Search Menu
Belgian Malinois lying on owner's bed under the blanket.
Eudyptula /

Winter weather can be unpredictable. If you lose power this winter, what is the best way to make sure your dog stays warm and healthy?

How to Keep Your Dog Warm

Stay Indoors

Your dog should always stay indoors with you during extreme weather. Limit outdoor trips to quick potty breaks.

Gate Off Colder Rooms

Try to close off any rooms that don’t need to be used and minimize the areas of the house you use to keep heat entrapped.

In Partnership with logo
Find Your Perfect Home white dog paw print
*Dog friendly rental filter applied to results
pet-friendly hotels close up view of cute little yorkshire terrier lying on bed covered with blanket

Keep Dog Coats, Sweaters, and Booties on Hand

If you lose power or have to take your dog on walks in extreme temperatures, it is good to have extra layers on hand to help keep your dog warm. Buy dog booties and a winter coat ahead of time.

Put Out Extra Bedding

Give your dog plenty of blankets and layers to curl up in. Dogs will use their own body heat to warm the bedding, keeping the area warmer.

Wrap a Warm Blanket Around Your Dog’s Crate

Insulate your dog’s crate with blankets over the top so they have a warm, enclosed area to retreat to and sleep in.

Provide Plenty of Food and Water

Colder weather means more calories will be burned to keep warm. Make sure your dog has access to plenty of food and extra water. If possible, you may want to warm up their water over the stove.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors Save Lives

Have both these devices installed and check often to ensure that the batteries are working.

Install Weather Stripping and Insulation Where Possible

Foam board insulation in between the interior and exterior wall holds up better and helps with noise reduction.

Inspect Your Fireplace

Does your home have an active fireplace? If so, have your fireplace and chimney cleaned and inspected before using them. Always have a safety screen in place for pets and children.

Preserve Your Energy

But if boredom strikes, keep indoor activities fun with these ideas. Toys and interactive games give your dog a fun way to get both mental and physical exercise.

Golden retriever dog puppy playing with toy while lying on den
©photology1971 -
When to Get Help for Cold Dogs

If you notice any dramatic changes in your dog’s behavior or appearance, contact your veterinarian immediately. Know the signs of frostbite in dogs and the signs of hypothermia in dogs.

Look for resources and warming centers in your area that accept pets. There may be an AKC Reunite Pet Disaster Relief Trailer in your area. Call local pet-friendly hotels and see if they have power.

When in doubt about your pet’s health or safety, contact your veterinarian. Not sure whether or not your dog’s symptoms warrant a trip to the vet? AKC Vetline can help. This live, 24/7 service is staffed by licensed veterinary staff to give you answers.

This article is intended solely as general guidance, and does not constitute health or other professional advice. Individual situations and applicable laws vary by jurisdiction, and you are encouraged to obtain appropriate advice from qualified professionals in the applicable jurisdictions. We make no representations or warranties concerning any course of action taken by any person following or otherwise using the information offered or provided in this article, including any such information associated with and provided in connection with third-party products, and we will not be liable for any direct, indirect, consequential, special, exemplary or other damages that may result, including but not limited to economic loss, injury, illness or death.

Related article: Hypothermia in Dogs: How Cold Is Too Cold?
Get Your Free AKC eBook

Emergency First Aid for Dogs

Even the most responsible pet owner can't always protect their pet from a sudden accident or illness. Getting your pet immediate medical attention can be the difference between life and death. Download this e-book to learn more about what to do in an emergency situation.
*Turn off pop-up blocker to download
*Turn off pop-up blocker to download