It’s not just humans that need a little help staying safe during winter; our animals are also vulnerable to the chill.

Many breeds aren’t built for freezing temperatures and deep snow, and no dog has natural protections against ground salt or shards of ice. Ground salt can cause paws to dry, crack, and itch. Ice can cause injury, and repeated exposure to the cold might even cause frostbite.

Luckily, it’s not hard to protect your pet this winter. If your dog is a naturally snow-loving dog, they might not need a winter jacket, but paw protection is paramount. On the other hand, small dogs and short-haired dogs have little protection against cold temperatures. Just like us, they’ll benefit from an insulated jacket for warmth. It’s important to know your dog’s needs before you start shopping.

Whether you’re a proud dog parent to a husky or a chihuahua, winter safety is of paramount importance. Luckily, we’ve rounded up our favorite winter safety essentials for your dog. But first, let’s answer a few of your most common questions.

How Do You Know if Your Dog is Cold?

How do you know if your dog is cold?

Luckily, we can learn to spot the signs when our dogs are cold. First, know that if you’re cold, your dog probably is too. If you have to bundle up to go outside, your dog probably needs an extra layer of protection.

Dogs may visibly shiver or tremble when they’re cold. Animals will also find warmer places in the house to rest when they’re cold. If you notice your dog avoiding tile floors and curling up near heat sources, it’s time to invest in a dog jacket or turn up the heat.

Are Dog’s Paws OK in the Snow?

Are your dog's paws OK in the snow?

Not always. Salt, ice, and cold can damage your dog’s paws. It’s easy for snow and ice to catch between their toes or stick to their hair, and these can handicap them when they walk or even create wounds. On the other hand, ground salt is known to dry out their skin and irritate their paws. None of us would walk outside without our snow boots on a cold day — but this is exactly what our dogs often do.

Luckily, there are a few ways to protect their paws from ice and salt. Choose a pair of dog booties. Although it might take your dog a minute to adjust, these are a great protection against the elements. Alternatively, consider a balm for their paws before they go outside. Both options provide a physical barrier between the salt and the dog’s skin.

Always wipe their paws when you return home to clear away any salt or ice. If a dog licks his paws to clean them, he’ll ingest harmful chemicals from the salt.

How Can You Keep Your Dog Safe in Winter?

Tips for keeping your dog safe in wintertime.

There are a number of steps you can take to protect your dog during the cold months:

  • Take extra precautions for vulnerable dogs. Are you caring for an elderly or injured dog? Consider limiting  their exposure to the elements. Use puppy pads for them to go to the bathroom indoors if necessary. If they must go outside, invest in a heavy jacket.
  • Leash your dog. Even if you normally walk off-leash, switch to leashed walks for the winter. Snow drifts can disguise the scents that your dog normally uses to navigate. Because of this, more pets go missing during this season than any other time of year.
  • Beware of antifreeze. This might be the time of year to replace your car’s antifreeze — but be extra careful of spills. Antifreeze actually tastes sweet to animals, yet it’s highly toxic. If you do spill any outside, wash it away immediately.
  • Protect their skin. As discussed above, the salt on the ground can harm a dog’s paws. In addition, indoor heating may dry out their skin. If you notice your dog’s skin is flakier than usual or particularly dry, consult your veterinarian.

Keeping your dog safe in winter can be very simple; once you have the essentials, it’ll only take a few minutes to make sure your puppy is ready to enjoy the outdoors all year long. The American Veterinary Medical Association has more tips on how to keep your dog safe in winter.

Winter Essentials for Dogs

Firm Duck Canvas Insulated Coat for Dogs by Carhartt

Insulated winter dog coat by Carhart.

Sturdy and simple: this insulated coat is everything your dog needs for an extra layer of warmth. Dog owners love the high quality design and durability. The duck canvas holds in heat exceptionally well, and for dogs in the snow or rain, the water-repellant coating helps keep them dry. The velcro strap also makes it easy to secure.

Love it? Click here to buy now.

Cozy Durable Fleece Dog Bed Blanket by Exceptional Life Products

Cozy dog bed blanket for large, small, and medium dogs.

You need dog accessories that will stand up to multiple washes, and this is just the blanket. Made of durable fleece, it’s machine washable for quick and easy cleaning. The blanket comes in several fun prints to choose from, and at 48 inches by 36 inches, it’s perfect for keeping your small or large dog warm.

To learn more, click here.

Reflective Winter Parka for Dogs by Weatherbeeta

Reflective winter parka for dogs by Weatherbeeta.

In the snow, it’s important that you can see your dog at all times. This parka with reflective strips keeps him warm and visible. Not only will you be able to easily see your dog, but cars and pedestrians will have an easier time spotting him too.

The parka features 220 gram polyfill for extra warmth. Unlike many coats, it offers coverage over your dog’s belly and chest. The best feature? The jacket is waterproof.

To read reviews, click here.

Waterproof Dog Shoes with Adjustable Velcro by Dolebean

Waterproof dog shoes booties for winter in multiple sizes.

Got booties? Keep your dog’s paws dry and clean with these waterproof boots. They stay on easily with velcro strips, and the sturdy soles prevent ice or salt from jamming between the pads of Fido’s paws. You can also choose from four different sizes.

“My dog ran around in the rain for two hours. Her paws were perfectly dry after!” Reviewers rave about these boots. Most reviewers say they stay on comfortably, and many dog owners used these to protect their dogs in all weather. During the summer, the shoes prevent concrete burns. In the winter, they’re the perfect protection from salt and ice.

Ready to buy? Click here.

Waterproof Horse Tough Winter Coat for Dogs by Derby

Horse Tough winter coat for dogs by Derby.

If you need an animal jacket, look to the experts. Derby is well-known for their horse jackets, built for extreme temperatures and durability.

This dog coat was built with the same toughness as an equine blanket. 150 grams of polyfill make it suitable for chilly to freezing temperatures. The waterproof shell keeps the rain away. It comes in several sizes, including sizes designed for very large dogs. You can even use this coat on goats, mini horses, and other animals.

Reviewers note that the coat has a larger neck opening than some, so there’s less protection around your dog’s neck. At the same time, fearful dogs will benefit from a coat that’s much easier to slip over their head.

To see pricing, click here.

PawTection Paw Balm by Natural Dog Company

Paw balm protective barrier for dog paws by Pawtection.

It only takes a little dab of PawTection Paw Balm to create a barrier between Fido’s paws and the harsh chemicals outside. Cover your dog’s paws with this vegan wax to shield against salt, allergens, and harsh elements. This plant-based, vegan wax is fragrance free and contains no harmful chemicals. It’s also safe if ingested.

Dog owners say this product changed their dog’s skin for the better. It not only protected against hot concrete and snow, but many owners say it helped moisturize and heal sore spots too.

Like it? Click here to buy now.

Waterproof & Reversible Dog Coat with Fleece Collar for Small Dogs

Stylish winter coat for dogs with fleece collar.

Who doesn’t love a cute fleece collar? This doggie coat is double-sided and features a cozy fleece collar. It’s also waterproof and washable. Reviewers describe it as lightweight, so consider this as the perfect extra layer in cold, but not freezing, climates.

To read the latest reviews, click here.

Insulated Quilted Winter Jacket for Dogs by Ruffwear

Insulated winter quilted jacket for dogs by Ruffwear.

Dog owners say this jacket is perfect for daily wear and incredibly durable. Made of 120g recycled polyester fill, it’s great for everyday use in cold weather. It buckles from the side for quick release, and the neck and leg holes are roomier than some for hard-to-fit dogs. This cold weather dog jacket is ideal for all types of dogs.

Love it? Click here to buy now.

To Sum It Up…

Our dogs can’t complain about the cold, but that doesn’t mean they don’t feel it. Our furry friends are just as vulnerable to the cold as we are. Luckily, there are countless options to keep them protected this winter. We’ve rounded up a few of the essentials. From insulated jackets to paw-protecting balm, this list covers everything you need for a safe, warm winter with Fido.

Pssst….check out Everything You Need to Know About Dog Collars next!