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How Cold Is Too Cold For Dogs: Keep Your Puppy Warm During Winter

How cold is it too cold for dogs? You may be asking this question if you live in an area where snow falls in winter. Just because your dog has a fur coat doesn’t necessarily mean they can handle the cold better than you.

Most dogs are used to them Warmth of their owner’s homeand the cold weather can be just as harsh on them as it is on you. When winter comes, your furry friend needs a little more grooming.

In this article we explain what Health risks to your dog in cold weather. We also offer 12 tips on how to keep your canine companion safe and warm this winter. Are Some Dogs Better Than Others To Live In A Cold Climate? Let’s find out!

12 tips for dogs in cold weather

It is up to you to make sure your dog stays warm in colder weather, especially snow.

Even winter-loving breeds need extra care when the temperature drops. It doesn’t matter if they are a cold-resistant breed or if your pup has a thinner coat that just loves to play in the snow. You need to keep them warm to make sure they don’t have any health issues. Here are 12 of our top tips to keep your dog warm and safe this winter.

Pack up well

If you have a dog that has a thick coat, it will likely keep warm naturally in very cold temperatures. However, thin-haired or hairless dogs must wear a coat or sweater when going on their winter walk.

Remember to take that into account Wind chill factoras well as the air temperature. Even when the sun is shining, a stiff breeze can significantly lower the air temperature and put your pup at risk. Some breeds, such as whippets and greyhounds, may also need to wear a sweater or fleece indoors on particularly cold days.

Outside living dogs

Dogs that spend part of the day or night in a kennel are particularly at risk of being refrigerated. Make sure that your dog’s kennel is in a sheltered location, away from drafts and facing the prevailing wind.

The kennel sleeping area should be just big enough for your dog to lie down comfortably and it should be very well insulated with warm bedding. A smaller room stops cool drafts prevents your dog’s body heat from acting as a natural radiator.

The floor of the kennel should be raised a few inches above the ground and sprinkled with wood chips or straw to ensure good insulation. Cover the kennel door with a curtain made of waterproof canvas or plastic. Dogs that are used to spending most of their time outside should be brought indoors for part of the day in extremely cold weather. Regular grooming will help keep hair under control if that’s one of your reasons your dog lives outdoors.

Go when the sun is out

Dog plays outside in the snow when the sun is outside
It is always better to let your dog walk, run, or play in the cold when the sun is shining.

In very cold weather, take your dog for a walk late in the morning or in the early afternoon when the temperature is a little higher. Avoid going out early in the morning or in the evening if possible. To keep you and your dog warm, play fetch with a ball or frisbee and choose a sunny spot for your game.

Winter bedding

If your dog usually sleeps on a cold tile floor, you need to get him a warm winter bed. Raised beds are perfect for keeping your furry friend away from cold concrete or tile, and a few extra blankets can create a cozy nest. Make sure to set up your dog’s bed in a cozy place away from drafts.

No ice, please

A surprisingly common danger that owners often overlook is metal water bowls being placed outdoors. If the temperature drops below freezing, the water in the bowl can turn to ice quickly and the bowl itself can be dangerous to your dog.

When your dog tries to get a drink, his tongue may easily get caught on the bowland causes a painful injury when trying to withdraw. A tennis ball in a wide-topped plastic container can help keep the ice from freezing completely.

Dry skin

Turning on your central heating for the winter months can make the air in your home very dry. A dry atmosphere can cause your dog’s skin to dry out and become dehydrated. This can lead to itchy spots for your dog to scratch and nibble, leading to sores and hair loss.

You can fight them Effects of a dry atmosphere by grooming your dog regularly. In addition to being very comfortable for your pet, grooming will also help remove dead hair and stimulate the production of natural oils in the skin that help keep it moist and supple. Use a dog shampoo for sensitive skin if your dog continues to encounter this problem.

Lost dogs

If you have a dog who enjoys walking, keep in mind that falling snow can prevent odors from lingering. That means your dog might not be able to retrace his steps If he runs away in search of a rabbit or squirrel and your pet could be lost.

Snowfall can also change the appearance of familiar landscapes and hide potential hazards such as bodies of water. Every winter there are accidents in which dogs have walked on thin ice on rivers and lakes and then immersed themselves in the ice icy water hidden underneath. Invest in escape-proof harness for your dog’s walks in snowy winter weather when he tends to go off-piste!

At the fire

Dog is sitting by the fire
Dogs love to warm up by the fire, but be sure to keep them on a leash and keep them away from an open flame.

When you come home from a cool winter walk or settle down in front of a blazing open fire on a freezing evening, your dog’s safety should be a concern. Many dogs are just as keen on getting used to the heat, but stray sparks can land on your pet and cause scorched fur and nasty skin burns. Gas fires can also pose a threat to wagging tails and curious noses.

If you have an open fire or an open flame gas fire, always use a firefighter to avoid injuring your dog, and never leave your pet unattended in a room that is literally on fire.

Don’t overfeed

Many owners make the mistake of feeding their dog’s extra rations during the winter months because they believe that a layer of fat will keep their pets warm. In cold weather, however, your pet can be less active than it is when the temperature is higher.

Shorter days and bad weather can also result in shorter walks or shorter game sessions. Keep track of your dog’s weight and do not overfeed him! If your puppy is gaining weight, be sure to feed him a weight control dog food formula to shed those extra pounds.

Broken paws

Almost as bad as foxtails, the cold weather on a dog’s paws can cause them to do it get cracked and sore in very cold weather. The damage can be caused by walking on sidewalks that have been salted to remove ice. Always wash your dog’s paws after a walk to remove any residual salt. Make sure your pup’s nails have been sanded regularly. If not, cracked paws will be more difficult to treat.

When walking in the snow, ice and salt can collect between your dog’s toesCause discomfort. You can protect your dog’s paws by equipping them with snow-proof dog boots. Although your dog may find his new boots a little strange at first, most puppies will soon adapt.

Leave Fido at home

Dog lies in bed
Sometimes it is best for your pup to bundle him up indoors if possible.

They know you should never leave your dog in the car on a hot day. The same goes for a cold snap. The temperature in your car can drop quickly far below what is convenient and safe for your dog, so leave your pet in the warmth at home when you run errands in your car.

Increase visibility

If you take your dog for a walk before sunrise and at dusk, add a small light to his collar and use a hi-viz harness with reflective strips to increase your dog’s visibility, especially if you are near roads go.

Avoid frozen lakes and rivers

If your dog is a swimmer, he will likely go to his usual dive site when you go for a walk. It can be impossible to measure ice thickness on lakes, ponds, and rivers. Therefore, always keep your dog on a leash or change your route until the weather warms up. If walking by the water is inevitable, use a safety device like a dog life jacket so you can easily grab your dog in case he walks in and it’s too cold.

Winter risks

The two primary health risks to dogs in very cold weather are Hypothermia and frostbite. Both symptoms are due to exposure to the elements for much longer than any dog ​​should be exposed to. Let’s look at the differences, what they are, and how you can identify signs and symptoms for each condition.

Frostbite

Dog with frostbite
This condition is a real problem for dogs who spend a lot of time outdoors during the winter.

Frostbite mainly affects dogs that are left outside in the extreme cold for long periods of time. When the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit the blood vessels near the dog’s skin surface begin to constrict and become narrower.

In this way, the body directs blood to the animal’s vital organs and away from the dog’s colder extremities. Unfortunately, the protective process reduces blood flow in these areas to dangerously low levels.

The combination of low blood flow and cold temperature can cause the tissue to freeze, especially in areas like the ears, tail, and paws. In severe cases, the tissue damage caused by frostbite causes the skin to turn black and eventually fall off.

Symptoms of frostbite

If your dog has any of the following symptoms, he may have frostbite:

  • pale, bluish, or gray skin
  • Brittle or cold of the area to the touch
  • Pain and swelling in the affected areas
  • Skin ulcers or blisters
  • Areas of dead or blackened skin

When frozen tissue thaws, the area can become painful, red, and inflamed. It can take several days for the signs of frostbite to appear. Once you suspect your dog may have frostbite, contact your veterinarian right away. Here are steps you can take if you suspect your puppy may have frostbite.

  • Immediately move your dog to a dry, warm place.
  • Do not Rub the affected area.
  • When inside, gently warm the frozen areas with warm water.
  • Do not do this if you are outdoors as re-freezing can be dangerous.
  • You should be able to comfortably place your hand in the water.
  • Note that if the water is too hot, you will cause too much damage.
  • Warm the area with warm water compresses.
  • Do not use direct heat such as a hairdryer or heating pad.
  • When the affected area is warm, gently pat it dry.

On the way to the veterinary clinic, wrap your dog in dry blankets that you’ve warmed in your clothes dryer. It is important that you do not overdo it and see your veterinarian so that you can receive adequate emergency assistance.

Hypothermia

Hypothermic dog
This is a real problem for dogs who spend a lot of their time outside during the winter.

Hypothermia is the second serious cold weather condition that dog owners should be aware of, especially older dogs. The condition occurs when your dog is exposed to cold temperatures for a long time, especially if they get wet as well. Older dogs and those with poor circulation or conditions such as kidney disease, heart disease, and hypothyroidism are, particularly at risk.

The normal body temperature of a dog is between 101 degrees F and 102.5 degrees F.. When your dog’s temperature falls below 100 degrees F.he is considered hypothermic. If the hypothermia persists, serious complications can arise, possibly leading to death.

Signs of hypothermia

If your dog shows any of the following signs after taking a cold for too long, he may be hypothermic. Here are the symptoms to look out for:

  • pale skin
  • Tremble
  • lethargy
  • cold ears and paws
  • depression
  • weakness
  • slow heart and breathing rates

In case of hypothermia, do the following:

  1. Warm some blankets with a hairdryer or in a tumble dryer.
  2. Wrap the dog in the blankets.
  3. Fill a hot water bottle and wrap it in a towel to keep the dog’s skin from being burned.
  4. Place the hot water bottle against the dog’s stomach.
  5. You can also use a heating pad on its lowest setting wrapped in a towel.
  6. Do not place the dog on the heating pad as direct heat can cause problems.
  7. Check the dog’s temperature every ten minutes.
  8. Once the temperature is above 100 degrees F, remove the hot water bottle.
  9. This will ensure that your puppy does not overheat.
  10. Keep the dog in a warm room and monitor its temperature every 15 to 30 minutes.

Hypothermia is potentially life-threatening and always requires immediate veterinary attention, especially with younger dogs. If the dog’s temperature drops below 21 ° C, it is a medical emergency!

Cold tolerant dog breeds

Malamute outdoors
There are a number of cold-tolerant breeds, including the malamute.

Some dog breeds have evolved to withstand the harshest winter conditions without any problems. Oftentimes these dogs were bred to work in snow and ice, so a few weeks of sub-zero temperatures would not be a problem for these pups. If you live in an area where the winter climate is particularly severe, you should choose one of these breeds.

Tibetan Terrier

The Tibetan terrier is the smallest winter-loving pooch on our list, but he can handle cold winters with no problems. The Tibetan terrier, an ancient breed, was bred in the Lost Valley in the mountains of Tibet, where they worked as guard dogs, herd keepers, and shepherds. These pups were also valued companions of the monks who lived in remote Buddhist monasteries high up in the mountains.

Tibetan terriers have long, thick coats and huge paws that serve as snowshoes and adapt perfectly to life in a cold, icy climate. And if you have a dog allergy, one of these puppies could be your perfect pet because they have very light dandruff!

Siberian husky

The Siberian husky comes from Siberia, where the breed was used to haul sleds for miles over snow and ice and to sleep outdoors without comfort or protection even in the harshest weather. Huskies have a water-repellent double coat that insulates them, keeps them warm and dry in the toughest conditions.

You will find that the husky is an affectionate, loyal, and cheeky companion who will thrive in winter weather.

Alaskan Malamute

The Alaskan Malamute was also bred as a sled dog and is similar to the Siberian Husky, although the breed is usually larger and heavier. One of the oldest Arctic dog breeds, the Alaskan Malamute has a heavy, long coat and is perfect for living in climates where winters are extreme.

Saint Bernhard

Saint Bernhard is a huge breed that stands up to 30 inches at the shoulder and weighs a massive 140 to 180 pounds! These gentle giant teddy bear dogs have been around since 1050 when a monk named Bernard von Menthon established a shelter in the Alps where pilgrims could rest on their way to Rome.

The pass-through which the pilgrims traveled was dangerous. At 8,000 feet above sea level, violent blizzards, avalanches, and snowdrifts to a depth of 40 feet were commonplace.

To find and rescue lost travelers, the monks bred huge, powerful working dogs that could dig through the snow and pull out those who were trapped. And so Saint Bernard was born! Needless to say, a Saint Bernard will be more than at home, living in a region where winters are chilly!

Newfoundland

Newfoundland is another massive breed of working dog that originated in Canada. These pups worked on ships, specializing in rescuing men who had fallen overboard, helping pull in fishing nets, and bringing the day’s catch to market on carts.

Newfoundland has thick, water-repellent fur and webbed feet, all qualities that make these dogs perfect for working in icy waters.

Japanese Akita

The Akita was once held by Japanese kings and used as a hunting dog in the cool areas of northern Japan. These dogs have short, thick coats that are perfect for keeping out the winter chill.

Akitas are calm dogs who can be careful of strangers and generally cannot get along with other animals in a household. These big, strong canines are hard-wired to protect their human family and must be well socialized from birth.

Norwegian elkhound

The Norwegian elkhound hails from Scandinavia, where winters are notoriously cold. These thick-skinned, sturdy little dogs have been around since the time of the Vikings, and they were once used to guard farms, herds, and defend their charges from bears and wolves.

Elk dogs were also used to hunt moose and other large deer and to keep the prey in check until their masters arrived. If you live in an area where winter hunting is a popular pastime, a Norwegian elkhound is the perfect sporty companion for you.

Wrap up

Snow-covered winter hikes and cozy log fires can be just as comfortable for your dog how they are for you. Think about the dangers cold weather can pose to your canine companion. To keep your puppy safe, take the necessary steps to ensure your dog stays warm and safe this winter.

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