6 Ways to Keep Your Dog Safe in the Winter in Chicago, IL

dog safe in winter

As the weather begins to turn colder, you may find yourself wondering what you can do to help keep your dog safe in the winter. Winter safety is important for you and your pet alike, so brushing up on canine winter safety tips can help you protect your furry friend.

Below, you’ll find a quick list of some of the best tips for keeping your dog safe in winter. Read through this list and see for yourself just how many methods you can use when taking care of your pet in the cold.


Dressing your dog in clothing before going outdoors in the cold can help cut down on risks associated with winter weather. Dogs with short or medium coats particularly need to be dressed in a jacket or sweater when going out in the cold, and hairless dogs need thick layers of clothing to keep them warm.

If your dog has long hair or a thick coat, you may be able to skip this step. Otherwise, however, it’s a good idea to go shopping for some canine clothing for your pet.

6 Ways to Keep Your Dog Safe in Winter in Chicago, IL


Booties for dogs come in a wide variety of materials, colors, and styles. They are designed to be attached with Velcro around the base of your dog’s leg and cover her foot entirely. Booties can be used to keep your dog’s feet dry and warm in the cold, and they can cut down on the risk of frostbite, too.

If your dog is not interested in wearing booties, you may be able to convince her to give it a try by providing plenty of treats and working slowly with your bootie training.

Stay Dry

Risks of frostbite and hypothermia increase significantly in dogs who get wet while they’re outside in the cold. If your local winters are very slushy or soggy, your dog is likely to get wet walking in snow, ice, or freezing rain. Use a canine raincoat or an umbrella that is big enough for both of you when taking your walks.

Additionally, try not to take very long walks during heavy rain or snow events. Dry off your dog’s feet and belly thoroughly as soon as you come inside to reduce the risk of frostbite on her paw pads or stomach.

Stay Inside in Very Cold Temperatures

When the weather drops below zero degrees Fahrenheit, stay inside! Your dog will likely still need to go outside to potty, but she (and you) should come right back in afterward. Never take lengthy walks in subzero temperatures.

Additionally, when the temperature drops below the freezing mark, keep your walks shorter than you might on a nice day. You don’t have to skip the walk entirely on these days, but make sure to dress yourself and your dog appropriately and go back inside before either of you gets too cold. The less time you spend outside in very cold temperatures, the better off you both will be!

Dog Safe in Winter in Chicago, IL

Clean Off Road Salt

Dogs who walk on sidewalks or along roads are prone to stepping in road salt, especially in areas where roads are frequently salted due to snow or ice. This type of road salt can be irritating to your dog’s paw pads and skin, so it is important to remove it from your pet’s feet as soon as you get back inside.

Don’t neglect the space between your dog’s toes when cleaning her feet. Road salt may become wedged into this space and can contribute to hot spots and other skin conditions if it is left unmanaged for too long.

Check for Frostbite

Every time you come indoors from walking your pet, check her for signs of frostbite. Early signs of frostbite include cold, brittle skin and pain when touched. Continue checking her throughout the winter for graying or blackening of the skin, which be signs of much more serious frostbite.

If you think your pet might be dealing with frostbite, take her to the emergency vet as quickly as possible. This way, she will not be at risk of losing some of her skin tissue and will be much more likely to make a full recovery from the condition.


Based on this information, you can see just how simple it truly can be to take care of your dog during the winter months. By following the tips outlined above, you can prepare for winter and ensure that your dog stays healthy and happy all year long as well.

If you have any further questions or concerns about your pet’s winter health needs, talk to your vet for more information. And of course, if you suspect your dog may be dealing with symptoms of frostbite or hypothermia, don’t wait—go to the emergency vet right away to receive the proper treatment for your pet.

If you have any questions regarding how to keep your dog safe in the winter, please reach out to us at (312) 319-8004. Here at Partners Animal Hospital South Loop we are ready to help your and your pet with whatever you may need!

About Us

The human-animal bond is one of the most unique and meaningful aspects of life. At Partners Animal Hospital in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood, our veterinary team aims to uphold that bond by providing the quality treatments, services, and products your animal companion deserves. With routine wellness exams, vaccinations, oral exams, diagnostics, nutritional guidance, and more, we can help to promote good health and longevity in your pet, so they can spend more healthy, carefree years with you and your family.