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It’s such a rewarding thing to see your dog’s first time in the snow. Some dogs are better able to play outdoors in the winter weather, though. Here are some winter safety tips for safely playing in the snow so that they can enjoy this season.

Some dog breeds have thinner coats that don’t really protect them in cooler weather. But other dogs are especially well suited for cold weather due to their thicker hair. Always use your best judgment when considering winter exposure. It is important to take in consideration your dog’s hair thickness and also her age. Just like with people, young puppies and older dogs are more sensitive to the cold.

A general guideline is that if you’re freezing in your winter coat, it’s probably too cold for your dog. Keep reading for more cold weather dog tips.


1. Build up time in the cold

Begin with small amounts of time outside in the cold and increase the amount of time slowly. “The key is acclimation. If they seem fine and aren’t shivering or trying to get in, it’s perfectly fine for them to stay outside for longer periods as long as they’re building up to it,” advises Dr. RuthAnn Lobos, veterinarian and Purina’s Senior Manager of Training.

dog, snow, race

2. Make bathroom breaks easy

If possible make sure that an area of the yard is clear so your pup can get to it straight away. Take a look at your yard and see if there is a more sheltered area for your dog to utilize during the cold weather. You can give a treat to encourage more good behavior and avoid indoor accidents.

3. Look out for foreign substances

Winter weather means that homeowners will be using chemicals to defrost their yards. Irritated paws and stomach can be the result of your dog eating rock salt (which isn’t toxic). Be on the lookout for blue and/or green splotches on the ground and keep your pooch away from those spots. It’s also a good idea to quickly wipe your dog’s paws clean before they come back in the house. This has an added benefit of warming up their paws.

Turn the page for tips 4 & 5!


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