“Cool” test: How to tell if your dog is too cold

by | Dog Care |

No matter what the weather, your dog probably enjoys having a romp outside – and that includes during the winter! But as their caregiver, it’s important you know when your dog is too cold, and needs to get back inside.

Remember to never leave your dog unattended inside a car, at any time of year, but especially in the heat of summer and cold of winter. If you’re playing outside with your dog, make sure to take frequent indoor breaks for your dog to warm up and hydrate.

Signs that can indicate your dog is too cold
  • Shaking or shivering
  • Hunched posture with a tucked tail
  • Whining or barking
  • Change in behaviour, like seeming anxious or uncomfortable
  • Reluctance to keep walking or tries to turn around
  • Seeks places for shelter
  • Lifts paw off the ground
Prolonged exposure to the cold can result in frostbite and hypothermia (drop in body temperature)

Wrap your furry friend in a blanket or coat, seek a warm shelter and immediate veterinary support for your furry family member if you see any of the following:

  • Frostbite (can take several days to develop)
    • Often presents on the extremities (ears, legs, paws, tail)
    • Pale, cold skin that can be and painful to touch
    • May develop redness, swelling and blisters of exposed skin
    • Skin may turn black
  • Hypothermia (can range from mild to severe)
    • Prolonged shivering
    • Weakness
    • Muscle stiffness
    • Difficulty walking
    • Pale gums
    • Confusion
    • Slow, shallow breathing
    • Loss of consciousness

Though it’s important to pay attention to these things, you shouldn’t wait to see the first signs of discomfort to call your walk or playtime quits. While maintaining your dog’s exercise requirements during the winter is important, when conditions are especially cold it’s a good idea to cut your walk short and supplement your animal’s exercise with some indoor activities and enrichment.

For more on keeping your companion animal safe in the winter, check out these blogs:

Top 5 Pet Gear Picks for Winter

PET HEALTH CORNER: Dog breeds who need winter protection

4 tips for your furry friend’s itchy skin this winter

 

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