When winter comes we all bundle up and protect ourselves as best we can, but what about the dogs? Are the dogs cold? Although our best friends already have natural protection, it is possible that this is not enough and that, indeed, they can also get cold.
We are going to try to answer this question so that you can know if your dog is getting cold and how you can help him fight low temperatures.
Do dogs get cold?
For a long time it was thought that dogs didn't get cold. Their fur and lipid layer are natural elements that protect them against low temperatures. However, experts say that dogs can get cold.
The minimum temperature that a dog can withstand is determined by its breed, but almost all can be in danger if the thermometer marks less than 4 degrees, some more even if the environment is humid. This amplitude is aggravated considering that the average body temperature of a dog is between 38 and 39 degrees, slightly higher than ours.
The idea that dogs can sleep outside in winter is not true. In fact, as we will see below, it is not recommended, since winter nights are marked by frosts, and temperatures below zero are dangerous for practically any dog.
It is also true that breeds such as the Alaskan Malamute, the Siberian Husky or the Saint Bernard are used to colder climates, and that smaller dogs such as the chihuahua, dachshund, beagle or pomeranian tolerate it much worse. Let's see why.
The relationship between temperature and cold in dogs is usually explained by analyzing the metabolism of the animal. Larger dogs have a slower metabolism, which means they are better able to regulate their body temperature. Small dogs have a faster metabolism, making it difficult for them to retain their own heat.
In addition, the dog's coat will also influence how cold it feels. Dogs with short hair will usually get colder than those with long hair and, yes, there are large dogs that can feel cold despite their size. This is the case of the Doberman, the Greyhounds, the Boxers or the Dogos Argentino.
How can you tell if your dog is cold
The symptoms of a cold dog are typical of hypothermia. It only takes the animal's body temperature to drop below 35 or 37 degrees for it to start experiencing chills and tremors, muscle stiffness, cramps, and slow, labored breathing.
There is a fairly simple check to detect if your dog is cold: touch the edge of the ears or the body. If you notice that that typical heat that your best friend gives off has disappeared, it is highly probable that he is suffering from the effects of low temperatures.
You can also detect if your dog is feeling cold if you see that is snuggles more than necessary. When you see him hunched over or curled up with his tail between his legs (and most likely shivering), it means he's trying to keep his body warm.
Another (somewhat less obvious) hint of cold in the dogs is the crying or barking. It is true that a dog can cry for various reasons, but if you hear him whining or barking pitifully, and you detect any of the signs that we have described, rest assured that your dog is feeling cold at that precise moment.
How dogs protect themselves from the cold and what you can do for them
Wash less and brush more
The dog's fur is its main barrier against the cold.They move it twice a year (spring and autumn) in order to protect its body from the harshness of winter. On the other hand, the layer of fat that dogs have on their skin is a great thermal insulator.
If you wash it too often, you will be removing the remains of its layer of fat, and the result will be that you will be depriving it of one of its most efficient natural protections against the cold.
The best thing you can do for your dog is to brush it frequently, because that way you will spread the layer of fat evenly throughout its coat.
Wear warm clothes
If you have a small breed dog or medium, or a short-haired breed, he will certainly appreciate it if you put on some jersey or special dog coat when you take him out for a walk, especially first thing in the morning or at night, which this is when it will be most exposed.
Give it a good place to sleep
Do not allow your dog to sleep outdoors in i winter. Night frosts can have a very detrimental effect on your health. In addition to ensuring that he sleeps inside the house, try to provide him with a suitable bed, such as the balukaDREAM mattress that we developed at Baluka.
Now that you know that dogs are cold, and you have the tools to detect if your best friend is suffering the consequences of winter, we recommend that your dog never sleep outside during this time of year and that you prepare a comfortable and warm place for him spend your nights.