How Cold Is Too Cold For Your Dog To Be Outside?

How Cold Is Too Cold For Your Dog To Be Outside?

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As the cold weather approaches, one common question that seems to be on every pet parentโ€™s mind is, โ€œHow cold is too cold?โ€ This question is usually met with a complicated answer but fortunately, there are precautions that you can take to prevent any damage to your dog.Physical activity and good mental stimulation are important for the overall well-being of your dog. But what about during freezing cold weather? Our pets still need physical activity to keep them fit and healthy but do the dangers of going outside outweigh the disadvantages of staying inside? The first thing that pet owners need to understand is that not all pets are the same. There are various ways in which they differ.

Variables That Affect How Different Dogs Feel Differently About The Cold

Some dogs might find the weather warm and cozy while others will run in search of a hot shelter. There are many different variables that can affect how different dogs feel about different climates.

  • Coat color โ€“ Darker colored coats can absorb more sunlight than lighter colors can. So dogs with black, brown and other dark coats are usually warmer than dogs who have lighter coats.
  • Coat type โ€“ Dogs like Siberian Huskies, Samoyeds, or Newfoundlands have double-layered coats that are thicker in comparison to other dogs. These thick coats make them the most tolerant to really cold weather conditions. These breeds are also technically from Northern areas where the climates can drop to drastic numbers so other than their thick coats, they also have physiological, behavioral, and anatomical attributes that make them more tolerant to the cold weather.
  • Weight โ€“ Body fat is a natural insulator. The heavier dogs can withstand much colder conditions than thinner dogs.
  • Size โ€“ Smaller dogs tend to get colder than larger dogs. Mostly because smaller dogs have a larger surface area to volume ratio.
  • Conditioning โ€“ Dogs who have already been accustomed to cold temperatures can handle these conditions much better than dogs who have just been introduced to these conditions.
  • Health and Age โ€“ The very old, the extremely young, or the sicker dogs are not able to regulate their body temperature in accordance with the weather conditions. Healthy dogs that are in the prime of their lives need less protection from the cold.

Different Types Of Cold Weather Conditions

There are factors that you have to consider in order to decide whether the weather is too cold for your dog. The temperature on the thermostat is not the only thing that can determine the climate.

  • Dampness โ€“ Even if the weather isnโ€™t that cold, going for a swim, rain, heavy fog, snow, or anything else that can soak through his fur could chill him to the bone.
  • Wind chill โ€“ When there is a brisk breeze out, it is better to stay inside. A strong enough breeze can cut through your dogโ€™s coat and decrease his ability to insulate against the cold weather.
  • Activity โ€“ If you have an active dog who loves to play, he can generate enough energy needed to keep him cozy even while heโ€™s out in cold weather conditions.
  • Cloud Cover โ€“ Even dogs with darker coats have a hard time staying warm during cloudy days. Dogs need to soak up the warmth of the sun in order to feel warm.

If you find any dog out in the cold that you think may be suffering from hypothermia, call the vet immediately for help. Cold temperatures put dogs and other pets at risk of developing hypothermia and frostbite.

Winter Is Here, Here Are A Few Dangers To Look Out For

Winter is a wonderful tie for most people. But for our pets, it can be quite dangerous. They donโ€™t always have the same protection that we do and that can have adverse effects on their health. Talk to your vet about the best ways to prevent illness and conditions like hypothermia for your pets this winter. Donโ€™t hesitate to take them to the vet when you suspect that something might be wrong.

Winter Hazards You Should Be Aware Of:

  1. HypothermiaWE think that itโ€™s alright for pets to be out in the cold during winter because of their fur coats. However, this doesnโ€™t always protect them against the harsh winter conditions. In fact, they start experiencing hypothermia when their temperature drops below the normal range which is 100 to 102.5ยฐF. Hypothermia is a very serious condition that if you leave it untreated, it could cause heart failure, coma, and even death. In order to preserve the function of the vital organs, your petโ€™s body slows down the blood flow to the extremities and that could lead to frostbite. Watch for paleness or intense shivering as first signs of hypothermia.
  2. AntifreezeThis is always a big danger to pets. Antifreeze is even attractive to pets because of the fact that itโ€™s brightly colored and sweet to the taste. It also contains a dangerous ingredient called ethylene glycol. If a pet is left alone after drinking anti-freeze, the ethylene glycol could possibly even kill them.Watch for these few signs:* Uncoordination or disorientation* Vomiting* DroolingThese signs will soon resolve themselves in exchange for some serious internal injuries. Next, your petโ€™s body will start experiencing seizures, kidney failure, and he could even fall into a coma!
  3. CarsCars are capable of doing various kinds of harm to our pets โ€“ especially during the winter. They like snuggling up next to the exhaust and even under the hood and that can be very dangerous. Itโ€™s easy to miss a cat or a small dog in the intense snow. They might get caught up in parts of the engine or even get run over! Always check in and around the car before you start up the engine and get on your way.
  4. Rock Salt or Sidewalk De-icersThese are salts spread on the road in order to melt the ice. These harsh salts can not only harm your petโ€™s delicate paws, but they can also be a danger to your pet if he consumes it. Most common signs of salt poisoning are diarrhea, vomiting, walking drunk, lethargy etc.
  5. RodenticidesRodenticides contain deadly chemicals which can be potentially fatal to our pets. Although the intensity of the damage depends on the quantity in which itโ€™s ingested, itโ€™s not a good idea to lay out rodenticides where your pets can find them.
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