Many people are aware of how dangerous overheating can be for a dog. But what about the cold? Is there anything to worry about medically for dogs when they spend time outside in the winter? Yes, in fact, wintertime can also pose hazards for dogs — especially if your dog is not acclimated to outdoor temperatures or if your dog has a short hair coat (Chihuahuas, for example).
When is it too cold for dogs?
Like humans, each dog will tolerate cold weather to a different degree. Factors that go into how well a dog tolerates the cold are breed, age, overall health, nutritional status, physical conditioning, coat density and acclimation. Obviously, northern breeds (e.g., Siberian and Alaskan huskies, malamutes, Bernese mountain dogs) tolerate cold temperatures best because of their thick undercoat.
As a general rule, it takes anywhere from one week to two months for a healthy dog to become acclimated to extremes in temperature. This wide range takes into account various individual physiological factors. Keep in mind that wind and wet will magnify the effects of low temperatures.
Outdoor dog houses
If your dog stays outside in cold weather for more than potty breaks and walks, he will need a warm, dry place away from the cold and wet. Provide him with an insulated airtight doghouse that is raised up off the ground at least a few inches, and is equipped with a door flap to keep out drafts. Also, make sure the doghouse always has dry bedding; a lot of hay or straw is a good insulator and they can burrow down in it.
How to tell if your dog is cold
Keep an eye on your dog for signs that he is not tolerating the cold — shivering, refusing to move or follow cues, refusing to come out of his kennel or lying in a curled-up position when outside. Above all, please remember that dogs are social animals and you are their family. They want to be with you, so don’t leave your dog outside in the cold all the time.
Coats and boots for dogs: Silly or necessary?
If you have a short-haired dog who spends most of her time indoors and goes out mainly for walks around the park or the neighborhood, consider having your pup wear a sweater or coat in chilly weather. Just ignore the eye-rolling by people who believe they are merely a silly accessory.
On the other hand, when it comes to doggie-wear, if you have a young dog of northern descent who has a thick coat, is acclimated to the cold and spends a considerable amount of time outdoors romping in the snow, a coat may actually cause some degree of overheating.
If you live in an area where there’s snow and ice, wipe your dog’s feet after walking her. She may have picked up ice-melting chemicals, which can irritate and burn the dog’s pads. In addition, some of these products are poisonous if ingested by pets. You may want to try getting your dog accustomed to wearing boots (see below), which protect your dog’s feet from sharp pieces of ice and balls of snow getting stuck between her pads, as well as ice-melting products.
Read the full article from Best Friends here