Winter is coming and unless you’re one of the lucky few that live in a state with no snow, you probably know how cold a winter truly can be.

Regardless of what you think of the winter weather, there’s one thing we need to keep in mind during these cold days and nights – our dogs.

To make sure your dog is staying as safe as possible this winter and doesn’t hurt your pocketbook, I’ve put together a list of 10 things before Mr. Winter makes his grand entrance.

1. Warm shelter and cozy bedding

Even though there are dogs built for cold weather, many of them feel as cold as a human being. Thus, it is so important to make sure that their kennel is warm and cozy to sleep and well elevated above the ground to help them retain their body heat. If possible, add old blankets and pillows for that extra warmth.

2. Protecting the dog’s paw

Keep an eye on your dog’s paws when taking them out for a walk, especially if you’re walking in areas that receive a salt treatment to melt the ice. Ice and salt can damage the dog’s paw, so always be sure to wipe your dog’s paws with warm damp clothing after a walk, and if possible, have your dog wear dog booties to protect their paws.

3. Stay indoors

Most experts will recommend you never leave a dog outdoors alone, especially when the temperatures drop below freezing. This is especially true for some smaller breeds that are susceptible to harsh weather.

4. Keep electrical devices safe

If you are a pet owner, you need to be careful when it comes to warmth, especially with portable heaters if you use one. Dogs will tend to snuggle around heat sources, but the fact is that, if unsupervised, they can knock over a portable heater and potentially cause a house fire if you were not at home. If you have a fireplace, also make sure this area is pet proof to avoid the dog from getting burned.

5. Walk when the sun shines

If your dog tends to feel cold, it is ideal to avoid early morning and late evening walks when it is usually the coldest. Instead, consider the late morning and early afternoon when temperatures are the warmest.

6. Adequate water

No matter the time and season, pet owners and dogs should ensure that they have enough clean and fresh water to drink. Regardless of the temperature, a dog needs to stay hydrated, even when they are cold.

7. Grooming

After bathing, make sure you dry the dog completely before it steps outside. It’s also best to keep the dog’s coat as thick as possible during the colder months since it will provide them with more warmth.

8. Exposure to antifreeze

It is impossible to avoid antifreeze when winter comes since most of us tend to use it more when wiping away the dirty windows from the salty roads. Unfortunately, antifreeze is usually sweet, and dogs will often lick or even drink it. Antifreeze is extremely toxic and only a small amount consumed can be very fatal.

9. Moisturizing your dog

To help prevent your dog’s skin from drying and flaking out, consider adding supplements to the food. In case the dog’s paws, ears or even tail dries out or cracks, consider applying some coconut oil to keep it soft and hydrated.