Dog Health: 5 Tips for Dealing with Cold Weather

Written by: Dr. Bo Bergmann, DVM

The Dogtor’s pal, Nash, loves the snow!
Photo by Bo Bergmann

Brrrrrrr. . .Vermont and many parts of the U.S. are preparing to deal with much colder temperatures over the next few months. It’s not unusual for us to wake up to -10 degrees Fahrenheit in the morning. (Add a wind chill and it gets even colder!)

Every dog has a different cold tolerance, based on their fur, age, and medical conditions. Most dogs will tell you that they’re cold, but I know plenty who are more worried about chasing the tennis ball or pleasing their owners and may end up with paw injuries or frostbite if they’re outside too long.

Here are 5 things to keep in mind for when the mercury dips below zero:

  1. Take shorter but more frequent walks.
  2. Try a dog coat or sweater. I know some dogs who even like to wear them inside.
  3. Properly-fit booties will help protect your dog’s feet (and help with traction on ice).
  4. Keep your dog’s toenails trimmed. I’ve recently seen numerous broken nails due to the hard, icy ground.
  5. Wipe your dog’s feet after coming inside to remove road salt, ice, or snow balls stuck between the toes.

Do you have other tips for keeping your dog happy in the cold weather?

Dr. Bo Bergman, DVM, is a graduate of NC State University College of Veterinary Medicine and works at West Mountain Animal Hospital in Vermont.

2 thoughts on “Dog Health: 5 Tips for Dealing with Cold Weather”

  1. Yes, if steps are required for your dog to get outside, clear the steps of ice and snow and keep them clear or find another means for the dog to reach the outside. Older dogs who are arthritic may need to go out through covered entrance areas to avoid having to navigate slippery steps.

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