How to Keep Your Dog Warm in Winter

A large dog playing in a snowy backyard

OllyDog’s hometown is Boulder, Colorado. We love our city for many reasons, from its renowned hiking trails to its dog-friendly population! When it comes to Colorado weather, we truly get all four seasons here, and we love to celebrate them all!

View of the flatirons in Boulder, Colorado during winter

Last summer, we posted The Hot Dog Blog, discussing ways to help your pup beat the heat of those sunny summer months. Now, at the opposite end of the year, we’d like to discuss something equally important: making sure your dog is warm enough during the chill of winter.

The winter solstice is now behind us, leaving longer days in its wake. With more daylight comes more opportunities for adventure! That said, the freezing temperatures aren’t going away anytime soon. So, how do you balance outdoor play with keeping warm?

We want you both to stay safe and warm this winter. Here are three ways to help your pooch through the chilliest time of year.

 

Number One: Safety First

How cold is too cold when it comes to walking your dog? Though it depends on your dog’s size, breed and age, we can provide some general guidelines for walking adult dogs outside in winter.

A large dog laying down in the snow, snowflakes cover his face as he tries to lick them away

With temps over 45℉, there’s usually nothing to worry about regardless of your dog’s breed. Small dog breeds will assume some risk in temps lower than 45℉ and serious risk when the temp drops below 32℉. Medium and large-breed dogs can handle weather that’s a bit cooler. For them, there is some risk under 32℉ and serious risk when the temp drops below 20℉. (Source: BetterVet.)

If it’s too cold to walk outside, try getting creative with ways to exercise indoors! We have known dogs who delight in chasing bits of kibble that are bowled across the floor, go cat-like crazy over a laser pointer, or even join their humans in dance parties!

 

Number Two: Hibernation Station

It’s a natural time of year to move at a slower pace. If you enjoy snuggling under a blanket for movie night or making your favorite wintertime soup, we see no reason your dog should be left out of these comforts.

A dog's nose sticking out from a stack of cozy blankets

While we are confident you need no instructions for your cuddle fest, we do have a dog-friendly soup recipe to share!

Easy Chicken and Veggie Soup for Dogs:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked and shredded chicken (boneless, skinless)
  • 1/2 cup carrots, diced
  • 1/2 cup green beans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

In a pot, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the veggies are tender. Be sure to let the soup cool before serving! A general rule for feeding your dog warm food is to match the food to a dog’s ideal body temperature, which is between 101-103℉.

Note: Avoid ingredients that are not dog-friendly, such as onion and garlic. Always check with your vet before introducing new foods to your dog's diet.

 

Number Three: Wipe Your Paws!

Whether your dog is coming inside from a quick potty break or a full day of play in backcountry powder, it’s important to dry them off properly. This isn’t just so they don’t ruin the carpet, it’s because keeping dry is an essential part of keeping warm.

Like us, dogs have a harder time regulating their body temperature when they are wet. Although shaking dry is a good start, you can help the process along by toweling them off. Hang a towel by the door for when your pup comes inside. Wipe their paws, and if they’ve been rolling around in the snow, give them a full pat down!

A small dog being toweled off by their owner

When introducing this process to your dog, it’s helpful to create positive associations with their towel. Reward with treats as you dry, or use their towel in a play session. If you want to truly spoil your pooch, throw their towel in the dryer for a few minutes while they’re outside. Who doesn’t love a warm, fluffy towel?

 

As outdoorsy people with outdoorsy pooches, we want to help you and your dog get outside any time of year. This is why we make durable dog gear that can withstand any weather! At the same time, it’s important to be mindful of how the cold might affect your four-legged friend. 

Of course, all dogs are different. Some rejoice in the winter wonderland, while others burrow under blankets to hunker down and wait out the cold. However your dog feels about winter, we hope the above tips will add an extra dose of comfort to their season.

A happy Goldendoodle in the snow with a wagging tail

Here’s to winter warmth and waggin’ tails!

OllyDog Team

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