There are a number of factors that can affect cold tolerance in pets, including coat, fat stores, activity level and health. Long and thick coated breeds tend to be more cold tolerant while short coated and smaller breeds (whose bodies have more surface area and are closer to the ground and snow) get cold faster. That said, no pet should be left outside in below zero temperatures for extended periods of time. In extreme cold temperatures, it is important to shorten walks for the comfort and safety of both you and your pet. Here are several other factors that can affect your pet’s cold weather comfort:
- Age can affect your dog’s ability to regulate their temperature. Take extra care with the very young and very old.
- Arthritis pain can flare up when temperatures are low and can make pets more prone to slipping and falling on ice.
- Diabetes, metabolic diseases (such as Cushing’s disease) and kidney disease can also reduce your dog’s ability to regulate body temperature.
If your dog has a short coat or seems bothered by the cold weather, consider a sweater or dog booties. Trimming the fur between the paw pads can prevent ice from building up and becoming uncomfortable. You should also check your dog’s paws pads regularly for cracks or bleeding and consult a veterinarian if these occur. After walks you may want to wipe or wash the feet to remove chemical deicers, especially if your dog tends to lick them.
Finally, if your dog starts whining, shivering, seems anxious or slows down; get them inside immediately as these may be signs of hypothermia. Frostbite is harder to detect in dogs but the tissue may appear pale or gray and feel hard and cold. As the area thaws, it will become red and painful. If you suspect your dog has frostbite or hypothermia, contact us at Blaine Area Pet Hospital immediately.
At the Blaine Area Pet Hospital, we proudly strive to offer you and your pet the highest quality veterinary services possible. Serving Blaine, Coon Rapids, Ham Lake, Lino Lakes, Andover, Anoka, East Bethel and all of the surrounding metro area cities. Please call our office with any questions, comments or concerns regarding your dog or cat.