Despite the recent spring-like temperatures, cold winter weather has officially arrived! Properly preparing your pup for the perils of cold weather, and all that comes with it, is essential for their health and wellbeing.
What is a Cold Weather Dog Breed?
Your dog may have a built in fur coat, but that doesn’t mean they can withstand a cold weather climate. Not all dogs are created equal when it comes to cold weather tolerance. Cold weather dog breeds are distinguishable by three main physical characteristics:
- Thick and furry double coats
- Extra body fat
- Thick paws and pads
Beloved breeds such as the Siberian Husky, American Eskimo, Bernese Mountain Dog, Shiba Inu and Tibetan Terrier are all considered cold weather tolerant dogs.
Short-haired dogs with little to no undercoat and low body fat, such as French and English Bulldogs, Beagles and Yorkshire Terriers, should be kept inside during harsh winter weather and wear well insulated jackets and sweaters for chilly walks.
Things You Didn’t Know, You Didn’t Know About Dogs and Winter:
- Cold weather and limited daylight can affect a dog’s weight. Though calories from most commercial dog food brands come from carbohydrates dogs do better, in very cold weather, with a higher amount of fat calories, especially if they are active.
- Dehydration is not just a warm weather concern. Winter brings very dry weather and much of a dog’s body moisture is lost through their breath, especially when panting. Make sure fresh water is accessible when the temperature drops.
- Human skin is not the only epidermis that can get dry and cracked during the cold, winter months. Low humidity and home heating can cause your dog’s coat to dull leading to dandruff, foul odor and itchy, dry skin. Adding olive, coconut or flaxseed oil to your dog’s food can help winterize your dog on the outside while also boosting internal functions due to antioxidants , fatty acids, and Vitamin E.
- Although cold weather tends to kill off most pests, preventative measures should still be in place all year round. Fleas and Ticks seek warm shelter in the winter, so your dog is still suceptable to infestation and bites.
Here We Are Now… Entertain Us!
The winter blues shouldn’t keep you and your dog from having a good time or getting exercise:
- If you’re snowed in, use the stairs for a workout and tease your dog with a toy along the way.Visit the “Tricked Out” section of the Barkington Post and teach your dog a new trick.
- Interactive games, puzzles, and treat dispensers are good ways to keep your dog busy, especially if you’re looking for a little me time in between play sessions.
- A game of fetch is always a crowd pleaser when a pooch is your audience. Utilize an empty hallway or your living room for a fun, indoor romp.
For more info on how to keep your dog happy and healthy during the winter, check out these articles:
- Dear Murphy – Winter is Coming
- Cold Weather Safety for Dogs: Insights from a Sled Dog Veterinarian
- 7 Myths About Dogs And Winter
- 6 Winter Exercise Tips For Your Dog