Tips for Keeping Outdoor Dogs Safe & Healthy this Winter


This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Make sure you’re keeping your outdoor dogs safe and healthy this winter with these tips!

Keep Your Outdoor Dog Healthy this Winter with #BayerExpertCare Great Pyrenees in the snow from simplifylivelove

Until a couple of years ago, we’d always had indoor dogs and didn’t worry so much about them being outdoors all the winter.

But two years ago when we moved onto our five acres, we got an awesome homestead dog – Nora the Great Pyrenees. She likes to be near her people, but she’s definitely an outside dog with a job to do.

As a livestock guardian dog, she takes her job as the sole protector of our chicken flock very seriously. In the two years that we’ve had Nora, she’s chased away raccoons, hawks, and coyotes, and my dad said it was absolutely fascinating recently when he watched her run off a bald eagle that was circling mid-air over my girlies!

We’ve had a pretty mild fall so far, but winter is coming. It’s Nora’s favorite season and there are several things we need to do to keep our outdoor dog safe, healthy, and warm so she can enjoy the weather we like to gripe about.

We’re looking forward to playing with her in the snow again and want to make sure she’s in top condition to enjoy her favorite weather – cold, wind, and snow!

It’s important to keep our dog in prime condition all year long but we need to take extra precautions in our blistery Iowa winters. Here are a few important tips to keep in mind as we head into winter.

Tips for Keeping Outdoor Dogs Safe & Healthy this Winter

1. Make sure your dog has a wind proof shelter. It needs to be large enough for her to sit and lie down comfortably, but small enough for her body heat to help keep her warm. Our outdoor dogs have access to our garage all winter. It’s heated to just above freezing and wind-free so it’s perfect for them when it’s brutally cold outside.

2. Provide dry, clean bedding in the shelter. Our Great Pyrenees has a very special type of fur coat that keeps her warm in all kinds of crazy weather, but she still likes to snuggle in bedding and it adds another layer of warmth to her accommodations too. Snuggly dog beds are a big hit in our garage!

Nora in the winter - keep your great pyrenees healthy in the winter

3. Make sure she they access to plenty of water and food. Be mindful that food and water can freeze in cold weather and either store it someplace warm, or use plug-in food bowls.

Outdoor dogs also burn more calories in the winter so you may need to provide up to 30% more food in the winter than you do in the summer.

4. Be mindful of cold weather chemicals like salt, ice-melters, and anti-freeze. Both can be deadly to dogs and should be kept away from them at all times.

5. Support their digestive health with probiotic soft chews

 Providing a daily source of probiotics and prebiotics that are specially formulated to help maintain proper gastrointestinal microflora growth and support your dog’s digestive health can be an easy way to boost her immunity. These probiotic soft chews are like daily little treats for your dog! Nora loves them and looks forward to her treat every day. 

What special precautions do you take with your dog in the winter?

Make sure you do these things when it's cold outside to keep your outdoor dog healthy this winter.

If you liked this post on keeping your outdoor dog healthy this winter, you may like these too:

Why You Should Pay Attention to Your Dog’s Gut Health

Tips for Introducing a New Puppy to Older Dogs

5 Signs of Ultimate Dog Health

What You Must Know about Feeding Great Pyrenees Dogs

5 Useful Tips for Grooming Great Pyrenees Puppies

About Michelle Marine

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long-time green-living enthusiast, and rural Iowa mom of four. She empowers families to grow and eat seasonal, local foods; to reduce their ecological footprint; and to come together through impactful travel.

You May Also Like:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    1. Thanks, Carleen! It’s been a lot warmer so far this year than last, but Nora will be very disappointed if it doesn’t start snowing soon. 🙂

  1. Thank you for posting this! We have two outdoor dogs in the high desert of California on 4 acres. People think we are mean and heartless to keep them outside but they love it. They vigilantly watch coyotes that are outside our fence, hide behind the package box and scare the UPS man(he’s getting a present this year), play with each other almost constantly and they enjoy our company whenever we’re outside. They are fed, watered and sheltered and are the sweetest dogs we’ve ever had.

  2. Thanks for the tips! I would just add that smaller dogs, those with shorter fur, older ones and pups with injured/paralyzed limbs – they all can benefit from coats. There are some good products out there, but you can also adapt it to larger dogs to cover them completely, or cover just the paralyzed limbs. Happy New Year 🙂

  3. Our dogs live inside but we often take them on pretty long walks in the snow and ice. Before we go we put Musher’s Secret on their paws to protect them. “Musher’s Secret is an invisible boot for dogs, made of dense, barrier wax that forms a breathable bond with your dog’s paws. Developed in Canada for use with sledding dogs; it provides tenacious protection even in the most extreme conditions. Made from a blend of several food-grade waxes.”