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Is Your Dog Cold? Some Tips to Keep Your Pooch Warm and Cozy This Winter

Dog Playing in Snow

If you’re feeling the cold, chances are your dog is too (unless maybe you own a Husky!). Dogs can get hypothermia and frostbite.

Most dogs will tend to feel cold at about 50 degrees, even if they have a fluffy coat, but your dog may be different. So, watch for signs that your dog is cold and then follow these tips on how to warm them up.

How to Tell if Your Dog is Cold

Dogs communicate very well with your owners. If your dog is cold, chances are they are trying their best to let you know. Here are some things to watch for:

  1. Shivering. Just like people, dogs shiver when they are cold.
  2. Not wanting to go for a walk. If your dog takes one look outside and says no thanks, it might be that they don’t want to go outside in the cold. They might also try to drag you home.
  3. Trying to burrow into warm places. This includes indoors…if you can’t find your dog and there’s a lump in your bed, they might be trying to tell you something.
  4. Holding paws up, or shifting rapidly from one paw to another. This is likely a sign that their feet are cold.
  5. Tucking their tail between their legs. Your dog’s “behind” can get colder faster and they are trying to use their tail to warm it up.
  6. Their ears and nose feel cold.
  7. Cracking or chapping of nose or paws.

Any of these mean your dog needs to be warmed up…or at least will appreciate it. So, how can you warm your dog up?

Some Tips for Warming Up Your Dog

The most obvious thing to do is bring your dog outside. However, cold or not, your dog still needs to go for walks and they may well enjoy playing in the snow. There are also some easy things you can do:

  1. Get them a coat, sweater, or jacket. Short furred dogs are more likely to need a coat than longer furred ones, and greyhounds and chihuahuas tend to feel the cold the most. Look at different weights of coat and ask advice of other owners or your vet if you aren’t sure. Make sure that the coat fits correctly. If your dog isn’t used to wearing clothes, take some time to make them comfortable.
  2. Care for their paws. Wash their paws when they come inside, especially if deicer is being used. If your dog shows signs of cold feet, consider getting them a set of booties. Another alternative is paw wax, which is what sled dog owners use to protect paws in snow and ice. Some dogs won’t tolerate footwear, and wax can work better if they are happier with it.
  3. Add an extra blanket to their bed. If your dog shows signs of being cold while indoors, then they may appreciate an extra blanket to burrow under. If you have a pooch that feels the cold a lot, give them a warming pad. Self-warming pads are great for crates.
  4. When you go out on a walk, put an old towel in the dryer on a low setting. Wrap the dog up in it when they come back to help them warm up quickly.
  5. Don’t leave your dog outside unattended in the winter. If they want to play in the yard, keep an eye on them so you can let them back in as soon as they ask. Keep walks short and brisk…consider taking toys so you can get your dogs to exercise more vigorously for a shorter period of time.
  6. Watch your dog’s weight and increase feed if needed. If your dog drops a few pounds when the temperature drops, then they’re burning too many calories staying warm.

Your dogs can get cold in winter, so make sure that you are paying attention, noting when they are cold, and giving them what they need to warm up. As your dog experts in Lenexa, we can help you with advice on how to properly care for and protect your dog in all circumstances. Contact us to find out more.