December 9, 2019
For most of the US, frigid temperatures have arrived as winter is here! It is a great time of the year for those of us who enjoy building snowmen, enjoying a warm cup of hot chocolate, and relaxing in front of a cozy fireplace reading a good book.
Although this time of the year can be refreshing after a long hot summer, we need to be cognitive of how our fur-legged friends handle freezing temperatures. This article will go over a few essential health and safety tips that will allow your pup to enjoy the fresh winter air yet remain safe and healthy in it.
If You Are Cold, Your Puppy Is Cold Too!
Your pup is a part of the family, and although he enjoys the beauty of nature and spending time outside, it is never recommended that a puppy “lives” outside. If you’re cold, your pup is too, and regardless of your pup’s breed, spending extended periods of time in frigid weather is not healthy or safe. Even if you were wearing a fur coat, you would not want to spend several hours outside in the cold, and your pup does not want to either.
Everything In Moderation
Let your fur-ever friend “enjoy” being outside. He loves to burn off extra energy and dash through the snow. And although this is healthy and safe for your pup, it needs to be allowed in moderation. Monitor him while outside, especially in frigid weather. Younger and healthy pups tend to handle these conditions much better than senior pups or pups who have medical issues. Certain breeds with thicker and or double-layered coats, such as Akitas, Bichon Frises, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds, tend to better handle cold weather than breeds with thinner coats, such as French Bulldogs, Pomeranians, and Pugs. Regardless of the breed, all dogs will eventually get cold and need a warm shelter. Remember, the purpose of letting your puppy outside is so he can enjoy himself, have fun, and feel good!
Known Effects On Pups That Are Left Outside In The Cold
Like people, dogs can experience pain and severe medical conditions if left outside in cold weather. These conditions can begin as minor shivering and discomfort and extend all the way to death. It is very important to understand that your pup is a living being, and like a human, can only sustain freezing temperatures for a certain period of time. Below are known issues and symptoms that dogs experience when left outside in freezing weather. Knowing what to look for can save your pup’s life.
Shivering is a common initial symptom that takes place when a dog is too cold. His body naturally begins to shiver in an effort to stay warm. Although shivering will temporarily help him maintain his body temperature, it is not effective for more than a few minutes.
Moaning and howling take place due to discomfort. Essentially, your puppy is in pain from the cold weather, which is affecting his body. Moaning and howling are his way of expressing it and asking for help. Never ignore these early signs as they can quickly lead to very serious issues.
Frostbite is a condition/injury to body tissues caused by exposure to extreme cold. This typically affects your dog’s nose, paws, and or ears and creates a painful burning sensation. If the affected area is not tended to, the condition can quickly escalate to much more severe health issues.
Hypothermia sets in upon the dog’s internal body temperature dropping below safe levels. This condition slows your dog’s heart rate and breathing down to very unsafe levels, which can lead to neurological problems. Your puppy’s kidney functions also rapidly begin to decrease during this health emergency. Essentially, your puppy is beginning to freeze to death. If not immediately treated, your dog can fall into a coma, which often leads to permanent health issues and even death.
Ways To Keep Your Puppy Temporarily Warm And Content While Outside In The Cold
Puppy coats and jackets add an extra layer of insulation for your dog. Look for coats that offer a water-resistant outer layer and several layers of insulated inner material. The purpose of a coat is to help trap natural body heat in and to keep cold air and water/snow out.
Puppy boots are another great way to keep your fur-ever friend warm and safe in the cold. These boots offer a significant layer of protection for your pup’s paws, which are sensitive and vulnerable to frostbite. They also prevent your pup from experiencing dried and cracked paw pads caused by ice and the salt used on many sidewalks and walkways.
For pups that struggle with pup boots, a fantastic alternative is an amazing product called Paw Guard. This easy to apply product quickly rubs directly onto your pup’s paw pads and off he goes! It provides excellent protection in both cold and hot weather and its moisturizing qualities help keep your fur-ever friend’s paw pads soft and smooth. For more information on this terrific product learn more here: https://www.fourpaws.com/all-products/health-wellness/healing-care-healthy-promise-paw-guard-with-lanolin
Make sure your pup stays hydrated, even in the cold. A dehydrated pup’s body will not function and work to stay warm the same way that a hydrated pup’s body will. Be sure to have fresh drinking water available for your puppy before, during, and after playing outside.
After Playtime Is Over
After your fur-ever friend had his fill of playing, he should be brought inside and allowed to warm up. Generally, it takes dogs several minutes for their body temperature to stabilize on their own. Have a soft and warm blanket for him readily available to recuperate on. Many dogs will also cuddle up near a heating element in your home. During this warmup process, allow your pup to have a few minutes of calm and quiet time.
We all love our puppies like family and only want the best for them. Taking the time to make sure your puppy feels great and is well taken care of is very important. This is an excellent way to assure years of loving companionship and a very happy dog.