All about dogs & cats – With frigid temperatures getting low enough to affect our daily lives, dog owners are being warned not to keep their puppies indoors. But for many pet owners, it can mean an increase in depressive, fearful and destructive behaviors as dogs create outlets to saturate their minds and bodies. Dogs need regular stimulation and exercise, so a day indoors is enough to drive some dogs a little crazy.
But how do you know when it’s too cold for regular walks or play at the dog park?
First, consider the size of your dog. Different breeds have very different temperature tolerances – Huskies can tolerate cold temperatures longer than Chihuahuas! Typically, temperatures below -5°C can be life-threatening for small dogs. Temperatures below -10°C are best avoided for medium and large dogs, although this varies by breed.
Long- and double-haired dogs do better in cold weather than short- and single-haired dogs. On sunny days, dogs with dark coats can stay warm because their coats absorb heat from the sun. Overweight dogs have extra insulation that provides more warmth than skinny dogs. Every dog is unique, and their tolerance to cold varies widely. Adult dogs also have better cold tolerance than puppies or older dogs.
Also consider weather conditions. On cold days, if the weather is a few degrees cooler than the recommended temperature, your dog may be fine. However, other factors such as cold winds or blowing snow may mean waiting for warmer weather. Freezing rain can be especially dangerous, so avoid going outside entirely.
It’s also important to make sure your dog is prepared for the weather. Dog boots keep paws clean and warm and prevent icing between toes. Dog coats also provide an insulating barrier to toast. Dress appropriately for the weather; from lightweight sweaters to arctic parkas, there’s a solution for every temperature.
Pay close attention to your dog when you are outside in cold temperatures. If they seem to lift their claws off the ground, they are too cold. If they are shaking, let them in as soon as possible. Try not to get too far from home in case you need to get back in a hurry.
SIGNS YOUR DOG IS TOO COLD
Regardless of breed, size, or age, your puppy may be indicating that he or she is too cold or uncomfortable. Watch for these signs:
- Shaking or shivering
- Lifting or licking paws
- Tucked tail
- Slowing down
Tips for getting your dog out on cold days
When the temperature is below freezing, keep walking short distances.
For dogs with light coats, a coat or sweater will provide extra protection and warmth.
The boots protect the puppy’s paws when freezing and protect him from de-icing and salt that can damage the paws.
On cold days, keep these tips in mind when deciding when it’s too cold to walk your dog.
If you find your dog locked up in the cold winter, try going out for a few small sprints throughout the day, if possible. To keep your dog engaged, challenged and stimulated, try to get creative by teaching him new tricks or playing games. For example, hide snacks around the house for a fun scavenger hunt, or try learning fun tricks from YouTube. Extra cuddling time can also be a fun cure for cold weather blues. Be sure to check weather warnings before taking your dog outside in the winter.