Even your fur-baby’s thick, beautiful fur isn’t enough to protect them from winter’s relentless cold temperatures.
The common misconception that fur can combat the cold can unintentionally expose many dog breeds to the hazards of dropping temperatures, including joint pain, arthritis, frostbite, and hypothermia.
Dog owners come to me every winter with concerns about their dogs becoming more restless and uneasy. Although my Dog Calming Code has helped thousands of dogs and dog owners navigate through challenges brought by changes, I make sure to remind one winter dog care principle:
Dog care for winter calls for one major thing: keeping the dog warm indoors and outdoors.
Fortunately, there are practical measures you can take to ensure your pooch is snug and safe, even during winter nights. Read on.
- Guide for Dog Owners on How to Tell if Your Dog is Experiencing Cold Discomfort
- Ways on How to Keep a Dog Warm At Night – Indoors
- Ways on How to Keep a Dog Warm At Night – Outdoors
Table of Contents:
Cold Dog: Is Your Dog Telling You They Can’t Handle The Chill Anymore?
Does your dog need bundling up? If your dog starts exhibiting behavioral changes right after the temperature dip, it can be a sign of a cold dog.
Take cues from what your dog is doing when it’s chilly; here are some common signs of a cold dog that tells you it’s time to warm them up… fast.
Shaking and Shivering
Not all dogs will ride the cold like superheroes. When the freezing temperature becomes too much, many dogs will show this through shaking and shivering.
Continuous Whining and Barking
You’ve given the things that soothe them when they’re restless, but they’re still whining and barking. Try wrapping them in blankets and see if there’s a difference.
Restless While Looking for a Corner to Lie Down
Pup parents and dog owners, if your dog can’t settle in one spot and is constantly snuggling from one corner to another, it can be a telltale sign that their beds are too chilly for comfort.
Hunched Posture, Tucked Tail
Now this one’s quite easy to miss. Before your big and small dogs start making a fuss about the cold, they would first do all their best to warm themselves up using their body heat.
If you notice your dog curled up more than usual, it’s best to cover and warm them up as soon as possible.
Whether you caught the signs of a cold dog early on, or it took a while to figure out the concern, there are simple, easy steps on how to keep a dog warm at night and during the day.
Keeping Dogs Warm at Night When They’re Indoors
Sturdy walls and thick carpets won’t stop your dog from feeling the effects of the seeping cold. The great news is that it does not need any complicated process to make sure your dog is warm indoors.
Keep the cold at bay – here are different ways to keep dogs warm while they’re staying in.
A quick note: If your dog is used to staying outdoors, there will be adjustments involved.
Instead of watching your dog magically sashaying indoors, you’ll probably deal with a lot of resistance.
Transitioning from the outdoors to the indoors is a big adjustment for you and your dog. You worry about how they will behave inside the house, and they’re confused about how to navigate the new space.
Both of you might find the situation extremely frustrating.
The transition will call lots of patience and communication with your confused, bewildered dog.
I always recommend dog parents to go back to the basics of communicating with their dogs to help them speak to their pets without getting stressed and exasperated.
Get Your Dog Off the Ground, and Use Heated, Raised Dog Beds and Mats
The floor can get extremely cold during the winter; your dog can suffer body heat loss when they sleep on the ground. Consider getting heated dog beds elevated from the ground for your dog’s warmth, safety, and comfort.
Dog nesting beds are also an option, especially for elderly and arthritic dogs who feel more pain in their joints.
If your pup isn’t the type to stay on the bed, heated dog mats are another option. Look for the thicker ones that can serve as a protective cushion between your dog and the floor.
Surround Them With Blankets Using The Doughnut Ring
Heated dog beds – with their added insulation – are nice. However, if you don’t have one, you can get creative and create a doughnut ring out of blankets.
These could be old sacks, hay, or soft, beautiful blankets! Wool blankets will keep much more heat than most. This may even be an old sweater you’re thinking of throwing away!
For maximum heat retention, place the blankets in a doughnut shape with space for your dog to curl up in the center. With protection from the cold on all sides (and underneath) they only lose heat upwards rather than in all directions.
When your dog sleeps inside a doughnut ring, they can rest without risking life-threatening heat loss and a drop in body temperature.
Keep Them Eating with Heated Dog Bowls
Munching up an adequate amount of food is crucial to your dog’s comfort during the winter months. Dogs get an extra shield from the freezing cold when they have enough calories.
Since you’re most likely to place the food on the ground, swapping traditional bowls with heated dog bowls is a great idea. Food gets cold fast during the cooler nights, and cold food is unappetizing to dogs.
As heated dog bowls help keep dog food warm, your furbaby will always have access to ready-to-eat food that will fill them and fuel the much-needed calories to keep them warm.
Add Stop Drafts to Doors
We had talks with dog owners who were once left perplexed with their cold weather dilemma. They’ve done everything – get heated blankets, make a dog nesting bed, and stack up blankets for dogs to use, but their pets still end up shivering the morning after.
The culprit: the small, unclosed gaps between the door and the floor.
Although the cold coming in from these gaps is no big deal to people, it’s a different story for dogs.
Door drafts block cold air from swooshing into the room where you are trying to keep dogs warm. As this step is pretty easy to overlook, consider adding the drafts before prepping other cold season essentials for your dogs.
Dogs are very affectionate and most likely would express their need for warmth by cuddling next to you. Cuddling and letting your dogs sleep on your bed keeps dogs warm at night and gives them added security.
Consider Dog Pyjamas
Pyjamas are a staple for people when winter comes, and an extra layer against cold is needed. Imagine what dog pyjamas can do for your dogs to keep them warm?
These dog pyjamas come in any size, but short-haired dogs who need additional coverage benefit most.
|Dog Care for Cold Weather – Indoors||Dog Care for Cold Weather – Outdoors|
|Heated, Raised Beds and Mats||Build an Insulated Kennel|
|Blankets and Doughnut Rings||Make a Safe Shelter|
|Heated Dog Bowls||Winter Jackets and Dog Boots|
|Stop Drafts for Doors|
|Cuddling Up with Dogs|
Keeping Dogs Warm at Night When They’re Outdoors
Although keeping dogs warm indoors during the chilly season is the better choice, circumstances like behavioral issues, shedding, or your dog’s preference (working dogs prefer the outdoors because they can stay with their pack) can make you choose to allow dogs to stay outdoors.
If you are wondering how to keep a dog warm at night if they are staying outdoors, I have good news: there are some steps you can do to help them feel warm and comfortable all through the night.
Build an Insulated Kennel
Every dog that’s left outside should be given the choice of using an outdoor kennel. If they don’t need it then great, but many dogs sleeping outside will if it really gets cold.
Kennels should be watertight and protect from driving rain at the front. Consider the use of vertical plastic strips if water is getting in (or look for a kennel with a bigger roof out front).
You can also leave shiny thermal blankets just in case your dogs will reach out for one.
Provide Safe and Proper Shelter For Nights When It Gets Even Colder
Many dog breeds, including pack animals and working dogs, are low-maintenance – they would gladly settle in a kennel without any problem. It gets challenging when they not only need protection from chilly nights but from pouring rain and snow.
Every dog needs an outdoor shelter from the rain so if you haven’t already put some sort of shelter together, then today is the day.
If you’re letting your dogs sleep in the garage, install some heat lamps for additional warmth during the winter.
Winter Jacket and Dog Boots
The jacket and boots ensemble is just what big and small dogs need when taking winter walks where the cold winds blow incessantly. Most dogs aren’t fans of dog jackets and dog boots, but they get by eventually.
What If My Dog Refuses to Come Indoors During the Night?
With the help of positive reinforcement, you can help your dogs associate the indoors with good things and make them more excited to sleep inside and stay warm at night.
During the first few days, dogs you’ve successfully ushered indoors will still exhibit restless behavior through camping on the doorsteps, or running around.
The new experience will be terrifying for them – shouting can only do a little. Click here to learn how you can soothe your dog’s jitters all while improving their behavior inside the home.
During the adjustment process of training your dogs to sleep indoors, it’s important to also provide them with a warm bed, an insulated kennel, and a safe shelter should they choose to stay outside.
Worried About The Way Your Dog Will Behave Indoors?
One of the reasons many dogs live outside is because they haven’t been properly trained to behave inside the home.
If you’d prefer to have your dog inside, but are worried about your dog using the toilet in your home, chewing on your stuff, or getting into things that he/she shouldn’t, I want to take a minute and check out how I’ve trained over 77,000 dogs to listen, respond, and behave in your home when it matters most!
~Doggy Dan 🙂