While many pet parents know the dangers of overheating for a dog during the summer, they often don’t consider the cold. Because dogs run at higher temperatures than us and have fur, many believe that they’re prepared for cold weather. However, wintertime can pose particular hazards for our pups, especially if your dog is not acclimated to these temperatures or if they have short coats.
When It’s Too Cold for Dogs
Every dog will tolerate cold weather differently. The factors that go into how well they tolerate cold temperatures will be breed, age, overall health, coat density, and acclimation. Northern breeds like huskies can tolerate cold temperatures best because of their naturally thick coat.
It can take anywhere from one week to a few months for a dog to get acclimated to extreme temperatures.
Outdoor Dog Houses
At Bristly, we believe that no dog should be left out in extreme heat or cold all day. However, outdoor dog houses provide shade during hot summer months that may be beneficial for dogs who love the outdoors.
If your dog wants to stay outside in cold weather, he or she will need a warm, dry dog house away from the cold and wet. An insulated, airtight doghouse can be the perfect solution if it’s raised off the ground a few inches and has a door flap to stop drafts.
Make sure that they also have a lot of bedding inside the dog house that remains dry. Straw and hay may also be a good insulator that’s comfortable.
Signs Your Dog Is Cold
During the winter, even when your dog is indoors, it’s important that you keep an eye on them and look for signs that they are cold. Here are a few signs that will tell you your dog needs an extra blanket or hug:
Refusing to move or obey commands
Lying in a curled position when outside
If you have a dog with a short hair coat, like a chihuahua or event pit bull, consider having them wear sweaters or coats when they go for their walks.
On the other side of this, if you have a dog well acclimated to cold weather, like a husky that spends lots of time outdoors playing in the snow, then a coat may cause some overheating.
Another danger many pet parents don’t consider is frostbite. It can occur on the paw pads, tail, nose, and other extremities. If a dog is left outside for too long, especially on a very cold day, he or she may not be able to move enough to keep the circulation flowing throughout their body.
Frostbite can be dangerous and damaging, so it’s important to again keep a watchful eye on your dog and their behavior.
Create Warming Stations
After coming in from a walk or playing in the snow, make sure your dog has a nice play to settle down and get warm. As you know, dogs love lying in sunny spots on the floor. Take advantage of the heat from the natural light that comes into your home by adding a few blankets to their favorite sunny spot. This will allow them to warm up much faster and more comfortably.
If your house is still too cold for your dog, make sure that they have tons of blankets available to nestle into if you’re not there. Remember, don’t lower the thermostat too far in your house when you leave because your dog still needs to be comfortable.