Keeping your outdoor dog regularly groomed will help maintain a healthy hair
coat and provide proper insulation. Shorthaired dogs will have a difficult
time in cold weather and it is not recommended to keep these breeds
outdoors. Long thick hair coats provide excellent insulation but mats and
debris caught in the hair will diminish the insulation effect. Keep the coat
brushed and free of mats.
Dogs kept outdoors in the winter will use more energy to keep their body
temperature regulated. In order to keep your dog healthy, extra calories
will be needed to supply the extra energy. Make sure your dog is offered a
good quality dog food. Offering more food in the winter will help supply the
Water is also important in the winter. Provide fresh water daily. Snow and
ice are not acceptable substitutes for fresh water. Check the water every so
often to make sure it hasn't frozen over.
In the wintertime, dogs are more susceptible to illness. Carefully
monitor your dog to catch any illness early. Frostbite is a
potential hazard, especially for dogs not offered proper housing.
The tips of the ears, tail and feet are particularly susceptible.
Exposure to salt and ice melts can be a hazard if these products are
used near the dog. The dog may walk in the salt and ingest some
while licking paws. Ingestion of salt or other products used to melt
ice can lead to gastrointestinal upset, burns of the esophagus or
stomach or burns on the pads of the feet.
Exposure to cold weather, especially associated with high winds, can
result in a low body temperature. Hypothermia can be fatal if not
Keep all automotive items away from your dog. Many people change
antifreeze in the fall; exposure to antifreeze can be deadly. Make
sure your dog is safely confined away from any toxic or dangerous
Annual physical exams are very important in the outdoor dog. Prompt
diagnosis and treatment of illness is important. Make sure your
outdoor dog is adequately protected from disease by vaccination.
Have your dog checked for intestinal parasites and properly dewormed.