Not all canines can naturally endure the cold winter. As such, it is important to keep them warm during the winter season. So, what temperature is too cold for your dog? The age, breed, health, and size are the primary factors to consider in determining how well an animal can adapt to frigid temperatures. Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies are some of the breeds that can better tolerate cold weather. The unforgiving cold weather may be a problem with shorthaired or hairless dogs such as the Greyhounds and some toy dogs.
Follow these key points as a general rule:
- With temperatures of 40°F and below, dogs in small to medium sizes may be at risk of having frostbite and hypothermia.
- Temperatures below 30°F should be an indication that canines of all sizes should be taken with extra care.
- With temperatures of 20°F below, smaller dogs should not have longer outdoor exposure.
- With temperatures of 10°F and below, most dogs should not be allowed outdoors.
It is very important to check the wind chill and temperature for the day before you let your dog go outside. Do dogs need blankets in the winter? Is my dog warm enough at night? Fortunately, there are ways to keep dogs warm while outdoors during the winter.
1. Groom your dog appropriately.
Keep your dog’s coat longer in length to act as natural protection against the cold. It will provide more warmth. Long-haired dogs will only need a simple trimming. Trim areas where it is likely to mat and get salt crystals and ice balls which can cause dry skin. Short-haired canines should be provided with a sweater or coat with a high collar.
2. Be mindful on walks during winter.
It is best to settle for shorter walks when the weather is especially cold. Do not follow the same lengths of walks as you do on regular days. Before going on the walk, try applying petroleum jelly or any other paw protectant to his paw pads for more protection from salt agents.
Never allow him to walk on areas with frozen water which includes canals, rivers, lakes, and ponds. We are never sure how thick the ice is to support your canine’s weight. Be quick to dry your pet with a towel after the walk. Check his feet and the spaces in between the toes to remove any snowballs.
The cold weather should not be used as an excuse to skip exercise. Even whilst staying indoors, you can try to play indoor games such as tug-of-war, hiding toys, and ‘fetch’. However, for canines with problems with their joints and hips, walking up and down the stairs should be fine.
3. Lessen bathing sessions and keep them short.
Bathing sessions should be minimised and kept short as it can remove essential oils which may lead to dry and flaky skin during winter.
4. Give him the freedom to choose where to sleep.
Our dogs have their favourite sleeping spots. The choice of location may be based on their need for warmth.
5. Ensure that all vet care examinations are up-to-date.
Get your pet to participate in a preventive care exam. Winter season is bound to worsen some medical complications, especially dog arthritis, osteoarthritis, sooner or later. It is necessary for you to have a discussion with your vet on ways how to keep your arthritic dog comfortable and pain-free during the winter.
6. Keep them sheltered.
Can you keep a dog outside in the winter? Outdoor working dogs need to be protected with a shelter of their own. It should have enough space to move around and compact enough to hold in body heat. Elevate the floor from the ground and put some straw or cedar shavings. Keep in mind that outdoor canines may need more food during winter due to the amount of energy spent.
Provide water and food in plastic bowls instead of metal ones, to avoid your dog’s tongue getting stuck to the frozen metal surface.
Antifreeze is extremely harmful to our four-legged friends as it is poisonous. Ingesting it can be fatal. Look out for areas where there may be antifreeze such as parking lots and leaks and try to steer him away. Luckily, there are pet-safe types of antifreeze that are available in shops. They are manufactured to taste bad so that pets will not be compelled to taste it.