Is Your Dog Too Cold?

by | Dog Care |

dog in long scarf and booties

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Not all dogs respond the same way to the same temperature. There are different factors that affect your dog’s ability to stay warm, including thickness of coat, age, size, and health. While some dogs seem better equipped to handle the cold than others, all dog owners should familiarize themselves with the warning signs of an overly cold dog. Pay close attention to subtle indicators that something isn’t right with your dog, like changes in your dog’s comfort and activity levels, behaviour, and changes in how your dog carries itself.

Remember to never leave your dog unattended inside a cold car, and 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

Signs of hypothermia

If you suspect your dog is displaying signs of hypothermia, wrap your dog in a blanket or coat, seek a warm shelter, and contact your vet immediately. Signs to watch for include the following:

  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Slow, shallow breathing
  • Lack of mental alertness
  • Fixed and dilated pupils
  • Stupor-like state
  • Loss of consciousness

Although your dog may have physical indicators that indicate it’s too cold, you shouldn’t wait to see the first signs of discomfort to call your walk quits. If you think it’s too cold for you, then it’s too cold for your dog.

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 pet’s exercise with some indoor activities for dogs.