How to Get a Dog to Pee in the Snow

By Britt Kascjak

If you live in an area where the colder winter weather means the arrival of snow, you may run into a problem. What do you do if your dog won’t go outside to pee?

Many people aren’t excited about cold water and the same can be said about dogs.

While there are some breeds that thrive in the snow and ice, there are also plenty of dogs that have no interest in sub-zero temperatures.

In fact, your dog may go out of his way to avoid having to go outside until spring returns once again.

So, what do you do about bathroom time? Are there solutions to keep everyone happy?

Here are some tips and tricks to help you survive the winter season.

Why Won’t My Dog Go to the Bathroom in the Snow?

The biggest reason that many dogs dislike going outside in the winter is simple – it’s too cold!

Not only have the temperatures dropped leading to the freezing cold air all around your dog, but the frozen ground is also very cold on their feet.

For some dogs, walking in the snow is not only cold, but it’s also uncomfortable. This surface may not offer the stability your dog needs to feel secure.

Worried about slipping or losing footing, older dogs or those with injuries may avoid snowy surfaces.

Finally, your dog simply may be confused by the loss of his go-to bathroom location.

If your dog always goes to the bathroom in the same area of the backyard, he has created a routine. But, when this spot is covered in snow he may not be able to find it.

This confusion can be enough to prevent some dogs from wanting to go to the bathroom outside.

Tips and Tricks for Getting Your Dog to Pee in the Snow

Bundle Up When Outdoors

One of the easiest solutions to getting a dog to go to the bathroom outdoors is to bundle up.

Just as we put on our coats and boots before going outside, you can offer your dog the same comfort. This will stop him from shivering and make it easier to convince him to head outside.

Pay careful attention to the fit of your dog’s winter gear to make sure that he can go potty properly.

A jacket that is too large may result in your dog soiling the jacket each time that he goes to the bathroom. A jacket that is too small could restrict movement, preventing him from being comfortable enough to go.

Clear a Spot

For dogs that dislike walking in the snow, try clearing an area to serve as a bathroom.

This could be as simple as a pathway through the snow to a small clearing in your yard. Your dog will quickly catch on that this is where he goes.

But, you’ll need to stay on top of keeping it cleared each time that the snow falls.

Set Up an Indoor Potty

This is a great option when caring for senior dogs or potty training young puppies.

Set up a safe place for your dog to go to the bathroom indoors using pee pads or an indoor grass potty.

This will keep your dog’s waste contained in an easy-to-clean spot. But, it also allows him to skip heading outdoors into the bitter cold when he needs to go.

Whichever option you decide, make sure to stay consistent. That is the most important secret to success.

Photo of author
Britt Kascjak
Britt Kascjak has been active in the animal rescue community for over 15 years, volunteering, fostering, and advocating for organizations across Canada and the US. Her ‘pack’ includes her husband John, their 3 dogs – Daviana, Indiana, and Lucifer – and their 2 cats – Pippen and Jinx.