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Top tips to help keep your dog safe and warm
A happy black pup playing in the snow wearing a coat and a purple collar

Top tips to help keep your dog safe and warm

15 October 2023

Written by Dr. John Ambler, former Oakfield Clinical Director, BVM&S MRCVS
Reviewed by Dr Jill McMaster BVM&S MBA MRCVS, Veterinary Surgeon and in-house expert at BorrowMyDoggy on 8 Jun 2023

Summary

Get your dog a warm and comfy coat

Let your dog adjust gradually to the dropping temperature

Make the most of the daylight

Watch out for antifreeze

If in doubt, use the lead

Check your dog’s paws after walks

Consider a spot of grooming


When the winter months hit, it’s important to know how to keep your fuzzy friend safe in the cold.

John Ambler, My Family Vets vet and Clinical Director at Oakfield Vets, tells us more.

It’s important to keep taking your dog for walks – no matter how much you dread leaving the house during cold days! But by following just a few simple steps, you can help keep your dog safe & comfortable when they’re out and about in the cold weather.


Get your dog a warm and comfy coat

A comfy coat will help your dog stay nice and toasty on their walks – especially really young/old dogs, or dogs with thin fur such as whippets or Dalmatians.

Atlas, the Italian Greyhound


Let your dog adjust gradually to the dropping temperature

Try shortening your dog’s walks once the temperature drops, and gradually increasing the time they spend outside on a daily basis. This will help stop the cold from becoming too overbearing – you might find it useful for yourself too!


Make the most of the daylight

The rise of remote working may mean that more owners can take advantage of daylight hours. Walking your dog during daylight is preferable to darkness because it lets you keep an eye on them, and it’s usually warmer during the day. If you are walking when it’s dark, consider investing in some high-visibility clothing for both yourself and your dog.


It’s also a good idea to make sure your dog is microchipped and that your microchip details are all up to date – just in case!

Izzie, the Cocker Spaniel

And here we’ve listed some of our favourite winter walks to do with your dog!


Watch out for antifreeze

If you use antifreeze to de-ice your car, be mindful that this substance is highly poisonous to dogs! Even worse, it tastes delicious to them so they’ll actively seek it out if they encounter any.


Make sure you keep your own antifreeze hidden somewhere safe, clean up any spillages immediately and keep an eye out for potential spillages in the street too.


If in doubt, use the lead

So winter brings the threat of darkness and potential antifreeze spills – on top of that, there’s black ice, which can cause a serious accident if your dog slips.


Tommy, the Miniature Poodle

You can avoid potential dangers easily by keeping your dog on the lead when necessary. When passing the neighbours’ cars, for example, or a well-known hotspot for black ice.


Utilising the lead is extra important if your dog is older, arthritic or highly excitable.


Check your dog’s paws after walks

Imagine walking outside on the freezing pavement in bare feet!


Dogs’ footpads are more adjusted to extreme cold than ours, but it’s a good idea to wash their feet thoroughly after every walk. This will keep the footpads in good condition, and enable you to remove salt/grit from the roads that might have been lodged between their toes.


Minnie, the Pomeranian

Consider a spot of grooming

You might think your dog needs all the fur they can get in extreme temperatures but in some areas, grooming can really help.


If your dog is extra furry, think about trimming the hair between their toes – this will keep it from getting too icy, especially once the snow starts to fall.


You can also get special balms for your dog’s feet to help the skin recover from the harsh cold. Think of it like hand cream for dogs!


For more tips on grooming, check out our article on winter grooming!

This article is for information only, and should never replace any advice, diagnosis or treatment from your veterinary surgeon. Always contact your local vet or out of hours vet without delay if you have any concerns about your dog.

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