Despite the popular misconception, fur alone is not enough to protect dogs from the elements. Like people, dogs have varying degrees of cold tolerance.
Hypothermia in pets
Even the hardiest breeds are susceptible to hypothermia. Pets can die from hypothermia, where decreased core body temperature decreases circulation to organs, brain, and limbs. Luckily, hypothermia can be easy to avoid by taking a few precautions.
1. Ask Us About Cold Weather Protection.
Arthritis can worsen in the cold months, increasing stiffness and discomfort. Several key strategies can help keep your older dog comfortable and active in cold weather, and we’re eager to share this information with you at your next appointment.
2. Know Your Dog’s Cold Tolerance.
Although all dogs are at risk in cold, wet weather, some are better able to handle a dip in temperatures. Huskies and other Artic breeds are certainly more comfortable in cold weather than breeds such as grey hounds. Consider that old, young, thin-coated, and wet dogs are at greater risk for hypothermia.
3. Take Shorter Walks With Your Dog.
All dogs need daily exercise year-round, but in extreme temperatures, shorter, more frequent walks are preferable to extended walks. Don’t forget about playtime at home, either.
4. Beware of Antifreeze & Sidewalk De-Icers.
Antifreeze dripping under cars can be deadly to dogs, even in small amounts. And rock salt used to melt ice on sidewalks and road ways can cause irritation to dogs’ paws. Take care where you walk your dog to avoid these substances.
5. Some Dogs Need Warm Sweaters or Rain Coats.
Small dogs have a larger surface area for their body size and benefit from a warm, dry coat or sweater during cold weather. Dogs with short fur, even large dogs such as Whippets or Vislas, also appreciate dog clothing. And any dog would benefit from a rain coat around here this time of year!
6. Don’t Leave Your Dog Outside Too Long.
While dogs need exercise, they also need warmth and comfort. Leaving dogs outdoors in the cold make them miserable and some develop frostbite or die. Make sure your dog has access to a warm, comfortable place to rest and isn’t outdoors too long when temperatures are low.
7. Dogs Should Always Have Access to Fresh Water, Even When Outdoors.
Be sure your dog’s water bowl isn’t frozen and don’t use a metal bowl outdoors in cold weather because your dog’s tongue can get stuck! (Think of the flag pole when you were a kid). Heated water dishes are available for outside to prevent frozen water dishes.