How To Keep a Dog Warm In Winter

Think your dog's fur is enough to keep them warm in the winter? Think again. Your dog does have some natural protection from the elements, but it might not be enough to keep them warm in extremely low temperatures. Fortunately, there are plenty of tips and tricks you can use to ensure your pup is comfortable in chilly weather.

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Understand the Breed of the Dog

Not all dog breeds are created the same when as far as withstanding low temperatures. Some dogs, such as Siberian Huskies, have a biological advantage over other breeds of dogs. Meanwhile, Australian Cattle dogs thrive as the temperatures rise. Determine how your breed of dog generally fares in the cold and make an effort to cater to everything from their wardrobe to their diet to their temperature tolerances. 

Long Hair

Long hair dogs have a natural advantage as their fury provides increased protection in chilly weather. Generally, try to resist cutting your long-haired dog's fur too short. However, indoor dogs don't need as much fur as wild dogs to stay warm in the winter, so keep up with routine grooming.

Short Hair

Short hair dogs might feel the chill a little faster simply because they have less fur to keep them warm. Smaller short-haired dogs also have more trouble retaining their body heat due to their smaller stature and reduced body fat. 

Dress Your Dog Warmly

small white dog wearing our RIFRUF essential dog hoodie

There's virtually nothing cuter than a dog in a sweater. As long as your pup will tolerate it, feel free to doll your dog up in the name of body temperature regulation. Hoodies are an excellent choice for keeping your dog warm. RIFRUF's essential dog hoodie will ensure dogs of all shapes and sizes stay nice and cozy. No drawstrings mean no choking risk, and they even have a slit for easy access to put on your dog's leash or harness. We've got several colors to choose from, so your dog will be stylish and snug in the chilly weather. 

Need a hoodie and sneakers for your pup? We got you. Check out our essential kit

Protect Their Paws

Just like human feet, a dog's paws need to be kept warm in the cold. One of the best ways to do this is to use specially made sneakers that protect their paws from the elements. Our sneakers are made from premium materials designed to keep the dog's paws both comfy and warm. The mesh material offers superior breathability, while the hook and loop setup ensures the sneakers stay on dogs' paws. We even make sets in different sizes for dogs with bigger front paws. 

Related: Do Dogs Really Need Shoes for Snow?

Make Sure They are Properly Fed and Hydrated

Keeping your dog adequately fed and hydrated is key to ensuring they can handle the colder temperatures. A proper diet means dogs won't risk malnutrition, so that way, they can maintain enough body fat to naturally insulate them when it gets cooler. Likewise, staying hydrated helps support dogs' muscles and joints, so they don't get stiff and sore in the wintertime. Purchase high-quality food, Track your dogs' food and water intake, and discuss options with your vet if you feel your dog isn't getting the nutrients they need to stay healthy or if you notice changes in their eating and drinking habits. 

Don’t Leave Them Outside Too Long

No doubt your dog still wants and needs to get outside, even when it's cold. But limit the length of time they are outside when temperatures drop and especially be mindful of their outdoor activity when it snows. Monitor them the entire time they are outside, so you don't accidentally forget they're out there, and generally try to limit their time outdoors to 15-20 minutes in frigid temperatures. 

Related: How to Choose the Best Dog Leash For Your Dog

Give Them Adequate Shelter

little boy lying in bed with a pet dog

Ideally, your dog lives inside your house full-time with you. This is the best situation since you don't have to worry about how to keep your dog warm in the winter since they're already living in a nice, cozy space. However, if your dog does have to stay outdoors in the cold, consider investing in an insulated, heated shelter. If possible, bring your dog into the garage and set up a makeshift shelter there if temperatures get too low. 

Elevate Their Bed/Kennel

Place your dog's bed on an elevated surface to keep it off the cold floor. If your dog is older or has mobility issues, install a ramp to ensure they can access their bed easily and safely. You can also add some layers in between their bed and floor for extra insulation. Additionally, an elevated outdoor kennel provides another lawyer between your dog and the cold ground. 

Give Them Extra Bedding

Extra bedding is helpful for giving specs some extra warmth on extra chilly nights. Thick blankets are best as they provide the most insulation, but in a pinch, you can use towels or bed linens for additional support. Just be sure anything you use is easy to clean. However, do not give your dog a heated blanket, as this can pose a safety risk. 

Don’t Wash Them Outside

Washing dogs outside might be more convenient and lead to an easier time cleaning up, but you should only bathe your pup outside when the weather allows. 

Place your dog in the shower or bathtub and proceed to wash them. Make sure you remove any items that could be dangerous or create a hazard, such as razors or bottles

Related: How to Keep Dogs from Digging Under Fences

Keep Your Pup Cozy

a woman keeping her puppy warm in bed

A comfortable dog is a happy dog, and you can do your part as their owner by ensuring they have what they need to stay warm when chilly weather strikes. We've got all the dog sneakers so your pup can lace up and go outside with some toasty paws. 

Check out some of our favorite dog sneakers and hoodies at RIFRUF!

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