How to keep dogs warm outside: 10 Tips For Cold Weather

cold golden retriever

It’s so important that you know how to keep dogs warm outside during cold weather conditions. I have witnessed dogs fall victim to hyperthermia due to bad preparation too many times.

4 Years ago my dog suffered severely due to a lack of my knowledge, causing her to end up being diagnosed with hypothermia. Since then, it has been my mission to educate parents about how to prepare for cold weathers with dogs.

By reading this you can arm yourself with the knowledge you need to get through any type of weather conditions that you and your dog may face in the future.

How to keep dogs warm outside

Through all the ups and downs of owning a 2-year-old golden retriever has brought me experience. Some have been better than others but whilst they are not all good, they have all been lessons in some way. I plan to share everything I have learned over the years in dealing with cold weather and dogs. From dog sweaters to the best outdoor houses, I’ll be sharing it all!

Each of the tips I have listed out below will also cater well to puppies. Although, the general idea is that you should be keeping a puppy indoors until they are old enough to stay outdoors. Whether you’re a veteran with handle dogs or a newbie to the dog world, there will be something in this post for you to learn.

1. Get familiar with your breed

hugging a dog

Depending on what type of breed you have, will depend on how suitable your puppy will be for cold weather. It is important for you to understand exactly how suitable the weather is for your specific breed of dog.

Some dogs have a lot thicker fur which will allow them to sustain lower temperatures in the winter. Where are some other dogs have a thinner coat of fur which may not be as good in the cold period?

This will then give you a clear indication, as to whether you can leave your dog outside or if you have to bring them into the house. A quick rule of thumb is to simply look back on whether your dog originated from a cold part of the world.

If so give you a general guideline as to how suited they will be outside during cold weather.

2. Use Winter Blankets

Having a winter blanket is almost mandatory during the winter period for your dog. Even for dogs that can sustain the cold, it is highly recommended that you still use a winter blanket.

These blankets can range from soft winter blankets to hay, old sacks or wool blankets. Or it could even be an old sweater that you just thinking of throwing away. There is a range of different winter blankets that you can find which will provide different levels of heat during this period of the year.

3. Get yourself an elevated Dog bed

elevated dog bed

The ground during the winter tends to draw out all of the heat from wherever is above it. So a great way of avoiding this happening whilst your dog is lying inside of the house outside. Is to simply elevate them off of the ground away from the cold areas.

Consider outside dog beds for winter periods. Depending on your budget, it will be down to you, on what route you will go down to achieve this. I personally recommend going out and buying an outdoor elevated dog bed that is suited for most weather conditions.

Or you could simply do it yourself. And just use a wooden pallet or anything quite similar.  Simply layer it on top with lots of warm blankets and any old sweaters that you may want to throw away.

Wherever you decide to choose, I’m sure that both will work just as fine in assisting your dog to stay warm. Knowing How to keep dogs warm outside during winter can be as easy or as hard as you make it. Just make sure to keep yourself well equipped with the knowledge and tools needed to keep your dog warm in cold weather.

4. Doggy Sweaters

dog sweaters

Just like us, some dogs will hate them, and some dogs will love them.  Even if you have tried it in the past and your dog didn’t like it. It’s still worth giving it another go.

Dogs change and adapt to different environments over time. However, if you notice that weather conditions are becoming extreme, its time to take action. A warm dog sweater is the first step in the right direction.

It’s worth taking a look online to see if you can find any suitable sweaters for your size dog. Check out the best selling dog sweater on Amazon just below.

5. Use a heated Dog Blanket

dog heated blanket

It’s kind of funny how I’m outside most of the time just making sure that my dog is wrapped up at night. 

I can tend to bring her in from time to time but I’m a dry if the time she’ll stay in the dog kennel outside. But I will always make sure that she is nice and warm and wrapped up. 

Again you could simply do this with a few normal or heated dog blankets, a sweater, or any old type of wool that you think will be suitable to use.

Whatever it is you decide to do, Just make sure to ensure that it will keep them warm.

6. Provide the appropriate shelter

dog house

Young puppies are definitely not allowed to be left outside. As they do not have the same capabilities as an older dog to sustain the cold weather. If you decide to go down the route of having an outdoor shelter. You should make sure to layer it with straw, an old crate, or lots of blankets on the ground. 

Any outdoor shelter should have a sloped roof, insulating and heating and an entranceway that is protected from the rain.

An easy way to determine whether the shelter is suitable for your dog. Is to simply ask yourself the question of whether it is suitable for you. I was surprised at how reasonably priced dog houses were on Amazon when I checked.

So there is no reason why you shouldn’t have one if you have the space to put it in the yard.

7. Use additional heating on cold nights

As you may know, some nights are going to be colder than others. So it is important to identify when you’re experiencing an extra cold night and provide additional heating for your pet.

You can consider using a heated dog blanket, heated dog bed or even a hot water bottle. Not be sure that if you choose the option of using a hot water bottle, that you make sure it’s only warm and not hot.

8. Get your dog a pair of Booties

dog booties

Throughout the winter period, you can expect to find a lot of snow and salt outside. A great way of avoiding the irritation to your Dog’s Paws is to simply get yourself a pair of booties.

Although, unless you have to train your dog to wear booties from young, then it can be quite a fight to get these onto your older pups. If you find that your dog is having difficulty wearing booties.

You can gradually train them to use them by simply applying one to each foot for a short while and then taking it back off. Repeat the process daily to increase the chance of success.

Getting your dog in some booties is a cute and fashionable way to keep them warm during cold weathers. There are many different styles to suit all types of dogs that you can find on online.

9. Indoors is always a good option

dog inside the house

If at any point you notice that it is exceptionally cold outside. Then you should make a decision to bring your dog inside into the warm house.

Remember the more layers of insulation that you provide inside of the Dog Kennel. The more you will ensure that your dog stays warm inside of the Kennel.

Consider throwing an old blanket or cover over the actual top of the Kennel to provide some more insulation. Just use your creativity and I’m sure you’ll figure something out.

Always remember one thing and that is the fact that if it is not suitable for you then it’s probably not suitable for them.

10. Keep your dog groomed

No one of the main reasons you would want to keep your dog well-groomed through in winter. Is purely based on the fact that when they have a lot of hair in between the toes it can collect snow and retain it over a longer period of time.

If you ensure that the hair is nice and sure it will increase the chances of it falling off when their mobile. Something as simple as also wiping your Dog’s Paws dry before bringing them inside can make such a huge difference.


The most important thing to remember during the winter season.  Simply put yourself in the situation of your dog and think if it is suitable for yourself then it will be suitable for them.

If you somehow get a different answer from that then you know that you’re on the wrong track. There are many different ways that you can improve the heating if you leave your dog outside during cold weather.

Related Post: Best breeder fo a Corgi mix Bred dog

Rachael Summers

Rachael Summers is the Founder and Senior Editor at Retrievers R Us. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! She loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!

Recent Content