How to protect dogs from cold weather: Dogs were recorded to be the first domesticated carnivore. In the 18th Century Dogs were referred to as “Man’s best friend”. Over the years the relationship between humans and this wolf-like species has increased, not just because of their domestic nature or charming looks but because of the several roles they perform; companionship, security, hunting, etcetera.
As a matter of fact, their long association with humans has made them uniquely attuned to human behavior and the atmospheric environment. Hence, while their level of tolerance may outweigh ours simply because many people think they have a layer of fur protecting them, they equally feel the effect of the changes in times and seasons; winter, autumn, spring, and summer.
You probably have an idea as to what to do when your dog faces the warm/hot weather, its risks, and necessary percussion. But do you know how to protect your dog when the weather becomes cold, harsh, and freezing? Do you know how to keep your dog warm?
Here are some tips for you!
How to keep the dog warm in the car
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, leaving your dog in a freezing car can be as dangerous as leaving him in a hot car. Therefore, it is generally advised that dogs remain indoors during cold weather, most especially when the cold is extreme.
However, when it is absolutely necessary for your dog to be taken on a ride, to keep him warm and protected, you must
- Consider a dog-coat or sweater
- Keep the heater running and
- Do not leave him in the car for more than five minutes especially when the outside temperature is freezing.
Although when compared to hot weather, the risks of a dog in a cold car are limited, however, you must ignore the fact that fast cars can cool down in winter, it often feels like a refrigerator and can make your dog chilly and uncomfortable and in fact at the risk of causing him hypothermia.
What temperature is too cold for a dog?
While cold may not affect some dogs like Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies which are specially bred to work in cold weather, most of the other dogs that don’t have a thick fur to naturally keep them warm need to be protected from the cold and kept warm when the temperature generally falls below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, dogs come in different breeds and their immune systems equally vary either because of their age (such as small dogs and older dogs) or as mentioned above, their fur, therefore you must be sensitive enough to know if your dog requires a coat even when the temperature is 60 degrees Fahrenheit or if it can go without a coat even when the temperature is below 45 degrees. But when the temperature drops below 20 degrees, know that even dogs bred for cold weather need a coat. Also if your dog has an injury, you might consider a boot on the injured paw or leg to prevent infections.
To discover when your dog is cold, you could keep an eye out for the following signs: shivering, feeling their ears, anxiousness, whining, or slowing down, they may also start a search out for a warm place to lie down. Always remember that a dog gets cold just like us!
Do dogs need blankets?
Apart from a dog-coat or sweater, you can also protect and keep your dog warm with a blanket. Yes! You can. As a matter of fact, some dogs need a blanket to keep them warm even when in thick coats. This is however subject to the following factors: environment, the breed of your dog, its age, health, weight, and the available home heating conditions.
Environment: Where a dog resides in an environment that often gets cold and snowy, if proper attention is not given to his health, he stands at risk of hypothermia which often occurs when the body temperature of a dog drops below 99-95 Fahrenheit.
Breed: as mentioned above, certain dogs are bred specially for working in cold weather; such dogs usually would not require much warmth in cold weather. Dogs with long and thick hair or fur equally have a higher level of cold tolerance compared to those with thin and short hair, or dogs that get their hair trimmed.
Age: Older dogs have weaker immune systems and joints; hence they require a lot of protection and warmth during cold weather. Small dogs are usually fragile and have their bellies closer to the ground which puts them at the risk of constant contact with the cold floor, snow or water when without a thick coat or blanket to keep them warm.
Weight: Fat dogs or overweight dogs can manage a cold-weather way above underweight dogs, hence it is important to consider the weight of your dog when deciding if he needs a blanket or not.
Home heating conditions: most dog owners do not take cognizance of this but it goes a long way in determining what level of warmth your dog might require especially when indoors. Some dogs might require a dog-house with its own heating conditions depending on his health and environment.
How can I keep my small dog warm?
Just like human babies or toddlers require the special attention of their parents to survive, a small dog equally requires the protection of his owner, especially in cold weather. They need to be dressed warmly at all times (note: in cold weather), they need a coat for a walk or playtime outside, this is because they do not have the ability to generate enough body heat for themselves like the middle-aged or bigger dogs would. Small dogs often also require blankets alongside coats to protect them in very cold weather.
Conclusively, always wipe out the paw or leg of your dogs after a walk in the snow or misty grass; this is to protect them from taking in poisonous contents of toxic chemicals like antifreeze or de-icers when they lick their paws.
With all these percussions, your dog is sure to survive the cold, stable in health, and warm!