When it's too cold to walk: a warning for dog owners

Bylim Olena

When it's too cold to walk: a warning for dog owners
Dogs playing in the snow. Source: Karolina Grabowska/pexels.com

Winter is already in full swing in Ukraine, and dog owners should be careful when taking their pets for walks in cold weather.

According to experts, it is too cold to walk your dog if the temperature drops below -9°C. However, specific recommendations depend on the size of the dog and the density of its coat, CountryLiving writes.

It is too cold for short-haired dogs to walk at temperatures below -4°C. Dogs with long hair can withstand slightly lower temperatures, down to -9°C.

Read also: The best dog breeds for beginners: expert advice

Small and medium-sized dog breeds have a hard time withstanding temperatures below -4°C, so they should be kept indoors. Larger dogs should be able to walk for half an hour at -6 degrees.

If the temperature drops below zero degrees, small dogs should also be wearing a sweater or coat to keep them warm. You can also try a pair of winter boots for dogs to keep their feet warm. In addition, walks should be limited to about 15-20 minutes to keep them warm.

It is also important to consider the breed of the dog. For example, dogs with short noses, such as bulldogs and pugs, are more prone to hypothermia.

How do you know if your dog is cold?

Dogs shiver when they are cold. Their ears may also feel cold to the touch. Some dogs will appear stiff in their movements as they begin to feel lethargic and may even have difficulty walking.

In extreme cases, dogs can develop hypothermia if they are exposed to extreme temperatures for too long. The dog's body temperature will drop dramatically, breathing will slow down, and they will potentially stop responding and lose consciousness.

Read also: Scientists have named dog breeds that will not be able to survive if humans disappear on Earth

Can I walk my puppy when it's cold?

Age is not the only factor to consider when taking your dog for a winter walk. Diseases and body fat levels also affect whether it is too cold.

You need to be more careful with very young dogs that have come to a new home at 8-9 weeks of age, as well as older dogs. They tend to have lower body fat levels and have a harder time regulating their body temperature than young adult dogs.

Dogs over the age of 8 have an 80% chance of having arthritis, and these conditions are made worse when they are cold. There are also health issues to consider, such as diabetes, heart failure, and kidney disease. These conditions put dogs at higher risk, so owners will need to be extra careful during the colder months.

Can I walk my dog when it is snowing or raining?

PDSA vet Lynn James also said that dog owners should not avoid walking their pets in the rain or snow in winter.

She said: "Beware of wet weather - getting wet will increase your dog's risk of catching a cold. If you notice your pet shivering or seeming to struggle with the cold, get them inside immediately."

It's important to remember that dogs are individuals just like humans, and their needs may vary. Keep an eye on your dog and pay attention to their signals to see if they are cold.

Finally, don't forget to play with your dog indoors when the weather is too cold for long walks.

As a reminder, experts from the American Chemical Society explained why dogs shouldn't eat chocolate.

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