It’s cold outside….you are shivering through the chilly weather and reaching out for a coat. As you do so, ask yourself whether your furry friend needs one too. With all that fur, you would think that dogs have natural insulation. Continue reading to find out more.
Do dogs Feel Cold?
Just like humans, tolerance to the cold weather varies from dog to dog. Some breeds have a lot of insulating fat while others have denser fur.
A few breeds like Sheepdogs and Huskies can withstand the cold. Huskies are specially built for the cold – they have the ability to double up their fur to stay warm. Their undercoat is soft and fluffy to insulate them while the top coat protects the undercoat from ice and snow build up.
On the other hand, smaller, lighter dog breeds will need some help because they have less body fat. Dogs with shorter hair like Chiwawa and older dogs that struggle to maintain their temperature will need extra help – an extra layer.
Ultimately, factors like age, health, weight and the length of your dog’s fur determine how sensitive to the cold a dog is to the cold.
How to tell if Your Dog is Cold
At this point you need to listen to your dog; look out for unusual characteristics.
Just like human beings, dogs react to the cold by shivering. The body will respond to the cold weather by trembling to increase internal body heat and help stay warm. If the dog is reacting in this manner, he is probably freezing. However, shivering could also be a sign of stress, fear or excitement.
2. Slow movements
Your dog likes the outdoors, but today, he seems a little under the weather. Moreover, he is walking unusually slowly and tries to keep his tail near his body. He is also very inactive and keeps hiding under, behind or in things. He is also limping, a sign that his paws could be extremely cold. It’s time to bundle him up.
If you know the sleeping pattern of your dog, you will notice if he is sleeping more during winter. This could also be a sign that the dog is too cold and probably experiencing symptoms of hypothermia which could cause the dog breathing and moving problems. Take your dog inside and cover him up with a blanket.
4. Cold ears and body
Another way to tell if your furry friend is cold is to feel his ears and body temperature. Touch the edges of the ear for an accurate insight. Inspect him further by feeling his body temperature. If he feels more cold than warm, it’s time to help him.
5. Whining and Whimpering
Your dog may try to communicate his discomfort through whining, whimpering or sometimes even barking. This is a cue for you to examine his surroundings and prevent him from exposure to extreme wind or cold.
Tips to Keep your Dog Comfortable
Once you know for sure that your dog is cold, it’s time to take necessary action to help the animal.
- Dog Sweater/ Coat – If the dog likes being outdoors for long periods, get him a sweater or a warm jacket.
- Dog Boots – Boots will go a long way in protecting the dog’s paws against the snowy weather. Plus you might get some good vines out of your dog prancing in their boots.
- Diet – During the cold weather, you should feed your dog more. This helps build up extra fat to help them tolerate the cold.
- Comfortable blanket and bedding – Make sure your dog can access a warm bedding and blanket whenever he is inside the house. The bedding should be off the ground. Consider getting him a safe house to protect him from the cold when outside the house.
- Stay dry – The dog should be kept dry always. Quickly dry him up if he gets wet. Gently wipe them with a towel and remove wet coats.
If you own a pet, it’s your responsibility to ensure its general health and well-being. You should strive to keep them dry, warm and safe. On the extreme end of things, severe cold can be deadly for pets – same way it is for humans. If left in the cold for long, dogs risk hypothermia with may result in cardiac arrest. Taking the necessary precautions will keep your dog from getting sick, saving you from those trips to the emergency vet clinic.