Cold Weather Dog Hacks

Depositphotos_31754511_sOh My Gosh…. It has been several degrees below and the wind chill has been unbearable.

And, unfortunately I just read a story where someone found a chow mix dog in Michigan frozen to the ground.

How horrifying is that?

Often humanity shames me to no end.  If only we could be just 2% more like our loving counterparts the world would be a much better place.

Now, I want to Get This Out of the Way

Just because it is cold doesn’t mean your dog cannot go outside to go potty.

I have had puppies in spring, I have had puppies in summer, and unfortunately I have had puppies in winter.

I have taken puppies out when it was 100+ degrees, I have taken puppies out during torrential rains, I have even taken puppies out during lightning storms (to each his own here), and I have taken puppies outside when the wind chill was 40 below.

When you need to pee and poop, you need to pee and poop; and I don’t allow that to happen in the house…. unless there is a tornado, earthquake or other act of God we are going outside to go potty.

And, I say WE because until my dogs are reliably potty trained I go outside with them; and in inclement weather if there is no shelter I will hold the umbrella or at least monitor so we can go immediately inside after the act is complete.

Now that we have tackled that, let’s move on to the rest!

If You Have a Little Dog Who Doesn’t Want to Go Outside in the snow


If you have a little dog that doesn’t want to go outside to potty, dig him a path.

OR!!!!  And I love this one

Put down a tarp before it snows and after (provided it hasn’t snowed a ton and it is not frozen to the ground) just peel the tarp back to reveal your regular grass for your smaller dog to use.

Bring Your Pet Inside

If you are cold, they are cold; bring them inside especially in the extreme cold (the same goes for extreme heat).


First let me say I don’t agree without “outdoor dogs” but if you are one of the many that does; provide them with bedding.  A bail of straw is cheap, it helps keep in the heat, and it is easy to clean up if you have outdoor kennels.

You can also buy heated beds and heaters now that are safe to leave outside.  But the truth is they deserve to come inside when the weather is dangerous.

Frozen Water

Your dog’s water has frozen overnight and you want to refill it and have it last a little longer.


You might think that hot water will take longer to freeze, but you are mistaken.  Hot water actually freezes faster.

If you want the water to last longer use basic cold tap water for your dog.

Collie dogs in snowExercise

You want to exercise your dog but your yard is filled with several feet of snow.


You might think that jumping from snow pile to snow pile is good exercise for your dog, and basic snow play is safe.  But having to leap in and out of the snow just to walk can cause him to rupture his cruciate ligament in his knee.

Having worked in a vet clinic in CO after a very large snow storm we had over a half dozen dogs rip their ACL in the storm just trying to get around.

Imagine being stuck in snow up to your waist, hopping to get around might hurt you, your back, your joints and your ligaments.

Dig a path for your dog so that he can walk normally and monitory his crazy snow play if you need to!

If you take him for a walk, stick to streets that have already been cleared.  Or play some indoor doggy games.  For more on that click here 


Your dog will benefit from another layer of warmth just like you do!  Sure they make coats and booties for your dog, but sometimes you are knee deep in a storm and you either can’t find or can’t get to a store to buy your dog a coat.


If you have children’s clothes they will probably more easily fit your dog.

But, your T-shirt can be tied around his waist and the sleeves rolled up in a pinch.

Also, children’s socks which are then covered with some plastic wrap can help keep his feet warm.  Just be sure not to leave them on for long and I might also recommend that either you walk him on a leash or keep an eye on him so that he doesn’t slip and hurt himself.

What Are Your Winter Dog Hacks?

Please write in and share!!

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  1. Great post, I especially like the one about putting the tarp down for small dogs, with the winter we’ve had here in Canada, little dogs could easily disappear in the deep snow..I can’t imagine that would be any fun for the little cuties..


  2. Tricia says:

    Great article as usual! I live in areas where I get around 10-12 inches of snow for about 2 months solid and taking out my maltipoo Stu (who has 6 inch legs) becomes a problem. He always cones in with clumps and tiny balls of snow stuck to his fur and I thought how genius the tarp idea was! I do make him sweaters to keep him warm along with little booties. The cold water instead of hot was also genius!!! I had no clue…


    Minette Reply:

    😉 glad to help!


  3. Theresa says:

    I recently moved from Florida to Michigan. I am having a hard time finding appropriate footwear for my 13 year old dog. He is Pomeranian and Miniature American Eskimo. Nothing will stay on his little feet. Everything keeps slipping off. Do you have any other suggestions ???


  4. margaret c. says:

    we have a wooden deck outside the side door where we let the dogs out. it gets extremely slippery when it rains and snows. i’ve put some heavy duty rubber mats out, arranged in a path for the dogs and humans to walk on.


  5. lindsay sliva says:

    what are the laws for leaving dogs outside? i live in illinois where it gets very cold on winter and i hate to see dogs outside suffering but i dont know the rules. can you please help so i can help the dogs i love around me. thanks


    Minette Reply:

    You will have to look up your state or county laws.


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