7 Winter Safety Myths about Dogs You Shouldn’t Believe
During the summer months, there’s a lot of talk about the dangers of leaving your dogs out in the summer heat.
However, once winter rolls around, people don’t seem to be as concerned about the temperatures.
Of course, it’s common for people to remind dog owners to bring their pups indoors overnight when the weather drops below freezing. But, other than that, there’s not much to worry about, right?
Sadly, there are a lot of myths about winter weather and dog safety, so today I want to talk about 7 things you simply shouldn’t believe in order to keep your dog safe.
Have you mistakenly believed any of the following myths?
Find out now…
Myth #1 – Fur Protects All Dogs from Cold Weather
All dogs originate from wild dogs. And wild dogs don’t have homes to keep warm in during the winter.
Therefore, all dogs have good enough fur coats to safely stay warm in the winter, right?
The answer is no.
Our dogs’ ancestors were equipped to live in cold-weather climates. And some dogs (such as huskies) are still genetically designed to have fur coats that will keep them warm in harsh climates.
That being said, a large majority of the pet dogs we have now have been bred to have less hair and simply can’t thrive in cold weather anymore.
Some dogs, such as Brittany Spaniels or Chihuahuas, don’t even have a double coat anymore. This puts them at high risk for getting ill or even dying if they are left out in the cold for too long.
If you have a dog that you plan on leaving outside full-time during the winter, you better make sure he is a breed that is designed for cold weather.
Furthermore, even if your dog has the right fur type to live outside in the cold, it’s vital that you provide your pup with a doghouse or some form of shelter he can use to get out of the rain, snow, and wind.
In the wild, a warm den protects wild dogs from freezing to death. Your pup needs the same setup to ensure his safety.
Myth #2 – Dogs Can’t Get Fleas/Ticks in the Winter
A shocking number of people stop using flea and tick meds in the winter to save some money.
After all, it makes sense as most bugs die in the winter, right?
Sadly, this is a very common misconception. In fact, as the temperatures start to drop, bugs often seek refuge in your home to stay warm. And, whether you realize it or not, they can still be lurking around your home, looking for a food source—a.k.a. your dog.
Yes, the likelihood that your dog will get fleas or ticks certainly drops during the winter.
But cold temperatures don’t automatically protect your pet.
To ensure your dog doesn’t end up sick due to ticks and fleas, I recommend you keep an eye on your dog year-round.
If you have reservations about the treatment and want to minimize the usage or save money, then I understand. That’s why I fully recommend you consider using a flea bomb. These bombs will actually kill the flea eggs that are not on your dog and will break the cycle, meaning that you are safe from fleas for longer.
Myth #3 – Dogs Don’t Need Paw Protection for Walks in the Snow
Before we leave the house, we put on shoes. The reason: We need to protect our feet.
However, we don’t often give much thought to our pups’ feet when we take our dogs out of the house because their paws are designed to go barefoot.
For this reason, the idea of putting boots on your dog when it snows might not ever cross your mind.
And, honestly, is it really even necessary?
The answer is yes and no.
Think of it like this…
In the winter, people wear gloves to keep their fingers from getting cold. So if you’re out for a long walk or to play in the snow, you’d put your gloves on to keep your hands warm and safe.
On the flip side, if you’re simply running out for a minute to grab the mail, you probably wouldn’t put gloves on because your hands won’t be exposed to the cold for long.
The same logic applies to dog breeds that aren’t designed to go out in the snow.
If you’re letting your dog out to go pee, it’s probably not necessary for you to protect his feet.
However, if you’re taking your dog on a long walk through the woods and the ground is snowy and cold, doggy boots are important.
While dogs have tough paw pads, some are susceptible to frostbite and should be protected just like you’d wear gloves to protect your fingers.
If your dog spends a lot of time outside in the snow but isn’t built for cold weather, it might be a good idea to invest in a pair of dog booties. You can find them in any pet store!
Myth #4 – It’s Safe for Dogs to Eat Snow
Snow is just solidified rain water, so it’s totally safe for your dog to eat it, right?
The answer to this question really depends on where you live.
If you live in the suburbs or city, it can actually be very dangerous for your dog to eat snow.
The reason: Snow plows and ice trucks often dump dangerous chemicals on the roads to keep them from icing over. These chemicals can then spill over into the snow and make your dog extremely sick if he ingests it.
If you live out in the country where the roads aren’t treated with chemicals, then it’s typically safe for your dog to eat the snow. Just ensure it’s clean snow and there’s no trash hidden in it!
And don’t forget…moderation is key!
In a nutshell…be aware of your surroundings, and use your best judgment. A bowl of clean water is always the best and safest option for your pup.
If your dog really loves eating frozen treats, spoil him with one of these popsicle recipes.
Myth #5 – You Can Leave Your Dog in a Car during the Winter Because It’s Not Hot
Last but not least, a lot of people think it’s okay to leave a dog in a car during the winter months because it’s no longer hot outside.
There are a few flaws in that logic.
First, just because it’s not hot out doesn’t mean that the sun isn’t hot.
All cars are like little mini-greenhouses. As the day goes on, the sun has the power to warm your car up. And depending on the outside temperature, the solar heat in your car can definitely reach temps that aren’t safe for your pup.
Second, it’s possible that it could get too cold in your car—especially on a cloudy day.
If your heat is not running and you leave your dog out in your car for too long, he might get dangerously cold.
Finally, cars aren’t always the safest places for dogs, regardless of the temperature. For example, someone could easily steal your pup from your car, or your dog could get into something that could hurt him when left alone.
If you’re running a quick errand like dropping a check off at the bank, then your pup should be fine in your car. However, if you’re going to be away from your dog for more than 15 minutes or if you are going to be parked in the full sunshine, it’s best to just leave your dog at home.
Myth #6 – Dogs Can Be Left Outdoors As Long As They Are in a Kennel
Leaving your dog outside without protection is bad. But leaving a dog outside in freezing weather with access to a kennel is okay, right?
Well…the answer is sort of yes and no.
There are some thick-coated dogs, such as huskies, that can be left outside as long as they have a place where they can get out of the rain/wind/snow.
However, there are also tons of other breeds—like Chihuahuas or Labs—that just don’t have the right coat types for staying warm in freezing temperatures.
Also, do your research, and talk to your vet before leaving your dog outside overnight—even if you have a kennel.
Myth #7 – Dogs Only Need a Blanket on the Floor to Stay Warm and Comfortable
Yes, there are some dogs that have thick coats and prefer sleeping on hard, cold surfaces such as hardwood floors or tile.
However, many—if not most—dogs would prefer a comfy, cozy dog bed.
First, a thick dog bed can help keep a dog warm and cozy on freezing days.
Second, much like humans, cold weather can cause a dog’s joint pain to flare up or make a dog more stiff. For this reason, it’s nice to give a dog the option to lay somewhere soft and warm up.
Personally, my dogs love cozying up with a warm alpaca blanket.
Take a peek below at where my dogs sleep!
While a blanket is better than nothing, a dog bed is always a nice treat for dogs who want to stay warm and cozy in the winter—especially if you don’t let your dog on the furniture.