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Protecting Dogs from Cold Weather

Updated: Mar 2, 2021

Fremont Community: If you see any pet left outside and suffering, please contact us at 402-979-8800 or call the Fremont Police at 402-727-2677.

Protecting Dogs from Cold Weather

To start with, it is a well-known fact that dogs do not cope very well with hot weather. People go to lengths to keep their dogs out of warm environments that could see them quickly become overheated, and rightly so.

However, not as many people know about the effects of cold weather on dogs. If you live in an area that experiences harsh winters with extremely cold temperatures, it is important to take care when your dog is exposed to the elements.

How can dogs be affected by the cold weather?

Just like humans, dogs can experience hypothermia and frostbite if left outside in cold weather without adequate protection. Areas that aren’t covered by their furry coat such as their noses, paws or the end of their tails, are susceptible to suffering cold-related conditions.

If you have unwittingly exposed your dog to cold weather and suspect frostbite, it is important to get to an emergency veterinarian as soon as you can.

According to a professional at Fishtown Animal Hospital in Philadelphia, you should start monitoring and protecting your dog from the cold when the temperature drops to below 50 degrees.

Is your dog too cold?

There are a number of situational cues and factors that increase the risk of your dog suffering from the cold temperatures.

Firstly, consider whether they are a puppy, a senior dog, pregnant or carrying any existing illnesses. All of these dogs will be much more likely to react poorly to cold temperatures than middle-aged, healthy dogs.

If you are wondering whether your dog is too cold, here are a number of signs you should pay attention to:

  • Do they refuse to walk? If you are trying to take your dog for a walk and they appear reluctant, do not chalk this up to a poor attitude or some funny behavior. They might be trying to tell you that they cannot cope with the cold temperatures outside.

  • Do they shiver? A clearly visible symptom of being too cold, you should try to warm your dog up if they are shivering. Since we shiver quite often as humans, it might be tempting to dismiss this sign as nothing serious, but you should pay attention if your dog is shivering.

  • Do they drag you home? If your dog tries to take you back home, that is a surefire sign that they simply do not want to be exposed to the elements any longer. Always remember that your dog cannot communicate how cold they are feeling with their voice, so take their actions seriously.

What can you do to keep your dog warm?

If you are spending some time outside with your dog during the harsh winter months, there are a few actions you can take to make sure your furry friend doesn’t feel too cold!

  • Consider a dog coat or sweater. If your dog is happy wearing clothes, think about dressing them in a long, turtleneck coat that covers them from neck to tail. This is especially important for smaller dogs, since they are often less accustomed to cold weather than large, winter-ready dogs.

  • Use dog footwear. There are plenty of dog boots or socks to help protect paws from the cold. They also work to prevent contact with deicing chemicals and salt used on roads in winter. However, it is no guarantee that your dog will tolerate footwear, so be sure to check for any uncomfortable build-up of ice or snow on their paws.

  • Give them some heated bedding. It isn’t too difficult to find microwaveable heat pads that can be inserted into your dog’s bedding on especially cold nights.

  • Don’t leave them alone in a car. Just as you mustn’t when the weather is warm, make sure you don’t leave your dog alone in a car for any length of time. A stationary car quickly cools down and the temperature can drop very fast.

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