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How Cold is Too Cold for Dogs? 

Winter can be a harsh season for humans, and it can be just as difficult for pets. Here are some helpful tips to consider to ensure your dog stays safe when the weather gets cold.


Know when cold is too cold

How cold your dog feels outside in winter can depend on their breed, size, thickness of their coat, and other factors. Since every dog is different, be aware of your dog’s behavior and preferences when it comes to colder weather. In general, when the temperature falls below 45 degrees, pay extra attention to your pet’s comfort level and ensure they have the proper gear to stay protected in colder temps. Keep a watchful eye for pet behaviors indicating they are too cold. This includes shaking/shivering, a hunched posture, frequently lifting paws off the ground, attempts to seek shelter, or reluctance to continue outdoor activity.

Protect their paws from snow and rock salt

Paws are sensitive to cold snow and rock salt. Consider shoes, dog booties, or winter boots made for dogs to protect your pet during winter months. If you don’t use paw protection, wipe paws off with a warm, damp cloth and dry with a towel after going outside. If you want to go one step further, use a paw balm for dry winter paws.


Use sweaters or coats to keep their bodies warm

Yes, dogs get cold just like humans do! Which is why it’s important to keep dogs warm in the winter, especially when temps get extremely cold. Dog winter coats, or even a sweater, will ensure your pet’s body stays warm in frigid temperatures. Clothing is extra important if you have an especially small or short-haired dog. Other options to keep your pet warm can include dog winter hats, a dog coat, or dog winter vests.

If gaining excess weight, cut down on daily calorie intake

With decreased outdoor activity, it’s not uncommon for your pet to put on more weight in winter than in summer months. If you notice your pet seems to be gaining weight, it’s best to talk to your vet about cutting down their daily caloric intake. In addition, our feeding calculator can be a helpful tool for calculating your cat or dog’s calorie recommendations when they are less active.  


Avoid exposure to antifreeze

Remember to keep pets out of the garage and off the driveway where they may encounter antifreeze or other harmful chemicals.  Because antifreeze tastes sweet, dogs will readily lick or drink it, but even a small amount can be fatal to your furry companion.  

Keep a watchful eye on senior pets. 

Cold weather is harsh on all pets, but especially senior pets with medical conditions like arthritis. To alleviate stiffness, make sure to keep them moving with an exercise regimen. Adding Instinct Raw Boost Mixers Mobility Support to your senior pet’s routine is a great way to support their movement. These freeze-dried raw toppers contain natural Glucosamine and Chondroitin for healthy hips and joints.  

To keep your dog feeling their best, ensure they maintain a healthy primary diet, like a minimally processed, raw pet food. 

Lastly, be mindful of slippery surfaces that can be dangerous for senior dogs. Dog booties or winter boots for dogs can help decrease the chances of injury. Also, make sure your dog has a warm rest area to recuperate after exercising.   


  Use enrichment toys when it’s too cold to play outside. 

It’s important to keep your dog pet mentally stimulated during months when it’s too cold to play outside. One way to ensure your pet stays engaged while providing the nutrition they need is by using enrichment toys. A food-dispensing, puzzle dog toy filled with Instinct Raw Boost Mixers is a great option. Or keep them busy with a playful Hidden Treat Toy or this Twist Toss— both are perfect for active play.  

By taking these safety tips into consideration, you’ll ensure your pet stays happy and healthy for the holidays.  

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