Tips & Information

How to keep your dog happy and healthy in winter

Written by

Erin Hunter and Hannah Gilmour


Published on: Jan 31, 2019

How to keep your dog happy and healthy in winter

How do you and your dog spend time once the snow flies?  Do you cocoon in front of a cozy fire, or are you frolicking outdoors in the snow? However you spend your time, keep these tips in mind to keep your dog healthy and happy all winter.

How can you tell if your dog is cold?

If you venture outdoors, keep an eye out for these telltale signs that your dog is getting too cold: 

  • Picking up their feet while walking

  • Tucking their tail between the legs

  • Cold or rigid ears

  • Shaking or shivering

  • Whining or barking 

If you see any of these behaviours when you’re out and about with your dog, bring them indoors, set them up in a warm space, offer them water, and dry their paws if needed. If your dog is showing signs of skin discoloration, sensitivity to touch or blisters, consult your veterinarian. 

For dogs with thin or short coats, consider pet booties and jackets. Pet stores have a huge variety of outerwear to choose from, so you should be able to find the perfect style for your dog. If your dog is unfamiliar with the feeling of wearing a coat or booties, start by having them wear the items for short periods of time in the house, with plenty of treats for reward. Eventually, they’ll become more comfortable wearing these items. 

Remember, if it’s too cold outside for you, it’s probably too cold for your dog, too.

How can you keep your dog from slipping on ice?

When out jogging or watching your pup at play, keep in mind how they are moving on the snow and ice. Scope out streets and parks for icy areas to avoid slip-and-fall injuries. Be cautious when playing catch so that your dog doesn’t twist at the wrong angle and hurt themselves because of an unpredictable bounce.  Consider rubber-soled booties or socks for older dogs, overweight pets, or those that are unsteady on their feet.

How do you prevent your dog’s paws from cracking?

Salt and other de-icing products can irritate your dog’s paws and cause them to crack. Dog boots are one option for paw protection. Otherwise, wipe their paws dry and apply a non-chemical soothing agent when you return indoors. It’s best to consult your vet before using any natural formula on your dog’s paws.

Protect your dog with pet insurance

In the event that your pet suffers from an ice or snow related injury, you’ll want to focus on their recovery, not the burden of vet bills — and pet insurance can help. You can read more about what’s covered by Petsecure plans and get a free quote.