The skin on your dog's ears is thin and vulnerable to frostbite in extreme temperatures. If your dog's ears get cold during the winter, you can keep them warm with a hat or earmuffs. Plus, your dog will look extra cute running around the dog park in his little hat.
Purchase a hat designed for the size of your dog from a pet specialty store, or find a human hat with earflaps that fits your dog. The hat should fit snugly over your dog's head and ears without obstructing his vision.
Secure the hat to your dog's head. Most dog hats are made with ties or Velcro straps that tighten and secure the hat. Human hats generally come with ties.
Slide several fingers between the ties and your dog's skin. The hat should be tight enough to remain in place when your dog moves around, but it should not be so tight that it interferes with circulation, breathing or movement. If you cannot easily slide your fingers between the ties and your dog's skin, loosen the ties.
Allow your dog to become comfortable wearing the hat before you take him outside. He may paw at the hat or otherwise express his displeasure. In most cases, he will become accustomed to it quickly and will leave it alone once distracted outside.
Check the hat periodically while outside to ensure the ears remain covered. Also, check for wetness; a wet hat can freeze in extreme cold and pose significant danger to your dog's skin.
Opt for dog or human earmuffs if your dog refuses to wear a hat with ear flaps after several tries. While earmuffs are more difficult to size and offer no head protection, they may be less irritating to some dogs.
- Wrapping a scarf around your dog's head and ears can temporarily keep his ears warm if no other option is available.
- If your dog's ears appear red, swollen or unusually pale, or if they become numb or painful, it could be an early sign of frostbite. Move your dog to a warmer area and consult your veterinarian right away.
Sandra Ketcham has nearly two decades of experience writing and editing for major websites and magazines. Her work appears in numerous web and print publications, including "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "The Tampa Bay Times," Visit Florida, "USA Today," AOL's Gadling and "Kraze Magazine."