Baby It's cold outside! And you're wondering if your dog bed is enough to keep your dog warm. If you aren't sure whether your pup needs more to keep her warm, ask them! Just kidding.
As dog owners, wouldn’t it be so much easier if we could just ask our dogs whether they are comfortable or not. But since we can't do that, it takes getting to know your dog's personality and preferences, and reading some clues.
As a general rule, larger dogs and dogs with thicker coats can handle cooler temperatures. Alaskan malamutes and Siberian huskies, for instance, are bred for cold weather work.
Smaller dogs and dogs with a short coat (and no undercoat) will not cope well with frigid temperatures, such as Chihuahuas, whippets, and greyhounds. Generally thin haired dogs need more cold weather protection because their bodies just can't generate enough heat. The Pedigree Foundation says that puppies will always need a coat to go outside in cold weather.
However, remember that even a thick coat can only insulate your dog so much – its ears, nose, tail and paws are more exposed than the rest of its body.
1. Provide a warm, cozy place to sleep
A soft bed should provide plenty of warmth for your pup during the winter. A soft thick blanket your dog can snuggle in to is also a great idea. If your dog is shivering, staying curled up in a ball, or refusing to go outside, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary explains that those are clues your dog is not tolerating the cold.
2. Get your dog a jacket or sweater
Obviously some breeds with lush coats, such as huskies and malamutes, can cope with cold weather more easily than breeds with little or no hair. For breeds such as greyhounds, miniature pinschers, chihuahuas and whippets, get your pooch a doggie jacket or sweater to wear when you’re outdoors together.
To ensure a proper fit, measure your dog’s size around the neck, across the shoulders and around the chest. Look for designs that provide a snug but not too tight fit, and one that’s free of irritating zippers or embellishments that could be a choking hazard.
3. Provide adequate shelter when outdoors
4. Protect and inspect your dog’s paws
In cold weather it’s prudent to pay your dog’s paws a little extra attention. Your dog’s bare paws are susceptible to frostbite.
Snow on the ground can also disguise dangerous objects that can harm the paws.
After your dog returns from being outside, check its feet for cuts or abrasions, and wipe away frost or snow. Look for any cracking or drying of the pads on your dogs feet.
5. Protect against hypothermia
If a dog is left outdoors in very cold weather, its body temperature can fall below normal levels, which could lead to hypothermia.
Mild hypothermia makes dogs weak and inactive, and they can’t stop shivering. As hypothermia worsens, dogs become unresponsive, and their breathing and heart rate slow. If you notice any of these symptoms, get your dog to a warm place immediately, and take it to the vet in case intravenous fluids need to be administered. Keep your dog warm on the way there with a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel.
Other important winter safety tips for your dog
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