Even though Siberian Huskies were bred for cold weather, care still must be taken to ensure your dog does is comfortable and safe when the arctic temperatures arrive. Capable of withstanding temperatures as cold as -51o F, special precautions are recommended for extended periods of time spent outside, as described below.
If your Husky primarily lives outdoors, he must have access to shelter from the wind and cold, as well as a source of water that will not freeze. A dog house or igloo with insulated walls is a necessity, along with a running water source or heated bowl. Bedding for the dog house should include hay or straw, but never blankets, as tracked-in snow will cause the fabric to freeze. Avoid using metal food or water bowls, as your Husky’s tongue could potentially freeze to the bowl. Be aware that an outdoor dog has higher caloric requirements in the winter (up to 35%), so consider adding an extra meal your dog’s daily routine.
For indoor Huskies who may not have fully acclimated to the winter weather, allow equal time indoors as spent outdoors. If your dog’s paws are especially sensitive to snow and ice, boots or socks can shield feet from irritation. A popular solution for cold-sensitive paws of working dogs is paw wax, such as Musher’s Secret, which provides a waterproof layer of protection against ice, snow, and salt. Paws should always be wiped clean and dry following long walks on roads or sidewalks to remove salt residue that may irritate paw pads or mouths (i.e. if the dog licks his paws dry). If areas around your home require heavy salting, consider purchasing a pet-friendly variety that is formulated specifically with dogs in mind.
Factors such as your Husky’s age, weight, and health status can affect his ability to spend long durations of time outside. Older dogs and puppies do not withstand the cold as well, and should be brought inside in sub zero weather. Similarly, underweight dogs will have not proper insulation or metabolic function to ward off chills during cold snaps. If a dog is suffering from any health condition, even the common cold, his ability to endure cold temperatures will be greatly diminished. Trembling and refusal to leave the dog house are both indications your dog should be brought indoors. If your dog has ice matted in his fur, this is an indication he is not retaining heat well, and also a sign he is suffering due to the weather. Regardless of temperature, be aware of wind chill, which can easily cause frostbite on vulnerable areas such as nose, ears, and paws.
Siberian Huskies are one of the best breeds to own if living in colder climates. However, not all Huskies will be able to withstand the weather, so be sure to monitor for signs of discomfort or distress. Although happiest outdoors and romping in the snow, certain Huskies may be better off curled up in front of the fireplace.