Pamela writes on a diverse array of topics including health, how-to, and animal care and safety.
How to Keep Outside Dogs Warm in Winter
Even in the winter, your dogs need to get out and get exercise. However, dogs are susceptible to frostbite just like humans. Depending on the temperature, do not leave your dog out for an extended period of time. A doggy door is always a good idea, so your pet can come in when he needs to get warm or wants to sleep. If you don't have a doggy door, monitor the time they are out.
If your dog is healthy a half an hour or so might be an appropriate amount of time. Never, never leave your dog out in the cold all day or all night! This is animal abuse! And a neighbor may decide to report you to animal control. Your dog is a member of your family. Treat him like one.
What to Wear? What to Wear?
When taking your dog out for a walk, there are a few things to consider. What type of dog do you have? Does he have long hair or short hair? Is he a puppy or an older dog? Protective clothing is appropriate to prevent discomfort when going for a walk. A coat and even boots may be appropriate to protect them from the weather. Boots also protect their feet from salt and chemicals that are put down to melt snow.
How to Heat a Dog House
There are many ways to heat a dog house. A heated dog house is a great way to keep your dogs warm in cold weather. Fortunately, most dog owners realize the necessity of assuring their dogs are warm and safe in winter. However, every year, many dogs freeze to death or suffer from exposure to the elements. If you do a little research, you will find a method you are comfortable with that meets your budget.
One winter, I saw a tiny ball of fur on a lawn tied to the railing of the front porch. It was lying down and all balled up, trying to keep warm. It took all my strength not to get out of my car and take that puppy home.
Many dogs enjoy the snow and the cold weather, but there are precautions we need to take just to ensure they don't get frostbite or suffer from hypothermia when the temperature really drops. There are many things we can do to help, from using extra clothing, to placing a heating pad in the doghouse.
Build or Purchase a Dog House
Make sure that the dog house is large enough to accommodate the dog. If you live in an area subject to snow or flooding, make sure that the dog house is on stilts or off the ground.
For extra protection against the wind and cold, make sure the dog house is up against a flat surface, such as the house or a tree. When building or buying the house, take into consideration room for heaters and other insulating materials.
To make sure your dog can stay warm when outside, make sure they have a warm, comfortable place to lay down. A remnant of warm carpet or a thick blanket in the dog house will allow them to cuddle up. Seal any crack or openings in the dog house that will allow the elements to come in.
- Doggy Heating Pad: Your dog will especially love you for getting him a doggy heating pad. They are great to use for your dog if he prefers to be outside or if he stays in the garage or basement. Doggy heating pads are chew- and water-resistant and safe to use indoors and out.
- Dog House Heater: Hound Heaters are safe and efficient in maintaining a comfortable heating environment for your pet. It has a 100,000 cycle life thermostat designed to maintain a consistent, safe temperature. They cost about $100 and can be purchased in pet stores or online.
In-Home Doggy Door
- Make a doggy door: If you do not use a dog shelter, a doggy door is convenient and very inexpensive to install. This way, your pet can come into the house to warm up whenever he wants to. Make sure the door is large enough for the dog to easily go in and out and that the flap is tight enough to keep cold air out and the heat in your home.
Tack onto the dog house strips of thick plastic, tarp, or heavy fabric that will allow your dog to go in and out and act as a buffer against the cold. You can also put a doggie door in the dog's dwelling that will close behind him—this will help to keep the cold out and the heat in.
When your dog comes in from the snow or the rain, it is a good idea to take a towel and dry them off. It is also important to make sure they have a warm place to stay while they are drying off. Also, check the paws to make sure they have no signs of frostbite.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2010 Pamela Lipscomb
Pamela Lipscomb (author) from Charlotte, North Carolina on May 31, 2020:
Julie, if your dog has extreme anxiety, please have a vet treat her anxiety. There are both prescription and natural homeopathic treatments for this.
Julie on October 13, 2018:
I see a lot about just bringing them in. I have three dogs two are indoor dogs and one prefers outside. My outside pup has extremely bad anxiety and has broken her teeth trying to get out of a indoor enclosure. We build a outdoor large dog kennel and she loves it. She has some relief from the anxiety. She is medicated for it but this way she can fully relax. I got her as an adult so don’t know her past. This is the first winter with her and I can use all the tips possible. Just because my dog is outside when I leave the house doesn’t mean she isn’t my family. I would love to have her in but that’s not what she wants so I make outside as comfortable as I possibly can and bring her in whenever I am there.
marietta on December 31, 2017:
new law dogs cant be left outside for more than 2 hours at a time .......and its a family if you dont @$%*!( get one ...simple
Abdigani on January 19, 2017:
i am asking you the insulation materials and electricity source that they use to heat the dog house during the winter time, and answer the question using scientist vocabulary
Pamela Lipscomb (author) from Charlotte, North Carolina on September 14, 2010:
Aley, I don't understand it either. Are pets are to be cared for and protected at all costs.
Alice Lee Martin from Sumner, Washington,USA on September 14, 2010:
Nice hub. I never understood why people leave their pets outside in inclement weather. My dogs are inside animals, but go out to "play" and of course to relieve themselves...they are my children!
Pamela Lipscomb (author) from Charlotte, North Carolina on April 08, 2010:
Yes, don't you know dogs are people too! : )
glassvisage from Northern California on April 06, 2010:
That is a beautiful doghouse. I love this Hub... great tips! A doggy heating pad! How caring! :)