Winter Pet Safety: How cold is too cold for my dog?

February 15, 2013 11:00:19 AM PST
Chicago winters can have harsh effects on the health of humans and their pets.

John Dillon, the Director from PAWS Animal Shelter shares some tips and reminders to help protect man's best friend from the cold.

  • Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm. Dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears ID tags.
  • Puppies don't tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs, and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter. So you may opt to paper-train him inside using these newspapers or training pads. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed, take him outdoors only to relieve himself.
  • Like us, even dogs feel less thirsty in winter. And that's more so because the water in their drinking bowl can turn too cold for them to enjoy. Replenish the old water with fresh, room-temperature water every 2-3 hours.
  • Never leave your dog alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
  • Antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.
  • Letting your dog sleep on a cold floor can make her sick. Use old blankets and pillows or purchase a pet bed. Place the bedding in a warm spot - preferably carpeted and away from the drafts, where he sleeps everyday so that he doesn't feel unfamiliar.
  • If you have a dog that runs around a lot, make sure you do away with room heaters, lamps or any other heating source. The dog might get too close and get burned.

For more information about proper pet care and dog adoptions visit