5 Winter Dangers for Dogs

Posted on Mar 5 2015 - 9:00am by Susan Bewley


5 Winter Dangers for DOgs
Is there one thing your dog looks forward to during the day? For Reya, nothing is better than ‘walkie time’. The moment she sees us pick up the leash she does hops and is so excited we almost have to wrestle her to hook her leash. While we know she loves going outside it can be unnerving to pet parents like us since there are so many dangers during the winter. Not only do we have to worry about the cold itself, but chemicals used in cars and thawing the ice itself! Knowing that winter can be concerning for us all of us, we included 5 of the biggest winter dangers for dogs and cats.


  1. Beware of Salt & Chemicals to Thaw Ice – I know I have stressed this in other articles, but please be careful of salt and chemicals used for melting ice. While they may not seem like anything to us humans, they can cause burns and skin abrasions. When licked, it can also cause tummy issues. To avoid these issues, clean your dogs paws well, or better yet, have booties!
  2. Antifreeze or Ethylene Glycol Poisoning – If I had to pick the most dangerous thing outdoor to our furry friends, it’s antifreeze. Many people change their antifreeze during the winter and some unintentionally spills (or worse, people just dump it). This very toxic poison smells and tastes sweet to pets. The main ingredients in antifreeze, or Ethylene Glycol, is extremely toxic and is one of the leading causes of accidental illness and death of pets every year. In a short period of time, pets can suffer from severe nervous system and kidney damage, which even with vet assistance, sometimes can still lead to a horrible death. To be safe, keep your dog away from parked cars or anything that looks ‘odd’ on the ground, just to make sure! As well, avoid having your dog eat snow near these areas.
  3. Frostbite – If your furry loved ones are anything like my Reya, they love nothing more than running around in snow and having fun. Unfortunately, like us, frostbite is a major concern, especially on exposed skin like paws, the nose, tail, and ears. Dogs may start noticing they feel funny and try licking exposed skin that doesn’t feel right. When you get inside, check to see how these areas feel. One sign of frostbite is pale, hard skin that remains cold after dogs have been inside. Immediately call your vet if this happens and never ever expose this area to hot water or heat packs. To avoid this from happening, have your dog in booties, a coat (some breeds), and don’t keep outside for too long!
  4. Beware of Ice – Like us, ice can be very dangerous for dogs. While we may carefully try maneuvering on sidewalks, they are running full speed on top of ice covered by snow. Falling on ice can be just as hurtful and they don’t have clothes to protect them from scrapes and cuts. To be safe, keep dogs away from unknown areas, especially if you are unsure if there may be ice or other hazards under the snow. As well, avoid lakes and streams that are frozen over. Even though they may look solid, they may not be as solid as you think!
  5. Food – While we all want to think people are honest, this is the time of year we really need to be careful about food being left in unknown places. Some ‘not so friendly’ people leave out poisoned food to get rid of animals trying to find a warm place for the winter. This can sometimes mean feral cats and dogs too. As a safety measure, keep your dogs and cats away from any strange food laying around, especially since they may be extra hungry from being out in the cold after a long walk!


Once dogs come inside, make sure they have access to fresh food and water. With the cold calories, dogs especially need extra calories to keep their body temperature regulated. Just make sure it isn’t just calorie dense but nutritious too!




Susan Bewley is a professional writer who has been writing content online & in print format for over 10 years. As well, she is an alumni of the University of Louisville with a Masters Degree in Special Education. When not working as an online business consultant or ghost writing, she can be found writing on Budget Earth, on her own novel, or working with various entities in the pet industry.

41 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Sandy Klocinski March 5, 2015 at 9:20 am - Reply

    Dogs who spend plenty of time outdoors, even if protected by a doghouse, run a risk of death due to the cold. The doorway of your dog’s house should be faced away from the wind or covered. Also, the house should be well-insulated and just big enough for them to stand up, turn around, and lie down inside comfortably. A doghouse that is too big won’t contain your dog’s body heat and stay warm. For multiple dogs, consider a house large enough to let them cuddle together

  2. rochelle haynes March 5, 2015 at 10:05 am - Reply

    This is good to know thank you

  3. laurie damrose March 5, 2015 at 1:37 pm - Reply

    all of these tip are just basic common sense ,but my biggest issue is that some people just have their pets out in the very cold ,in their yards instead of inside where it’s warm.Just because animals have fur does not mean they are out door ready.

    • Susan Bewley March 5, 2015 at 2:10 pm - Reply

      As much as I hate to admit it, common sense is lacking these days. I agree, there is no reason for dogs to be out in the cold!

  4. Miki March 5, 2015 at 2:52 pm - Reply

    Excellent points! 🙂 And now i’m just adding text because the application told me I had to.

  5. Barrie March 5, 2015 at 6:05 pm - Reply

    We have indoor dogs and we’re careful about using salt in the back yard for them.

  6. Dianna Davis March 5, 2015 at 9:21 pm - Reply

    Thanks so much for your post, it really to bad that people that have dogs don’t get to read this. We have three, and as crowded as it can be they are only let out to releave themselves when it is that could. So they really end up watch a lot of Tv., and playing in the house.The weird thing is they all have there own favorite cartoons.

  7. Dandi D March 5, 2015 at 10:45 pm - Reply

    We don’t have a dog, but these are some great tips to share with others.

  8. Sandy Weinstein March 6, 2015 at 1:10 am - Reply

    to me all pets should be kept inside, all yr long. my girls wear jackets, my oldest, almost 14 yrs old, wears 3 jackets. she does not like to wear her booties. if it is too cold, they just go out on the porch, have a big porch.

  9. Sue M. March 6, 2015 at 3:13 am - Reply

    Good advice! Also, this is cat related: If you live where it gets cold, cats that are outside will sometimes crawl into car wheel wells or near a car’s engine to stay warm. Please bang on the hood of your car before starting your car so the cat will have time to escape and run off before you start it and they won’t get injured or killed!

  10. YOLANDA DAVIS March 6, 2015 at 8:45 am - Reply

    Thanks for the information. Some of it hadn’t occurred to me before.

  11. Elizabeth Stacy March 6, 2015 at 10:16 am - Reply

    Thanks for the information, some these thing I didn’t know about how keep them safe from the outside. My both two dogs stay in the house all year around.

  12. Stefany S March 6, 2015 at 10:46 am - Reply

    Thanks for your information. We bought coats for our dogs but I didn’t think about their pawns, I’m going to check them from now on. Also, I’m glad I don’t keep antifreeze where the dogs hang out.

  13. Amber Ludwig March 6, 2015 at 10:51 am - Reply

    These are great tips! I livw in wisconsin and we always hear about awful pet stories every year 🙁 These are great reminders to save pets lives!!

  14. Kristina Kohler March 6, 2015 at 11:07 am - Reply

    This is very informant. Thank you for sharing. My daughter is getting a service dog, soon.

  15. Pam V H March 6, 2015 at 11:59 am - Reply

    Thanks for summarizing all of this important information in one article. Dogs deserve our TLC.

  16. laurie allen March 6, 2015 at 12:52 pm - Reply

    I love that Budget Earth is so dog oriented and Susan obviously loves her dog!! I see Reya in reviews and other dog posts. It feels almost like I know her. I am glad you are reaching out to educate people about the dangers that dogs face in the winter as well as your other series posts!! Thumbs up for dog education!!

  17. Lisa Veazie March 6, 2015 at 12:58 pm - Reply

    Excellent article, It is good to educate people on care for dogs in the winter time. thank you

  18. Dorothy Hubbard March 6, 2015 at 1:47 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the good reminders of what danger there is for our animals that we love, the one that I had forgotten was the salt and chemicals for thrawing the ice and snow.

  19. Rachel Mauffray March 6, 2015 at 2:54 pm - Reply

    It’s amazing that people still have to be told that their pets are vulnerable to the weather. I don’t understand.

  20. denise low March 6, 2015 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    Thank you for the tips. We don’t have pets but our son does. So I will pass this on.

  21. Dorothy Boucher March 6, 2015 at 6:59 pm - Reply

    These are truly great tip for anyone owning or caring for pets.. I just recently was told about a dog being poisoned because it ate something that was outside,,, so please make sure to feed your own dogs or those you are caring for,, and if you see a stray dog , call for help… its too cold to be left outside …

  22. debbie campbell March 6, 2015 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    Thanks for posting these warnings for dog owners. I think people just don’t think about it sometimes.

  23. molli vandehey March 6, 2015 at 7:43 pm - Reply

    thank you so much for this list. i do not currently have a dog, but i housesit a lot for people with dogs, so this is good to remember!

  24. heather March 6, 2015 at 8:33 pm - Reply

    I hate people who chain their dogs! I also do not like it when people keep their animals outside in extreme heat or cold.

  25. Kim March 6, 2015 at 9:26 pm - Reply

    Very well written. It makes me so sad to see animals left outside in the freezing cold temperatures, and I think people often don’t even realize the dangers of common winter items like ice melting salt and anti-freeze.

  26. Nena Sinclair March 6, 2015 at 11:26 pm - Reply

    These are great tips and reminders! Thank you for posting this!

  27. Lisa Schweizer March 7, 2015 at 4:34 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing all the great advice! Our dog loves to play outside in the snow but we don’t let her out for long and always keep her hydrated 🙂

  28. Emily Endrizzi March 7, 2015 at 8:06 am - Reply

    Good tips. I am always worried that my dog will find and eat/drink antifreeze. I do keep a lookout for anything that could be antifreeze and keep him away from it. I also try to wipe his paws after coming inside to remove the salt and ice melting chemicals from them before he licks it off. He won’t wear booties on a regular basis. He likes to run and play (and eat) the snow, but lately it is getting so deep it is up to his belly. He looks so funny trying to run around in it!

  29. DD March 7, 2015 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    This is a very informative article with some excellent advice! We’re always extra careful with our dogs during the winter.

  30. KATHARINE COOKMAN March 7, 2015 at 10:23 pm - Reply


  31. Tonya Smith March 8, 2015 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    This dog looks excatly my one Husky. My huskies are spoiled. I am outside with them every 2-3 hours walking them. They need lots of attention. Do they EVER love the snow. It is so fun to watch them play even tho I freeze to death.

    • Susan Bewley March 9, 2015 at 8:09 pm - Reply

      Reya is actually an Alaskan Malmaute. She’s pretty spoiled too and LOVES the snow!

  32. Jill Jackson March 9, 2015 at 6:15 pm - Reply

    I would not of ever thought about this. I need to share with my northern friends

  33. Irina Stiles March 10, 2015 at 1:07 am - Reply

    Very interesting article. Cut my eye a few days ago, wanted to read it since then. Will keep it on file.

  34. Melinda B March 12, 2015 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    This applies to both dogs and cats. We took in a very stray cat that we had been keeping an eye on since last Spring. It took my fiance many months to gain her trust. He built her an igloo storage container house outside but she wouldn’t use it so we ended up bringing her indoors to our patio with an electric heater. Now she is indoors and friends with our 2 indoor cats, the 2 year old Yorkie..not so much. 😉

  35. Ronald G March 13, 2015 at 12:35 pm - Reply

    We were lucky enough to have a Golden Retriever for 16 1/2 years, and a lot of it was due to following all of your suggestions before we even knew of them.. You make a lot of common sense and it is too bad dog owners do not follow each and every one of them.

  36. Hana March 13, 2015 at 11:13 pm - Reply

    well written with good reminders.
    The salt and chemicals are so dangerous!Seems almost impossible to avoid as it is everywhere this winter

  37. lisa March 23, 2015 at 6:14 pm - Reply

    I had a neighbor with a dog that was neglected. They left it outdoors 24-7. It had a dog house but was left on a chain so short that it couldn’t get to it. One harsh winter, I looked out and that poor dog was on it’s chain covered in snow. I couldn’t take it. I had to make a phone call. That dog was taken from them. Two weeks later they got a puppy. Some people never learn.

    • Susan Bewley March 26, 2015 at 6:25 pm - Reply

      That is horrible!!!! The city should have cited them for animal cruelty and made sure that couldn’t happen! That makes me so sick. 🙁

Leave A Response