January may not be the friendliest of months weather-wise, but I guarantee that’s not going to stop your pup from wanting to hit the pavement. Dogs love their exercise and a lot of the time they’re willing to walk, even in harsh conditions. It’s our job, as pet parents, topay special attention to how long is too long to be out in the snow and freezing cold with our dogs. Let’s take a look at a few tell-tale signs that it’s too cold for your dog to be outside.
Symptoms That It’s Too Cold For Your Dog
Dogs are smart, and they know how to communicate with their owners to some degree. So if you’re out on a walk and your dog starts exhibiting signs of discomfort such as whining or shivering, it’s time to head back in.
Other important things to look out for is signs of weakness, like if your pup starts walking more slowly or stops walking entirely. Showing signs of anxiety is another key symptom that your dog is uncomfortable and needs to warm up.
It’s really important not to ignore these symptoms, because just like humans, dogs can develop conditions such as hypothermia or frostbite from staying out in the cold too long.
Keep A Good Eye On Their Paws
While dogs are able to let you how they feel through their behavior, you can also tell if it’s too cold for your dog through their physical state. Dogs’ paws are some of the easiest, tell-tale signs that they need to warm up and get out of the cold.
If your dog’s paws seem to be cracking or bleeding, this could definitely be a sign of cold-weather injury. Your dog also might start to slow down or stop walking if they have accumulated too much ice in between their toes.
If your dog shows any of these signs, it’s probably a good idea to get them inside so you can take a closer look. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Know You And Your Dog’s Limits
Humans and animals alike all have their tolerances to cold weather. Just like humans, some dogs do quite well in the cold weather, while others don’t. Usually this can be attributed to the thickness of your dog’s coat, but not always.
So, when you’re walking your dog in the snow, consider factors such as their coat thickness, age, and general health.
A dog with a thick fur coat is most likely going to be more cold weather resistant, and won’t feel the sting of the wind as fast as a dog with a light coat. A dog with a shorter coat will most likely feel the cold faster, and will not be able to be out as long.
Another example is that an elderly dog is probably not going to do as well walking in the snow as a young pup. Your elderly dog could be more prone to slipping, falling, or skidding on ice and snow.
And, if your dog has arthritis, diabetes, or some other condition, they may have more trouble dealing with the cold weather. This is because they might have more difficulty regulating their body temperature, so they can’t adjust to the cold weather as well.
Taking individual factors of your dog into account when out in the cold is crucial. No two dogs are alike. So, if you’re concerned on the appropriate time to stay out in the cold with your dog, make sure you consult your veterinarian.
Don’t Forget To Worry About Yourself
What do I mean by this? Well, as most pet owners are, it’s easy to get caught up on what’s best for your dog, and forget about yourself in the process.
So, even if your dog seems to be doing great in the snow, but you feel like your fingers are about to freeze – don’t feel bad about heading back inside. It’s important to be conscientious of your own health and tolerance to the cold.
Your dog’s health is no doubt important, but so is your own! Try to pay attention to both your dog and you own signs of tolerance for the cold. Try to find a happy medium for the two of you, and I guarantee you both will be able to take on the cold like nobody’s business.