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Wednesday - January 16, 2019 - 9:04

Staying Warm With Your Service Dog in the Winter

With Winter in full effect, it’s that time of year to start thinking about how to keep your service dog
extra warm during the cold months. Of course, not everyone lives in a cold weather
environment, but even sunny places can get cold enough in the early morning or late at night
for your service dog to need some extra protection. That being said, not every dog is built the same.
Some breeds can handle the cold with little to no extra protection, while others would benefit
from a coat on even a slightly chilly day.

The first thing you’ll need to be aware of is your particular service dog’s needs compared to the place
where you live, or plan on visiting. Breeds like the Husky, Newfoundland, and Saint Bernard are
built for cold weather. Generally, most cold-weather service dogs tend to be bigger because they can
retain heat easier. If you have a small service dog, or one with short fur or hair, odds are they will get
cold much more easily. Just because your service dog does well in cold weather does not mean that
you should leave him or her out in the cold for long periods of time. Even the hardiest of cold-
weather service dogs can get frostbite and injure their paws specifically if they are left out in the cold
alone for a long time.

Many of the most popular breeds are ones that could use a little help during the Winter.
Chihuahuas and Pit Bulls, two breeds that can be found in large numbers all over America,
especially dislike cold weather. In both cases, their fur simply doesn’t insulate them enough. For
breeds like these two, there are two basic things you’ll want to do to keep them safe and
comfortable. First, limit their time outdoors. If you live in a cold environment but have a high
energy service dog like a pit bull, this can be challenging. This is one of the reasons we always
encourage people to consider everything about their lifestyle before picking a service dog that matches
their needs. Of course, for smaller indoor friendly dogs, this might not mean much of a change
to their routine at all.

Every service dog needs to go out sometimes though, and for that reason it is imperative that you
invest in some cold-weather clothing for your furry friend. There are a number of great cold-
weather coats for dogs to choose from, and after a little research you should be able to find the
right one for your pet. Two things that are not recommended is covering their head and paws.
If it’s so cold outside that your service dog can’t be out, even for a few moments, without his head and
paws covered it’s probably too cold for you to bring him out at all! When you do come back
inside with your pet, make sure to wipe down the ears and paws – getting the cold off of these
areas will help warm up your friend a lot faster.

One final important note is to make sure your home is cold-proof, but also pet-proof. Having a
lot of electric space heaters and blankets near each other with a dog around is not a good idea.
Keep them away from heated blankets too. Although this seems like it’s a good idea, they can
easily burn themselves. With these tips in mind you should be able to get through even the
toughest winter intact, and ready for Spring!

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Service Dog Registration of America is not a governmental agency and is not affiliated with or endorsed by a governmental agency.
Registration of a service animal with Service Dog Registration of America does not give you any additional legal rights.