It’s winter time, and playing with the dog in the snow and brisk air is a ton of fun but remember the following before you go running outside.
Small dogs, dogs with short coats, or dogs with no undercoat will get cold much faster than dogs with longer coats. Huskies and Malamutes, as well as many other “cold weather” dog breeds fare better in freezing temperatures. However, the breed of your dog does not matter much if your dog is not already accustomed to the cold. In addition, puppies and elderly dogs, or any dog with a health condition will be affected by the cold even faster.
Your dog may also be cold even when you do not think it is cold enough outside for them to be affected. Thus, it is important for you to understand your dog’s own personal needs when outside in the snow and ice. It is also important to remember that your dog’s extremities are going to get cold faster than the rest of its body. Make sure to protect your dog’s ears, paws, and tail.
When your dog has had enough of the cold, or if it is truly suffering it will let you know. Here is a list of signs that will tell you your dog needs to go inside. These are the clues to look for:
If your dog is making eye contact with you, and talking, it is saying “Take me inside please.”
Shivering, as you might expect, is a clear indicator that your dog is cold.
If you are trying to play with your dog, and they have stopped moving, or playing, or they are holding up a paw, it may be time to take the dog inside to warm up. Some dogs may act like they are scared or exhibit signs of anxiety like looking for a place to hide. If you see this kind of behavior, it is probably best to get your dog inside as soon as possible.
Now that you know how to tell if it is too cold for your dog, let’s talk about how to make sure they are as warm as can be while outside in the snow and ice.
One helpful solution for smaller breeds is to outfit them with a coat. Northern breeds, or dogs with heavier coats most likely won’t need a coat and could overheat if wearing one that is unnecessary so be mindful of that when considering this option.
There is a wide variety of coats available for your dog to wear, but two products that stand out are the vests from Hurtta and RC Pets. The vest from Hurtta is made from super soft, padded and laminated water resistant fabric to keep your dog dry, and it is equipped with 3M reflectors as well so your dog will be highly visible at all times while wearing the vest. Both of these factors combined with the easy ton/off zipper make it an excellent choice for cold weather wear for your dog. This vest runs $48.99
The Polaris Reflective vest from RC Pets is made from reflective yarn so you get high visibility with both options. It has a high collar to keep your dog’s neck warm, like a turtleneck. Though the Polaris vest does not feature the same water resistant qualities as the Hurtta vest, the soft, warm reflective yarn will still create an effective barrier between your dog and the cold, keeping them nice and warm. It is also easy to put on through the use of a top zipper, and features collar and leash access.This vest runs $45.99
You may also consider purchasing a heating pad for your dog to lay on when back indoors to help speed up the process of getting them comfortable and warm again. Dogs love sleeping on a nice warm heating pad. A decent heating pad will run you about $20-30. The Thera Pawz pad from Green Pet Shop actually uses your dog’s own body heat, and a bamboo charcoal technology that harnesses that heat to warm the pad and keep it warm without batteries or plugs required.
So there is a wealth of information all about what to look for to tell if your dog is cold, and how to prevent that from happening. If you keep an eye out for these signs, and limit your time outdoors you’ll be sure to have fun in the snow, and make sure your dog is having fun alongside you.