5 Ways to Keep Your Dog Warm in Cold Weather

It is important to keep your dog warm during cold weather. Ideally, your dog should stay indoors during the winter. When this is not possible, there are a number of ways to protect him from the elements and keep him comfortable and healthy.

1. Shelter

Providing your dog with a warm dry place to stay when he has to be outdoors in the winter is critical. You may consider giving him access to a garage or enclosed porch. Another alternative for keeping your dog warm is an insulated dog house. Be sure that the dog house is enclosed on three sides and that the roof does not leak. Place the dog house in an area that allows the doorway to face away from the prevailing wind. If possible put it next to the house so that at least one side of the shelter has added weather protection from an adjacent wall on the sides and from the eaves overhead.

2. Bedding

Adding additional bedding to your dog's sleeping area will help him stay cozy and warm in cold weather. There are many plush and comfortable dog beds available through retailers. Sometimes these types of beds are not practical due to wet weather conditions or if your dog enjoys chewing on his bed while he relaxes. If this is the case, a couple of old blankets may be a better choice. There are also dog beds made from burlap and cedar chips that are ideal for damp climates and are much more durable than fabric dog beds. If you have access to straw, it makes a wonderful bedding material to keep your dog warm and can simply be replaced when his bedding needs to be cleaned.

3. Extra Calories

If your dog spends a substantial amount of time outside during cold weather, he will need additional food. His body burns more calories to keep him warm and to create a layer of fat insulation. Add a little more food to his daily ration or you may wish to supplement his meals with some canned dog food.

4. Winter Gear to Keep Your Dog Warm

Jackets and sweaters for dogs can serve a purpose other than just being cute. If your dog spends most of his time indoors his body has not had the time to adjust to a major climate change. Indoor dogs, especially those with short coats and little body fat, will be much more comfortable if they have a coat or sweater on when they go outdoors. Rain gear such as jackets or boots may also be considered if it is wet or icy during the winter months where you live.

5. Heaters for Pets

Infrared heat lamps may be added to the shelter area to keep your dog warm. There are also special warming beds available. These are good options for extreme weather conditions, and can offer your dog that little bit of extra heat when it's really cold outside. Be sure that the wiring of these items is in good repair and this it is not resting in water.