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When do Dogs Get Cold?

When do Dogs Get Cold?

Many people are under the impression that dogs have a better capability of surviving cold temperatures than humans. However, that is not entirely true. Dogs do feel cold when the temperatures drop. This article provides more information about the same.
Batul Nafisa Baxamusa
It does not come as a surprise to most vets that people are under the general notion that dogs tolerate cold better. Dogs do have fur coats, but it is of no help during a bitter cold. They are just as sensitive as people to a drop in the temperature. If the outside temperature falls below 50 ºF, small to medium-sized dogs begin to feel a cold nip. Larger dogs can, however, tolerate temperatures up to 40 ºF. The temperature at which you begin to feel cold, so does your dog.

You should always thoroughly research the breed that your dog belongs to. There are a few dog breeds that can tolerate winter and snow. These dogs are especially bred for colder climates. Their coat is able to repel water and snow, and insulate their body better. Dogs with a double coat are able to stay warmer than those with a single coat, as they lack an undercoat. Young pups and older dogs are more sensitive to a drop in temperature than those in the prime of their lives. If the outdoor temperature falls to 20 ºF or less, you should not allow your dog to spend time outdoors, as temperatures as low as these can cause frostbite and paw injuries.

Do Dogs Feel Cold at Night?
Dogs who are left to sleep in their outdoor dens tend to suffer a miserable night. They feel cold, and shiver all night long. When you feel the temperature dropping, it will be a wise thing to bring your pet dog inside to sleep. Leaving a dog to sleep outside in the bitter cold is cruel and should be avoided at any cost, especially if it is a breed that cannot tolerate winter. If the dog is left outside for long at very low temperatures, it can even suffer from hypothermia.

Breeds Suited for Cold Weather
If you live in a place that is battered by severe cold each year, then you should probably adopt a dog suited for a cold climate. This will help prevent winter health problems which affect the dog that is not suitable for the same. The following is a list of dogs who fare better in winter than other breeds.
  • Akita Inu
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Bernese Mountain Dog
  • Great Pyrenees
  • Samoyed
  • Siberian Husky
  • Tibetan Mastiff
  • Chow Chow
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever
  • Bouvier des Flandres
  • Bearded Collie
  • Black Russian Terrier
  • Old English Sheepdog
  • Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
  • Shiba Inu
  • American Eskimo Dog
Winter Care for Dogs
Dogs do have fur, but it is not enough to help them survive a severely cold weather. You should never leave your dog outdoors for long periods of time. Puppies and older dogs should not be allowed outside as they cannot tolerate very low temperatures. The dog shelter should be kept warm, dry, and away from cold air drafts. Make sure you provide your dog with plenty of warm blankets and pillows to sleep on. You should avoid walking him/her on snow, slush, or water. This may lead to a foot injury. If possible, take shorter walks. To prevent any kind of injury and snow getting stuck between your dog's paws, get some dog booties. These will also help protect him/her from the cold ground. If you do not have dog booties, make him/her wear a child's old mittens or socks. You will have to get him/her accustomed to these booties or socks (if possible, right from puppyhood), as some dogs do not like wearing them.

Groom your dog regularly to keep the coat healthy. Long-haired dogs tend to get their hair matted and dirty. This reduces the insulation factor of the thick, long coat. So, make sure you brush the coat regularly to keep him/her well-insulated. Dogs that actively spend time outdoors during winter need to be fed 10% more food than they usually eat. The extra calorie intake helps to provide them with the extra energy needed to keep them warm. However, this is absolutely not necessary for dogs that are mostly indoors. Consult your vet before making any changes in your dog's diet, as increasing the food intake unnecessarily will lead to weight issues.

Also, provide him/her with fresh, clean water. Do not assume that the snow and ice will be a good substitute for water. It is not. Buy sweaters, caps, and mittens that are made specially for dogs, and make your pet wear these as winter protection clothes. Take good care of your pet during harsh colds especially if it is a small dog breed, has short hair, or was not bred to survive cold temperatures.