The benefits of being outside for your dog are both physical and psychological. Dogs can be kept happy and healthy by walking, running, looking at things, sniffing them, listening to their sounds, or meeting up with old and new friends. What should we do if it is cold? What are the benefits and risks of being outside? We’ll look at how to enjoy your dog in winter without the risks of cold weather.
All dogs are individuals
One dog may be comfortable with a temperature, but another might shiver. Dogs’ reactions to cold are affected by a number of variables.
Types of Coat
Cold-tolerant dogs are those with double-layered, thick coats (think Siberian Huskies Newfoundland and Samosyds). These breeds are adapted to cold climates. Dogs with thin coats like the Basenji or Xoloitzcuintli may be affected by the cold. They will do best when the weather is warmer.
A clear, sunny day allows dogs with dark coats to absorb significant heat, which keeps them warm compared to those dogs who have lighter-colored fur.
The majority of heat is lost by dogs through their skin. The surface-to-volume ratio of small dogs is greater than that of big dogs. This means they can lose more heat and have less heat to retain. All other factors being equal, it is, therefore, true that small dogs lose heat faster than larger dogs.
The body fat acts as an insulator and thin dogs will become cold very quickly. The health risks associated with being obese outweigh the benefits. So don’t allow your dog to gain weight in order to prepare for the winter.
This is something we’ve all felt. The same 55 F temperature may feel chilly after the summer heat, but it can be surprisingly comfortable in shorts and T-shirts. The dogs that have been exposed to cold weather are better equipped than the ones that have not.
The Ageing Population and its Health
Dogs in their prime, puppies, senior dogs, and those with health issues cannot maintain their own body temperature as effectively as dogs who are healthy. Protect vulnerable dogs against the cold.
You Should Not Just Check the Temperature
Temperature is not the only factor that influences how your dog feels cold. Other factors to consider include:
The ability of a dog to protect itself from the cold is greatly reduced by a brisk wind.
Even if it’s mild outside, any form of moisture that penetrates the dog’s fur will cause them to become cold.
Dogs can’t warm up in the sun on cloudy days.
Dogs that are very active outside can generate extra heat, which will keep them warm even when the temperatures drop.
Guideline for Cold Temperatures in Dogs
Although it is difficult to make broad statements, dogs who are cold-averse may start feeling uncomfortable when the temperature drops below 45 F. If temperatures fall below 32 F and dogs are left outside for long periods of time, they could become sick, very old, or small dogs. When temperatures fall below 20 F, pet owners need to know that dogs can develop health issues related to colds like frostbite and hyperthermia if they spend extended time outside.
Keep a watchful eye on your dog’s behavior when they are outside and it is cold. You should warm your dog up if you see them shivering or acting uneasy, pacing slower, wailing, looking for warm places, holding one or more of their paws up, or searching around.
If you see any of these signs, call your veterinarian immediately. They include sluggishness or confusion. Shivering may become less severe as the hypothermia advances.