German Shepherd Dog Club of Rochester, NY, Inc.






A dog’s need for food, shelter and loving care increases during the cold winter months. Keep your dog safe and warm by following these guidelines.

• Don’t leave your dog outside in the cold for long periods of time. Wind chill makes days colder than actual temperature readings. Be attentive to your dog’s body
temperature, and limit its time outdoors.

• Adequate shelter is a necessity. Keep your dog warm, dry and away from drafts. Tiles and uncarpeted areas may become extremely cold, so make sure to place
blankets and pads on floors in these areas.

• Be extra careful when walking or playing with your dog near frozen lakes, rivers or ponds. Your dog could slip or jump in and get seriously injured.

• Groom your dog regularly. Your dog needs a well-groomed coat to keep properly insulated. Short- or coarse-haired dogs may get extra cold, so consider a sweater
or coat. Long-haired dogs should have excess hair around the toes and foot pads trimmed to ease snow removal and cleaning. If you do the trimming, take care not to cut the pads or other delicate areas of the foot.

• Feed your dog additional calories if it spends a lot of time outdoors or is a working animal. It takes more energy in the winter to keep body temperature regulated, so additional calories are necessary.

• Towel or blow-dry your dog if it gets wet from rain or snow. It is important to dry and clean its paws, too. This helps avoid tiny cuts and cracked pads. A little petroleum jelly may soften the pads and prevent further cracking.

• Don’t leave your dog alone in a car. If the car engine is left on, the carbon monoxide could endanger your dog’s life. If the engine is off, the temperature in the car
could get too cold.

• Antifreeze, which often collects on driveways and roadways, is highly poisonous.  Although it smells and tastes good to your dog, it can be lethal.

• Rock salt, used to melt ice on sidewalks and roads, may irritate footpads. Be sure to rinse and dry your dog’s feet after a walk.

• Provide plenty of fresh water at all times.  Your dog is just as likely to get dehydrated in the winter as in the summer. Snow is not a satisfactory substitute for water.

• To prevent hypothermia and frostbite on your dog’s ears, tail and feet, don’t leave your dog outdoors for too long.

• Be very careful of supplemental heat sources. Fireplaces and portable heaters can severely burn your dog. Make sure all fireplaces have screens, and keep portable heaters out of reach.

• Like people, dogs seem to be more susceptible to illness in the winter. Take your dog to a veterinarian if you notice any signs of illness.

You can find this information and more at