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Bored young golden retriever dog under light gray plaid. Pet warms under a blanket in cold winter weather. Pets friendly and care concept.

Freezing temperatures, snow storms, frozen power lines — winter is 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

  1. Stay indoors. Your dog should always stay indoors with you during extreme weather. Limit outdoor trips to quick potty breaks.
  2. 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.
  3. Have 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Wrap a warm blanket around their crate. Insulate your dog’s crate with blankets over top so they have a warm, enclosed area to retreat to and sleep in.
  6. 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.
  7.  Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors save lives. Have both these devices installed and check often to insure that batteries are working.
  8. 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.
  9. Inspect your fireplace. If you have dogs in your home with an active fireplace, have your fireplace and chimney cleaned and inspected before using them. Always have a safety screen in place for pets and children.
  10. 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.

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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.

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Look for resources and warming centers in your area that accept pets. There may be a 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 no matter what time of day.

Related article: Hypothermia in Dogs: How Cold is Too Cold?
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