Tips for a Winter Road Trip with your Dog

snow dog

I’ve grown up around dogs and if I’ve learned one thing it’s that no two dogs are alike. This spans from their personality, likes, dislikes, and even how they deal with temperature change.

Growing up, the first family dog I had was a beautiful short haired pit bull mix named Skippy (yes like the peanut butter). He was the sweetest dog who loved to play in the snow but would get cold quickly and would come back in after a short romp outside. Our second family dog was a long haired fluffy dog, named Rielly who would go outside and literally lay in the snow for hours before decided he was done with the snow and come back inside.

Now I have a short haired dog more like the pitbull mix I grew up. I thought he would be like the Skippy who would get tired of the snow but I found that he would spend hours hopping from snow pile to snow pile.

Unfortunately, he’s as lovable as he is dense and I found that even though he loves the snow, he doesn’t know when to call it quits. The first time I took him in the snow he was having a blast charging through the snow and when I finally was ready to go in I had to drag him in with me.

We were having so much fun I didn’t even realize that the snow had caused his scar to turn black from the cold. It was this point that I realized not all dog are alike and that you can’t always base it off of the dog’s reactions, and that two short-haired dogs may not have the same reaction to temperature.

That being said, there are general rules that you can follow and with appropriate precautions, you can take care of your dog.  

First, take a look at this temperature guide to help you assess how your dog may react to cold weather and what is comfortable for them and when it may be too cold for them.


On a scale of 1 – 5:

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Information Courtesy of


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This is a rule of thumb though and depending on your dog’s weight, fur coat, and age, the temperatures that are comfortable may be slightly changed.

If you’re not sure what’s too cold for your dog, maybe because it’s your first winter with your new furry friend or you’ve moved to a different climate, here are some signs to look for that will help you tell if your dog is cold:

  • Whining / barking
  • Stop moving
  • Shivering
  • Anxiety
  • Looking for safety / seeking warmth

Some items that help keep your dog warm in the colder months are winter dog coats (beyond the fur that they were born with). Always keep some blankets in your car. There are even battery powered heated blankets if your dog doesn’t do well at all with cold. If they are left in the car make sure to not leave them for longer than 5-15 minute intervals.

That all being said, the best prevention is to not put your dogs into situations where they will be in jeopardy of getting too cold. If you can, leave your dog at a friends house or at the hotel in their kennel (which if you’re traveling you should have).

At the end of the day though, you know your dog best. Have fun and stay safe while roving with rover.

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