Not all dogs out there are suited for cold temperatures. In other words, different dogs feel different in outdoor temperatures. While some dog breeds can tolerate colder temperatures like a champ, others will quickly start to shiver as soon as the temperature drops.
For instance, breeds like huskies or Labradors are acclimated to be outside, even in chilling weather. Their double-layered coat keeps them well-insulated at all times. So, they won’t fall sick, even when you leave them outside in snowy conditions.
On the other hand, breeds like Chihuahua’s, Dobermans don’t fare well in cold temperatures. If not dressed warmly in cold climates, they can land up in big trouble. So, don’t leave them outside in the winter for any length of time.
In short, heavily coated dogs tolerate cold temperatures better than dogs with thin coats. Generally speaking, most cold-averse dog breeds get uncomfortable when the outside temperature drops below 45°F.
Anything below 20°F, the adverse effects can be more than expected. From shivering, lack of movement, anxiety, frostbite, hypothermia, and more, pet dogs can suffer from a host of health issues in low-degree temperatures.
Of course, you should think of the wind chill as well. The temperature may be in the low 40s, but the wind chill can make it feel more chilling than usual. So, do consider the chilling effect of the wind to see what the temperature actually feels like.
If you live in a cold place, at least take your dogs out once for elimination. Dress them well, and provide them with a sheltered spot to do their business. Shovel the snow from an area, if necessary.
Keep in mind that even the thickest fur can be no match for below-freezing temperatures. So, do not allow your pet dog to roam outside for too long without supervision, even if he is made for the cold seasons.
If it’s too cold for you to remain outdoors, then it’s probably too cold for your pet dog as well. This is a time-tested way to gauge whether or not you should leave your pet dog outdoors for too long.
What should you do for your furry friend during winter?
Regardless of the age and breed, keep them indoors during cold seasons. Senior and young dogs, in particular, should avoid staying outdoors for too long. This means that you will have to limit their outdoor playtime and walk time.
Depending on how cold it is, you can limit the walk to 15-20 minutes. If it’s too cold, then a 10-minute walk should be fine as well. You can try to squeeze a few short walks twice or thrice a day. If your schedule allows, 4-5 walk breaks can be considered as well.
When you bring your pets home from the outdoor walk, make sure to clean their paw pads to get rid of the salt and other chemicals stuck in their paws. If the dogs lick their salted feet (which they normally do), it can cause mouth irritation.
As far as the dog’s housing needs are concerned, make sure that the house is not too big or too small. The surface should ideally be a few inches off the ground. Moreover, the house must be facing away from the wind.
To keep them warm, you should also get them dog sweaters. Of course, the chosen sweater must keep them warm without weighing them down a lot. Make it a point to measure your dogs properly before purchasing the sweater.
It goes without saying, you should not think of trimming their hair during wintertime. After all, why get rid of the natural body shield? Let the coat grow throughout the winter. You can trim them later once the winter months are over.
Also, switch to plastic dishes in lieu of metal dishes. For those who don’t know, a dog’s tongue can stick to cold metal dishes. This usually happens when the metal dishes are left outside for too long in the wintertime.
Never keep your dogs unattended for too long during cold nights. If things go wrong, your dogs can suffer from hypothermia. The longer they are left unattended, the worse it can get for them. Believe it or not, hypothermia in dogs can cause death as well.
If you have left your pets outside, give them access to come inside. When the survival instinct kicks in, they shouldn’t face a hard time finding a warm place for themselves. They should have the ability to remain warm/safe when the outside temperature drops too low.