Our pets are just as susceptible to cold weather as we are. Many people believe that because animals have a fur coat, they're not as likely to get cold as we are. Whether your dog spends most of his time outdoors or he only goes outside for bathroom breaks and daily walks, it's important to know how to keep dogs warm outside.
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Some dogs get cold faster than others. Small breeds, senior pets and dogs with thin coats may get cold more quickly than young, large breeds with thick fur. The precautions that you take when learning how to keep dogs warm outside should be based on your pet's needs. Your pooch may need a warm coat, boots or an appropriate outdoor shelter.
Most dogs enjoy wearing clothing, but it's important to keep your pet's comfort and happiness in mind when selecting products for him to wear. You must be sure to measure your dog for clothing properly. For example, a dog coat that is too tight may restrict range of motion or cause chaffing and discomfort.
Keeping your dog warm is necessary to keep them safe and healthy. Cracked paws, illness and frost bite can all be caused by exposure to cold temperatures. Follow these tips to keep your pup safe and warm when the temperatures drop.
How to Keep Dogs Warm Outside
Most pet owners wonder how cold is too cold for their dog to be outside. This is a common question, but the answers varies with the dog.
The danger of cold weather for dogs varies based on your pet's:
- Coat type
- Overall health condition
- Acclimation to cold weather
Age, coat type and health condition are pretty standard, and most pet owners take them into consideration. However, the dog's acclimation to cold weather is often overlooked, and this largely depends on the breed and what your pooch is used to.
For example, Siberian Huskies will obviously do better in cold weather. Similarly, if your dog was born and raised in a region with cold winters, he's going to be more acclimated to it than a dog raised in a climate that is warm all year long.
If your dog isn't used to the cold weather, he's going to be more sensitive to it and everything that comes with winter – ice, snow, cold rain, and low temperatures. As a general rule of thumb, anything below 40˚F is going to be too cold for small breed dogs, puppies, senior dogs and dogs with little to no fur.
First, you need to know the signs of frostbite, hypothermia and extreme cold in dogs.
For example, if you notice your pet shivering, exhibiting slower-than-normal movement or lack of movement (even when spoken to), holding up paws or feeling cold to the touch, you need to get him inside immediately.
Dress them up. There are many winter pet clothing options you can use: dress your dog in a warm winter jacket and dog winter boots if the dog needs them to keep warm while outside. You may also need to protect your dog's paws and nose with a protective wax that will prevent the dog's paw skin from getting chapped and dry.
Provide housing. If for whatever reason your dog must be outside for long periods of time in the winter, he will need an adequate winterized dog house. Such dog houses must be well insulated, and you should put warm, dry bedding inside the house. Ideally, the floor of the dog house should be at least 4″ off the ground. Additionally, you can place a pet-friendly house heater inside the dog house.
Shorten time outdoors. When the weather is cold and temperatures drop really low, it's also important to limit your dog's time outside, especially if it's not a Northern breed. It's imperative that you ensure the dog stays within the boundaries of your yard, too. Leash walking or staying with your pooch at all times is highly recommended.
Hydration and feeding. Finally, to keep your dog warm outside, it is very important to keep them properly fed and hydrated. Hydration isn't only crucial in summer's heat, and a malnourished or dehydrated dog could have trouble regulating their body temperature, which means they get colder faster and the body won't be able to fight it off.
3. Best Supplies to Keep Dogs Warm in Winter
As I've mentioned, there's tons of dog clothing you can use to keep your dog warm outdoors when the weather is cold. Some of the most essential and effective pet products for this that are my favorite and you should keep on hand are these below.