We are currently in the middle of winter and it is getting really cold and snowy in several parts of the U.S. and Canada. If you have pets and more specifically dogs, you might be wondering if it is still safe to take them for walks.
Just like humans, dogs are also susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite. They do get cold in the winter time and if they are indoor dogs, they will require special gear. “The dry air is just as hard for your dog as it is for you,” says Zay Satchu, to Daily Paws. “Make sure they have constant access to water. If your dog experiences a dry nose in the winter, you can also consider a pet-friendly nose balm to keep it hydrated.”
But can it be too cold for your best furry friend to go outside? “This varies depending on the breed, but a good rule of thumb is if it is too cold for you, it is likely too cold for them,” answered Satchu. “Breeds with thicker coats are typically derived from colder climate areas and will have a higher tolerance for low temperatures.”
Besides the breed, age is also a factor when it comes to cold tolerance. “Puppies and geriatric patients will have a more difficult time regulating their body temperature, both in hot and cold weather, so if it’s very cold you should provide them with a sweater or coat and limit their exposure to extreme temperatures” said Satchu.
If you do decide to go on a wintry adventure, you should know how to recognize signs that you dog is too cold. “When dogs are cold, they may shiver, have a hunched posture, and lift or hold their paws off the ground,” said Satchu. “In extreme cases, hypothermia is possible. Signs of hypothermia include lethargy, muscle stiffness, weakness, decreased mental alertness, and even loss of consciousness.”
For smaller or short hair breeds, you should consider putting a coat or sweater on your dog. Remember, if you are cold, they probably are too! “Dogs can potentially suffer from frostbite if conditions are severe. If Fido will tolerate it, booties are a great way to protect paws from the cold and from the salt and sand that is used on walkways” said Satchu.
You should know that Great Pyrenees, Saint Bernards, and Newfoundlands were bred in northern climates and are usually better suited to cold temperatures because “They all have long, thick coats that protect them from cold and snowy conditions,” according to Satchu.
So make sure to protect your best friend from the cold, just like you are bundling yourself!
Do you have a pet? Did you get snow this year?
Source: Daily Paws · Photo Credit: Adobe Stock