Senior Dog Winter Safety

Three Minutes
Apr 25, 2022

Senior dogs, just like senior humans, are impacted more by cold weather than their younger counterparts.

If you notice your senior dog (most dogs are considered “seniors” when they are seven-years-old, even earlier for large breed dogs) is slowing down or would rather be under a blanket than going for a walk, let her move at her own pace.

As you put on your boots, hat, scarf, mittens and jacket before you go outside, take time to prepare your senior dog for the elements as well.

Keep them Warm

If your dog has longer fur, let them keep it long and lush in the winter – it will keep them warmer. If you have a shorter coated, or short-groomed dog, consider putting them in a jacket (if they will let you) to provide a layer of warmth against the cold, blustery days.

Even dog breeds such as the Husky, Newfoundland and others who are tolerant of frigid temperatures can feel the cold more acutely as they age.

Clean Their Paws Off 

After you and your dog come indoors, wipe off her paws, especially if there is rock salt on the steps or sidewalk. Wipe any snow off their belly and remove any tiny snowballs that build up in their fur and between the pads of their toes. You may want to put paw wax on her feet to protect her paws from rock salt and icy sidewalks.  

Protect their Bones and Joints

Clothing keeps aching hips warm and might make them not so stiff. You may want to talk with your veterinarian about adding supplements to their diets either in supplement form or in food enriched with it.

Keep them Safe from Falls

If you have a dog who is unsteady on his feet, you may want to carry him up and down the stairs, if he’s light enough for you to do that. If you can’t carry him and he is too stiff and sore to get up the stairs on his own, consider adding a ramp to help him.

There are harnesses you can buy that act as stability for your dog as well.

A Cozy Bed

Give your dog a warm, draft-free place in which to sleep. Older dogs benefit from a soft, thick bed so their sore joints and bones aren’t rubbing on the cold, hard floor. If there is a warm area in the house – the laundry room or in front of a heat vent, let them hang out there and warm up.

Stay Active 

Even if your dog doesn’t want to stay out of doors or go for a long walk because it’s too cold, you still want to keep her up and moving. Movement will keep her joints from stiffening up from inactivity. If you can’t go out of doors, find some fun indoor games or a game of fetch in the garage or other room out of the elements.

Protect your Dog

Coverage in 3 Easy Steps

Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.

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