Is My Dog Cold?
Reasons and solutions to keep your dog at the right temperature avoiding complications that may even make you sick.
Despite how widespread the idea is that dogs have enough with their fur (especially those with long hair) and the fat layer under it, to cope with the cold at any temperature, is a mistake. In general, it can be said that although the breed influences, if you are cold, the dog will also have it. It is not a fashion that has now changed, it is simple science, the most basic. The dog’s usual body temperature is between 38.5 ° C and 38.8 ° C, considering that ours is between 35 ° C and 37 ° C, to reach the optimum temperature of a dog, it takes more heat than to reach ours, that’s where their hair and fat layers larger than ours come in, so a dog feels the cold almost like you.
External signs to identify if a dog is cold.
As there are people who have a different perception of cold or heat than most, since because of different causes they are usually hotter or colder than others, we can all identify whether or not they feel it by a series of external signs:
- Muscle stiffness or lack of mobility
- Slow and awkward breathing
- Dry skin
- In extreme cases: End of the tail or some other part numb.
Please, if you notice any of these symptoms help you to warm up immediately. In the latter case, also massaging the area and if you do not see soon better, take it to the vet.
Care for winter.
Dogs need a series of basic care to better cope with the winter, not only to better tolerate the cold but to prevent them from getting sick from exposure to it. And more, one like this one that we are going through, in which a few days ago we have seen the Mediterranean beaches covered with snow. Fundamentally the ideal is a dry and warm environment. This also serves for your accessories like clothes, bed, hair, etc. Winter cares are those that are meant to safeguard your dog from the cold and avoid possible discomfort and even illness.
1.- Provides a good place of refuge.
Avoid having your dogs outside. Even dogs such as Alaskan Malamutes, Siberian Huskies and Chow Chows, which are typical of low temperature areas need warmth and shelter. Worst are the cold temperatures for Dobermans, toy dogs, short-haired or shaved – at the right height, always – and English hares, among others. Also puppies should not be outdoors at low temperatures ever, since they do not have the thermoregulatory ability conveniently developed yet.
There are those who think that you should leave the possibility for the dog to choose to be between the conveniently located outside shelter and your house. My opinion is no. You are the one who decides, not the dog. The dog in or out of the house, not coming in and out, because you do not let the orders clear or you give him to understand that they do not exist is the dog, which leads to disaster in the coexistence.
How is the ideal shelter for cold outside?
- – Walls, floor and ceiling insulated from the outside.
- – Roof sloping and in perfect condition (without cracks or leaks).
- – Suitable system for animals: Wiring, on / off system, thermostat, power supply, etc.
- – Resting place or bed.
- – Be raised from the ground between 10 and 15 cm (4 to 6 inches), so that rain does not enter the interior of the house.
- – Protected entrance but easy access and exit.
- – Maximum and minimum thermometer.
- – Sign to protect it from the wind.
As a general rule, if the house is not warm and adequate enough for you to spend the night there, then it is not suitable for your dog to do so.
The bed or resting place is fundamental mainly so that the dog identifies its site and also can rest properly. Dogs instinctively seek indoors radiators and fireplaces, be careful and watch that there is no possibility that they may get burned. Bed models are of all types and conditions, so you can choose the one that matches your taste, the decor of your house and the preferences of your dog as well as its size.
Depending on the type of floor you have at home, I advise that between the floor and the cot put a special electric blanket for pets. Do not experiment with products not intended for them! These are already designed for pets, so that they can not burn or electrocute and there are even some that do not even work with electricity.
Many have seen how if you leave a blanket beside a dog’s bed, they will cover up. Obviously this is because they feel good. It is true that there are tastes for everything, and dogs that are the exception to the rule. But we can usually say that dogs like blankets to stay warm. I advise that in addition to the usual house (have at least two to change while one is washing), always carry another in the car as a precaution.
Under extreme temperatures your dog should be protected. Do not take it to the street without a coat, sweater, windbreaker or raincoat. Even for dogs that do not like the feeling of «dressing» there are some blankets that fit perfectly to the body and do not move so they can give their ride in optimal conditions without getting sick.
As in any season you must take your dog for a walk, but at low temperatures you have to keep in mind that with a shorter ride you will also be well exercised. You can also do extra exercise and games indoors. Choose the central hours of the day, in which it is hotter. Avoid the moment when it is snowing or raining, it will not suit you to be wet. Wait until it stops or falls with less intensity. When you return the first thing is to dry completely.
The lead is essential. Not only because most of the legislations warn you but because you will have your dog more controlled and you will quickly avoid possible dangers like an icy surface in which they can slip easily, break a leg or even get to sink into a lake from which you should never go to save him since your life would also come into play, although this situation may be very sad for you.
6.- Legs and Pads.
I advise that your dog wear well trimmed hair around the pads of the legs, will prevent snowballs or ice between them. After each walk you should check the pads for cracks, cuts or foreign bodies. Apply special cream to keep them in perfect condition. Aloe vera is also a good ally.
Ideally, your dog should wear boots for walks, especially on unpaved soils or sidewalks, but when there is snow or ice it is practically obligatory, mainly for prevention. Salt that is added to the soil to prevent frostbite is irritating and chemicals to remove it can be toxic to your pads.
Do not even let yourself be guided by those who say that you do not take your dog to the hairdresser in winter! They are based on the long hair will protect them more from the cold and you will cut your hair when spring comes. Brushing a longhaired dog is a task that requires dedication and experience, as well as the right materials, (If they are professionals better than better). It is difficult to perform well in a house, so you can produce knots or areas with matted hair.
I always advise that the hygiene of the dogs is in charge of the professionals and in these extreme circumstances more: Tangled hair is less efficient to cope with snow and rain and does not insulate as well. In addition, the professional will be able to detect and treat possible dandruff problems in dogs that spend cold and dry winters. You can also advise products to treat your hair at home or protect it from external agents. Exactly the same I think for the bath of your dog. Hygiene is an important topic that you should not leave under any concept, so it is best to delegate to the best expert you know.
The ears of dogs are fundamental in their communication. And the ears are very sensitive. In winter we must take care of them especially protecting them from the cold and the humidity since they can become numb and even to show symptoms of freezing after an excessive exposure to the low temperatures. Dogs can have otitis caused by the cold. The caps are a good solution, as long as they do not over-press the ears, so that the dogs feel them more comfortable to be able to keep moving them. Some dogs gladly accept all kinds of hats and hoods.
I imagine we all have already overcome the idea that the more Calories you ingest the more prepared for the cold will be your dog. Neither your dog nor anyone else. Diets should be appropriate to breed, weight and of course to conditions, among others, climatological. Therefore, who can best tell you the right diet for your dog in the winter season -and in times-, when the cold is especially intense is the veterinarian you trust. An excess of Calories only leads to obese dogs, which is by no means advisable.
10.- Toxic products.
Keep out of the reach of your dog any product that could be toxic. This seems obvious, it is not so much when for a few days your dog enters the house and you must condition it.
Never leave your dog in a car at low temperatures. Even though you have put the heating on all the way and only go out for «five minutes» the car cools quickly, the air does not circulate and the dog can become frozen or at least have numb areas such as ears or tail end. It can even get sick from the cold temperatures.