top of page

Essential Winter Tips Every Dog Owner Should Know

Winters in New England are special. There’s so many great winter activities, but there are also many challenges we face every year, especially as dog owners. We need to make sure our four-legged family members are warm and comfortable in the freezing temperatures.

So to help out as many people and dogs as we can, here are some of our favorite tips for surviving and thriving during the winter months.

Table of Contents

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means we may get a commission of any products purchased through these links, at no cost to you.


Keeping Warm!

Keeping warm is the first thing to worry about. Some dogs are specifically bred to live in the worst winter conditions, such as huskies, Samoyeds, malamutes, and similar breeds. In fact, if you were really determined, you could turn a Samoyed's fur into yarn to knit your own cozy socks! If not, cuddling your fluffy dog will also work just as well.

If you don’t own a dog specifically bred for the winter, more attention needs to be given to their warmth and comfort. Short-haired dogs have a higher risk of frostbite and hypothermia, but the risk is still present for most dogs.

Don’t Spend Too Long Outside

Even though dogs have fur, they can still suffer from frostbite. This is especially true around more exposed areas such as their ears and the tip of their tails. Frostbite can occur whenever temperatures are below freezing, but the risk is higher the colder it is. When the cold is extreme, make potty trips outside quickly and only when needed.

For dogs that don’t like the snow, a tried-and-true method is to shovel a path through your yard enough to reveal grass or dirt - whatever your dog is used to using. This will make them feel as comfortable as possible. For dogs that absolutely refuse to relieve themselves outside in the cold, pee pads may be the best solution. This is not recommended for puppies, as it can just reinforce bad habits and delay the potty training process. You should instead focus on desensitizing them to the snow. If not, refusal to go outside may be a lifelong issue.


Bundle Up

We highly recommend investing in appropriate winter gear for your pup. That means a winter coat, a sweater, and maybe even a hat. If you’re looking for recommendations, here are a few examples below! Breeds like labs, poodles, greyhounds, and even fluffier ones like corgis, are not bred to survive the intense winter conditions that we experience in New England. Their fur coats are comparable to a light hoodie, perfect for the fall and spring. But more layers are needed for the colder months.

Consider these products:


Essential Paw Protection

Paw protection is especially important when there is ice and salt on the ground, which can damage paw pads. Be sure to clean your dog’s feet after every trip outside. Your dog may become ill if he licks salt off their paws. If your dog has fuzzy feet, consider trimming the fur. Ice balls can form between the pads and toes.

Dog boots and paw ointment are also great solutions for paw protection in the winter. It’s no different than a person wearing gloves and applying lotion. You will likely need to train your dog to wear boots before they become a regular part of your winter routine. This is a process that may take some dogs longer than others, especially if they are not fans of having their paws touched.

To train your dog to wear boots, you may need to first desensitize their paws and then slowly introduce the boots. If they are ok with that, then let your dog sniff the boots and place them next to the food bowl at meal time to create positive associations. Reward your dog with a treat for positive interactions before the boots go on their feet. Then put on one boot and reward them with a treat if they walk around. Then take it off. Repeat this process a few times, slowly adding another boot until all four are on. Remember to be patient and don’t rush the process.

Consider these products: