How to keep your dog warm in winter


Read time: 3 mins

28 Oct 2020

By Team Butternut Box


Game of Throne fans will know – winter is always coming, pet parents. Fingers crossed it won't be as extreme as 2018’s, but even if it's not quite a match for the Beast From the East, you'll want to be ready. And your pooches will want to be ready, too. Some breeds are (naturally) ahead of the game. If your dog's breed originated in Siberia (hats off to huskies) or Alaska (step forward Malamutes), cold weather will be barely a blip on their radar. Their thick, double-layered coats will have them waiting at the door to head out, no matter the temperature. Pups better suited to warmer climes, like sleek-coated Chihuahuas or Salukis, will need some help to stay cosy. To ensure you're prepared to fend off ruff weather, we’ve put together a handy guide full of ways you can keep your pup safe and warm from the cold.

Time to go coat shopping

To stop your sun-loving breed from shivering and to keep them safe from Jack Frost, putting them in a snazzy little dog coat is ideal. It will warm them up on a walk and help them look fabulous at the same time (paws up for a dog fashion show?). Some furry friends like this idea more than others, so your pooch might act a little miffed at first. But go gently, let them get used to it and before long all the snow-covered sights and new smells to be found on their wander will distract them. For fine-boned breeds, opt for a sweater that covers their delicate legs and says a firm 'no' to chills on their armpits (legpits?). If it really does get sub-zero, you might want to shorten the distance you take your dog to prevent their paws from getting too cold. Though energetic pups might appear to be enjoying their time outside in a winter wonderland, keeping them out in the cold for long periods can lead to problems like hypothermia and frostbite. When it's snowy and icy, opt for short, regular walks so they're burning energy but not getting chilled. Dog boots are (remarkably) a thing, but persuading your dog to wear them could be tricky.

Baby, it's cold outside

While their wolf ancestors were made for cooler outdoor living, domesticated pooches are used to more refined accommodations these days – with heating, regular food and loving humans on tap. So when wet and wintry weather starts to make an appearance, it’s time to bring even garden-loving dogs inside. This is especially true at dusk when temperatures can suddenly plummet. Our four-legged family members are exactly that – family – so clear a spot by the fire and cuddle up. Even if you’ve got a really furry friend who loves playing catch-the-snowball all day, get them settled in a comfy bed when the sun sets to be on the safe side.

Be eagle-eyed

When it hits freezing point, there’s one thing both dogs and humans should be wary of, and that’s ice (ice baby). When anyone hits a patch, flailing around like Bambi is obligatory – whether on two legs or four. So, remember to watch out on your walks or reroute down a path you know gets gritted. After walking on gritted paths, remember to wash down your pup's paws – the salts can be really irritating on pads and between toes, as well as being caustic to tongues if licked. And when your out and about in winter, never, ever (we're going to be strict on this matter) let your pooch walk on iced-over ponds and lakes. Another common hazard is antifreeze. Excellent for defrosting your car in the morning before work, but poisonous for pups. It's important to keep bottles of it out of tongue's reach and always clean up spillages or leaks sharpish. Or just don’t use it at all, since even the scrapings from your windscreen or a trickle in a puddle can be deadly. Our winter mantra? If it’s too cold for us, it’s too cold for our dog. So let's all snuggle up till springtime.