Cold Weather for Dogs

The winter season is here! That means sweater weather for the next couple of months. But does the cold weather affect your dog? Although your pooch has a fur coat, the cold weather can still be dangerous for your pup. Like us, dogs can be harmed by cold weather, and it is important to take extra care of our furry friends.


So, how can you be sure that our four-legged friends are warm and safe during the cold season? Today on Q&A with Dr. Quest, we get the opportunity to talk about how to ensure that your pup is staying warm for the winter season.

Do dogs get cold?

Just like people, dogs do get cold.  Even though most dogs have a fuzzy fur coat depending on the breed and what their body is accustomed to they may get too cold if outside in frigid temperatures for too long.  Typically, it is important to remember if it is too cold for your to be outside for a long period of time even with a heavy coat on it is probably too cold for your dog be outside for a long time too.

What are some signs that your dog is cold?

Dogs are similar to people in that they may shiver when they get too cold.  Their ears and nose may be cold to the touch.  If dogs are too cold they may lay curled up so as to try to conserve as much of their body heat as possible.  Dogs that get too cold may act sluggish or walk slowly and try to seek shelter under or behind protection from snow or wind.  Dogs may act like they are limping when they are too cold as the pads of their feet can be more sensitive when cold.


How should you help your dog if he is cold?

A good way to warm your dog is to bring him immediately into a heated building.  If he is still shivering or acting like he may be hypothermic it is best to take his temperature rectally.  If the temperature is below 98 F he may be hypothermic.  Warming blankets in a clothes dryer and wrapping your dog in the blankets is an easy way to help warm him.  Also, one can use a hot water bottle or a heating pad on low setting wrapped in a towel and placed on your dog’s abdomen to help warm him.  Normal body temperature for a dog should be between 100-102 F.  If you are using any of these ideas to help warm your dog it is important to monitor his temperature during the procedure.  If your dog’s body temperature does not come back to normal you should call your Veterinarian as hypothermia is likely.


Do jackets/clothes help you dogs stay warm?

Doggie coats, jackets and boots may help conserve your dog’s body heat when outside during cold weather just like it does in people and can be especially helpful in thin coated breeds.


Can dogs get sick (the cold or flu) from cold weather?

Dogs are similar to humans in that stresses to their immune system such as exposure to cold weather may make them more susceptible to viral and even bacterial infections.  Symptoms can be similar to people with colds in that dogs may have respiratory symptoms such as watery eyes, sneezing, running nose and even coughing.  If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms it is best to contact your Veterinarian.

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