links; It averaged her 8 hours. So we double-hitched her. Once she got free she kept ripping boards out of the fence to go running, for miles. That happened over a dozen times in one year. We screwed each slat to the next, so then she started ripping out entire sections. We attached chicken wire over the 120′ area which stopped the fence destruction, and we’d throw cinder blocks into the holes she dug under it. She was able to squeeze through the bars covering the drainage culvert. It took a few escapes to figure out how she did it; we saw her do it.

    • little stripes says:

      People who don’t really consider dogs companions. Awful people.

      I live in the desert. People leave their dogs out when it’s 120 degrees out. It’s awful.

      If you don’t want a dog inside, what’s the point of having a dog? Yeah, yeah, protection, blah blah, but you can still have a dog for protection if they are inside.

      • Cat says:

        People who don’t really consider dogs companions. Awful people.

        Mixed feelings. Dogs are not people, either. Dogs, in general, are fairly well equipped for cold. Keeping a dog outside in extremes is cruel. Keeping your dog inside a small apartment is cruel. OTOH, keeping your dog outside even in the nicest weather is cruel to ME because I have to listen to him whine, yap and howl – something owners are often oblivious to.

        “MY dog doesn’t bark!” BULLSHIT. All dogs bark.

        • RayanneGraff says:

          I just have to ask- why does it matter that dogs are not people? Why does that factor in to how they deserve to be treated? What makes people any better or more deserving of comfort than animals?

          Gandhi said it best- “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”

          • DariusC says:

            Agreed, my dog is a person to me and I love her more than my own family because my dog was there for me when I went through hardships. I tear up just thinking about the inevitable day she will leave my side. Dogs don’t judge you, they don’t ask for anything in return except sustinence, shelter and love. If you don’t skimp on those 3, you can avoid health bills and other additional expenses.

        • little stripes says:

          Um, actually, not all dogs bark, or rather, not all dogs bark often. It depends on the breed, temperament, etc. I grew up with a beagle that NEVER barked, though occasionally she’d howl (but even that was pretty rare). Our Dalmantion/lab mixed bark quite a bit, though.

          Also, as someone mentioned, why does it matter if the dog isn’t a person? A pet is supposed to be your companion, not just some furry toy that you occasionally look at, and keep outside all the time.

          Some dogs do just fine inside apartments. Shitzus, for instance, are very much made for apartments. As are chihuahuas. In fact, I would say those are two dogs that are perfect for apartments. And, as long as the dog goes outside quite often, even some larger dogs are fine in apartments (it depends on the breed). Oh, and my apartment complex has some apartments with little “yards”. They aren’t very large, of course, but they are about three times the size of a normal apartment balcony/patio, and they are perfect for small-to-medium sized dogs, though of course large dogs do better when they have a larger back yard.

          • Cat says:

            See, most dogs do bark, but they conveniently bark when their owners are not there to hear them. And we had a beagle next door when I was a kid that NEVER stopped howling. Except when it’s humans were around and outside. since they never had their windows open, they insisted it never did. Until we played them the recording we made…

            Dogs are not humans, they are different creatures and should be treated accordingly. Not mistreated, but treated respectfully as dogs. Owners are the cause of most problem with dogs – and all pets – 99% of the time.

        • Mr. Bill says:

          Dogs are people not Corporations.

        • Cor Aquilonis says:

          My dog lives with me in a 482 sq foot apartment. I can tell she’s cruelly treated because she has ample water and food in clean dog bowls at all times, and has her choice of a dog bed, my bed, couch and two arm chairs to sleep on. She shows her horrifying distress by snoozing all day and being quiet all night. Her suffering is evident by her complete lack of destructiveness and he continual expression of contentment.

          She (and this is important) is usually walked on a disciplined, focused walk between 30 minutes to one and a half hours each day, and visits the dog park on the weekends for a hour or two. That’s how you keep a dog well in a small apartment.

          Please don’t assume that everyone who keeps a dog in a small apartment is cruel. If you have a low energy dog, it’s no big deal. If you have a high energy dog, no house in the land is big enough. It all depends on the dog.

    • RayanneGraff says:

      My neighbors do. They’re some of the most useless, ignorant assholes I’ve ever had the misfortune to encounter. I’ve called animal control on them but they always tell me there’s nothing they can do cause the dog does have food, water, and a doghouse.

    • Admiral_John says:

      My neighbors do, and it pisses me off… they have two dogs that are staked outside next to their doghouses on about 8 feet of chain, and two others that are in crates most of the day on the porch. The dog warden has said the same thing to them that others have said; as long as there’s food, water and shelter there’s nothing they can do.

      I have three dogs, all rescues, and right now they’re all sleeping in my son’s room with him. When he leaves for work, they’ll be confined to the kitchen until we get home. The only time they’re outside is to go to the bathroom or to play. My dogs are members of my family.

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      Buddy is a 200-pound Newfoundland. He wants to be outside all winter. He has an oily, water-repellent winter coat that he actually starts to overheat in if he stays inside too long.

  12. maxhobbs says:

    When they said “sloped roof” was anyone else thinking of the “Ching Chong” thread?

  13. scoutermac says:

    Really? These are your suggestions?

  14. pop top says:

    The booties thing is really important, especially if your dog loves going on walks. They could slip on the ice and hurt themselves and require expensive surgery. It also keeps their paws from getting frostbitten.

  15. Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

    Our Sibe couldn’t be happier outdoors when it’s freezing.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/belleville/5748725568/

  16. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    Feed your dog more in cold weather? Extra treats in cold weather? This is batshit crazy! Unless your little Fluffy is a sled dog, none of this diet misinformation applies. It’s a nice way to get an obese, diabetic dog with pancreatitis.

    • tsukiotoshi says:

      Yeah that one surprised me a little. We usually cut back a touch on my dog’s food this time of year simply because she isn’t getting as much exercise as in the warmer months. But then, she’s an indoor dog and as a general rule doesn’t need to fight off the cold for more than it takes to go on a solid walk or run around the house like a spazmatron. I could see it probably being useful for a dog that is outside all the time.

  17. ilovemom says:

    You can make a doggie jacket from an old sweatshirt sleeve (for small dogs only, unless you wear XXL). Cut off the sleeve and cut out leg holes. (Yes, I make my own dog clothes at home.)

  18. Necoras says:

    Yeah… I just have two huskies. Your argument is invalid.

  19. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    We have 3 dogs – a Shepard mix, a Siberian Husky, and a Rhodesian Ridgeback/Whippet cross.

    The Husky was bred for brutally cold weather…so in the cold MN weather she isn’t even fazed by the temperature or snow. The Shepard has a fairly long coat, but if it’s really cold he’ll wear a dog blanket (like a horse blanket…but for dogs) when he goes out. The whippet cross most people mistake for a Greyhound – and like a Greyhound, she essentially has no coat to speak of…not from a keep-you-warm standpoint, anyway. So she always wears a heavy dog blanket when she goes out if it’s around freezing or below.

    Such blankets don’t cost a lot…and your dog will be infinitely happier with one if they need it.

    • muenginerd says:

      We have a Ridgeback/Coonhound mix who has no coat/body fat to speak of normally. Then in the winter her allergies act up and she chews what little fur she does have off. I feel your pain trying to keep these dogs warm, and agree with your blanket idea. Dogs like this are in need of a little help in the cold. Anything below 30 degrees we have to bundle up. Pooch has learned and will actually bring us her jacket now when she wants to go outside.

  20. brinks says:

    It’s usually considered animal cruelty to leave your pets outside all the time in harsh weather. You better have a warm dog house, or I’m calling the Humane Society on your ass.

    • tbax929 says:

      Good luck with that. They won’t do jack shit.

      I have the opposite problem. My neighbors keep their pit outside all the time, in Southern AZ. It gets ridiculously hot here in the summer – too hot for a dog to be outstide. I’ve had more success complaining to my HOA (the dog barks all the time) than I have with the Humane Society.

      • BD2008 says:

        I hear this a lot. “My neighbor leaves the dog outside all the time, it is abuse.” Is the dog still alive and well? Then I guess it is ok.

    • FrugalFreak says:

      Should God be arrested? OUTSIDE is an animals natural habitat. It’s not abuse, just from people with your viewpoint. Should dogs be given their own room and left the estate in the will?

      • Cor Aquilonis says:

        There are many regional variations to “outside.” And humans are the only animal (that I’m aware of) that will more another animal from an “outside” it is adapted to, to an “outside” that it is catastrophically not adapted to.

  21. agold says:

    Dogs should not be left outside for long periods of time, period – especially in the winter!!! And although some little dogs look extremely prissy with sweaters, they do help keep them warm.

  22. MexiFinn says:

    Get a Siberian Husky. It will be zero out and she’ll want to stay outside on walks!

  23. ElizabethD says:

    This has to be the lamest post ever.

    Most dogs (Most! –not huskies, malamutes, Newfies, yadda yadda) do not belong outdoors all winter long unless you live in a temperate zone. So why offer advice on what to do with that poor dog “someone” keeps outdoors?

    And the most obvious, easiest tip — a warm coat/vest for outdoor play on very cold days, something my pit bull MUST have or he’ll freeze in a few minutes here in New England — isn’t even mentioned.

    Is this a reprint from 1938 or something?

  24. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    My lab has a royal blue and black plaid coat, lined with black CFM cloth, that velcros around his neck and belly. Plus a lighter weight red fleece coat. But I only put these on him during the winter when we’re out and about. He stays inside, and sleeps at the bottom end of the bed in the winter time.

    If it’s excessively cold, and because there’s no heat in our upstairs, both cats crowd in too. This means little sleep for me, but they’re happy. I’m sure the electric blanket has nothing to do with this :)

  25. CosmosHuman says:

    Cosmos is always on a leash except at the dog park. There are numerous deer here and I don’t want Cosmo chasing them into the street to cause an accident. Cosmo has a few Chuck Norris moves up his paw…so the deer should be worried.

  26. Hailey says:

    I don’t have to worry about the cold affecting my dog. I have a 3 year old 120 lb. Alaskan Malamute.

  27. Razor512 says:

    If your dog has to eat more to fight off the cold then you are abusing them.

    If you are going to keep them outside during the winter then get a dog house with a doggy door and some heating. (a tool shed with no tools but is insulated and has a space heater where the dog cant reach will work)

    If you cant afford that then keep the dog inside of the house. If you know what you are doing, you can train them to use a litter box within a week or so.

  28. Saltpork says:

    I have a rule about dressing up animals.
    If you put any piece of clothing on your pet, that pet has every right in the world to bite you without consequence. It’s a dog, not a little person. It’s not your kid. It’s a dog.

    Dogs have fur for a reason.
    Dogs are also pack animals. Bring them indoors. Train them. Spend time with them. Love them. Make them part of a pack. Make them part of your family.

    It annoys me to no end to see dogs stuck in back yards with little to no interaction.

    I’m getting off topic. Dogs don’t need clothing. Never have, never will.

  29. chefboyardee says:

    “Keep your dog inside. This isn’t always a reasonable solution, especially if your dog isn’t house trained, but letting your dog in for a few hours can ease the burden of a chilling night.”

    Anyone who believes this should not have a dog.

  30. polishhillbilly says:

    my three German Shepherds keep warm chasing squirrels, and other small mammals. Each of them has a 4 foot square dog house, that is insulated with foam between inner and outer wall, and has a radiant barrier sheet on the roof decking. The dog houses have been caulked and foamed, no drafts, except for opening. The Dog houses last 12-15 years, before I have to replace them. For the summer kiddie swimming pools for cooling off.