In an article by Dr. Karen Becker, she suggests these tips for keeping your dog or other pets safe in cold winter weather:
1. Take your pet for a wellness exam. I recommend twice-yearly veterinary exams for all pets, and especially seniors, so making one of those visits in the fall or early winter is a good way to insure your dog, cat, or other companion is in good shape before the cold weather arrives.
2. Have your furnace inspected. It’s a good idea to have your heating unit checked for carbon monoxide leaks before winter sets in. Carbon monoxide is odorless and invisible, but it can cause serious health problems in both people and pets. Since your dog, cat or other animal companion very likely spends much more time at home than you do during the winter months, she’s more vulnerable to carbon monoxide poisoning.
If you use a fireplace or space heater, expect your pet to snuggle up to the warmth. Keep a close watch to insure no part of your pet’s body comes in contact with flames, heating coils or other hot surfaces. Your pet can easily burn herself or knock a heating unit over and put everyone in the house in danger.
3. Keep your pet indoors. I recommend keeping cats inside at all times (unless you have a secure outdoor cat enclosure for use during nice weather, or you take your cat for walks using a harness), but especially during winter. Accompany your dog outdoors when he needs to relieve himself or get some exercise. When you get cold enough to go back inside, chances are your dog is just as cold.
If your dog is a large breed, he’ll be able to tolerate cold temps and snow much better than a smaller dog. Pets with chronic disease, very young and older animals are more vulnerable to the cold than healthy youngsters and adults.