by Shannon Lattin
As winter sets in, out from our closets come scarves, mittens and woolen hats. But what about our furry friends?
While a dog's natural coat provides some protection from the weather, he still gets cold.
How to Know if Your Dog is Chilly
Just like people, dogs shiver when cold! But don't rely on this as the sole indicator of discomfort: watch for other signs, as well.3
Strange posture or behavior
If your pet is moving slowly, lifting his paws or looking anxious, he may be struggling with the temperature.4
Keep an eye on your dog's breathing. Labored breaths may mean he's suffering. 3
Believe it or not, a pet that's sleepier than usual might be feeling the chill. 3
Just as many people experience dry skin in winter, dry and flaky skin on your dog can be a symptom low cold tolerance.3
What Affects Your Dog's Cold-Tolerance?
A healthy coat is your dog's first defense against the winter chill, allowing him to regulate his temperature more effectively.7 Depending on your dog's breed, his coat may thicken naturally as cooler weather sets in.1
Smaller and short-haired breeds will struggle more with dropping temperatures than larger dogs or dogs bred for outdoor romping.5
If your pup is lean, he'll feel the cold more than a dog carrying a bit of extra weight.1
Your dog is most cold-hardy during the prime of his life. If he's still a puppy, recovering from illness or getting on in years, he'll be a bit more vulnerable to cold weather.4
Keeping Your Dog Warm
Offer a warm indoor bed
- Position your dog's bed in a warm part of the home. 3 Cold floors? Raise his bed off the ground. 1
- Extra cold floors? A heated mat might be the ticket. 1
- Take shorter walks.8
- Watch for signs your dog is ready to head indoors. 8
- Try indoor exercises, like playing fetch up and down the stairs. 8
- Measure carefully for a snug, comfortable fit. 2
- Go for easily washable material.2
- Think about a waterproof option. 2
Prevent dry skin and maintain a healthy coat
A diet rich in protein and essential fatty acids encourages coat growth, strength and healthy oil production.7
Bathe your dog regularly, and consider a natural shampoo to avoid drying agents. Also, brush his coat often to get rid of excess hair.