Winter Survival Tips for Dogs

The Resource for Everything About Dogs

Winter Survival Tips for Dogs

by Dave Eckholm

As an owner of an older dog, the subzero temperatures and even colder windchills have kept our outdoor walks short and frequent these last few days. Our dog's paws literally freeze and he will sit on his tail with his feet in the air until we stop and warm his feet with our gloves.

Frostbite is just one winter concern for dog owners. Here are some important tips to remember in the cold of winter:

Shorthaired Breeds should wear jackets and sweaters. This is not just a fashion statement. In subzero temps, this can save your pet's life.

Booties can protect the feet! OK they might look strange and be difficult for your dog to become accustom to but in the long run, the feet are protected.

Dogs can get frostbite! This shows up most commonly on the pads of feet and the ears. But it can also be found on the tail or scrotum. Frostbite will appear as reddened, then it will go white and/or gray. You may see scaly skin or sloughing of the foot pads. If you suspect frostbite on your pet, don't rub the affected area. Heat up slowly with warm, moist towels until the area appears flushed, then dry carefully. It is a good idea to have your pet examined by a veterarian. Keep your dog wrapped warmly during the car ride to the office.

Dogs can get hypothermia! Like humans a dog will appear mentally deficient and may lose consciousness if exposed to extreme temperatures for a significant time period. If your pet has hypothermia, his skin will be extremely cold to the touch. It is very important to get the dog to the vet immediately. Wrap in blanket for the transport to the veterinarian to conserve body heat.

Dogs are attracted to antifreeze and it is DEADLY! The main ingredient of antifreeze, ethylene glycol, smells and tastes sweet. Even a very small amount can be deadly to a small dog. If you suspect your dog has ingested antifreeze, it must be treated immediately. Your veternarian can perform a blood test to see if there is antifreeze in the system. If the test is positive, treatment will begin immediately. If left untreated, there could be brain or kidney damage.

Copyright 2007 Dave Eckholm/OldDogPaws

Dave Eckholm is the owner and creator of, a site dedicated to the care and comfort of our old friends. As our dog Tikki began to lose his eyesight and became grey around his muzzle, we were concerned for his quality of life so we searched for new ideas, resources and products to enhance his life. Old Dog Paws shares this information with all dog lovers so your friend can enjoy wonderful senior years too!

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