When the temperature drops below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s best to keep all animals indoors except when exercising or relieving themselves. “Outdoor” dogs should have a dry, comfortable, draft-free doghouse large enough to allow the dog to sit and lie down, but small enough to hold in his body heat. The floor should be raised a few inches off the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. Pet stores carry safe heated floor mats and non-electric warm bedding. The doorway should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic. Most healthy medium or large dogs can walk for 30-minutes if the temperature is above 20 degrees F. Smaller dogs should limit the walk to 15 or 20 minutes if temps are between 20 to 32 degrees F. If it’s below 0 degrees, no dog should be out for a walk.
Pets require more calories in lower temperatures because exercise is more strenuous and higher fuel intake helps your pet to maintain body temperature. Feed them a little more than normal during winter months.
Pets must have fresh water at all times. Keep them well hydrated, the increase of heat in the home during the winter months can dehydrate them quicker than normal. For outside pets, check the water bowl regularly to ensure it’s full and unfrozen. Use a tip-proof bowl to keep Fido’s paws from freezing. And never use a metal water bowl— the tongue will stick to wet metal, and injury will result.
Use an old towel to wipe off paws when your dog comes inside to prevent frostbite.
If your dog’s paws come in contact with salt and de-icing chemicals during a walk, rinse the feet off and dry thoroughly once you’re back inside. Make sure to keep anti-freeze away from animals and clean up any spills that may occur when filling your radiator.