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
Holds paws up off the ground
Prolonged exposure to the cold can result in frostbite and hypothermia (drop in body temperature)
If you think your furry friend is developing frostbite or hypothermia, wrap them in a blanket or coat, seek a warm shelter and immediate veterinary support. Signs include:
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)
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:
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