Stop Your Dog Getting Cold on Winter Walks
Even if you'd rather hibernate 'til March, there’s one reason to bundle up and brave the cold – your dog. Because no matter the weather, come rain, snow or shine, they still need to be walked! And despite their built-in fur coats, dogs can definitely feel the chill. Are you doing enough to stop your dog getting cold on winter walks?
Will my dog get cold in winter?
Whether your dog needs help keeping warm in winter depends. Breeds like Huskies were developed for snowy outdoor work, so their thick double coats will usually protect them from all but the very coldest temperatures. Your dog is more likely to get cold easily based on these factors:
- Age: Both older dogs and puppies benefit from extra protection in cold weather.
- Size: Smaller dog breeds like Chihuahuas will feel the cold more than a larger dog.
- Weight: Very thin breeds like Greyhounds don’t have enough body fat to stay warm.
- Fur type: If your dog has short fur, fine fur, or exposed skin, consider a coat!
Choosing a coat for your dog
We always recommend a 2-in-1 dog coat to get the most for your money! 2-in-1 dog coats have removable fleece linings, so they’re great for windy, wet weather in summer too. They’re the ideal dog coat for year-round use.
Do you use a collar or harness to walk your dog? Some dog coats come with harness holes, whereas others are only suitable for collars. Make sure you choose the right one!
Haven’t ever measured your dog for a coat before? It’s pretty straightforward – you’ll just need a tape measure. (You can also measure your dog with a piece of string if you don’t have a tape measure.) Place one end at the nape of their neck and measure straight down their spine to the base of their tail. Always measure your dog while they’re standing!
You may also want to measure around their chest and neck for some dog coat styles, but at Simply2 there’s no need. Both styles of dog coat that we stock have adjustable Velcro fastenings, making fitting your dog’s coat incredibly easy. They’re also machine washable and reflective for your dog’s safety.
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Does my dog need paw boots?
Dog boots, dog booties, paw protectors – you’ve probably seen them in Youtube videos of dogs struggling to understand why they suddenly can’t feel the floor. But do dogs actually need boots in winter?
Sometimes. Dog paws usually won’t get too cold on the snow. So no, your dog probably doesn’t need paw protectors just for snow or cold weather.
However, snow isn’t the real danger in winter for your dogs’ paws. If de-icer has been used to melt snow or ice, this can cause chemical burns on your dogs’ paw pads. Ouch! Road salt can also get stuck between their paw pads and toes, causing pain and irritation. Dog boots like PAWZ Paw Protectors are a great preventative measure to keep their paws safe!
Warming up after the walk
IMPORTANT: Dogs do need exercise, even in winter. But if you can’t keep them warm enough outdoors, their safety is much more important. Use your best judgement about what your dog can tolerate and take them home if they seem uncomfortable. Try to find ways to exercise your dog indoors instead.
We recommend sticking to shorter walks in very cold weather. If you have a big dog or high energy breed, this might mean doing several walks a day! But a shorter walk means less exposure to the cold.
When you get home, it’s crucial to help your dog warm up again! First, if you’ve walked in rain, snow, or otherwise got wet, dry your dog with a towel. Water absorbs their body heat and can cause irritation. Make sure to clean and dry their paws, legs, chest, and stomach.
A pet heat pad like a Hotties is a great option for providing extra warmth for your dog. Simply pop it into the microwave for a minute or two, then back inside the fleece cover. A heat pad is also ideal in your dog’s bed or crate overnight – your house can get pretty cold with the heating off! Combine with blankets, a thermo mattress, or some cosy ProFleece to keep them comfy while they snooze.
What are the signs my dog is too cold?
There are some pretty clear signs that your dog is too cold. Watch out for your dog shivering, whining, or lifting their paws off the ground. They may also hunch over, try to find shelter, or otherwise seem anxious. It’s best to return home as soon as you see these signs.
If your dog gets too cold, they’re susceptible to hypothermia. If your dog is showing any signs of hypothermia, you need to cover them in a blanket or coat, get them into a warm area, and contact your vet.
Symptoms of hypothermia in dogs include:
- Stiff muscles
- Slow heartrate and breathing
- Pale gums
- Fixed, dilated pupils
- Stumbling or lack of coordination
- Collapse, passing out, or coma
We recommend keeping foil blankets in your house and car for emergencies like this.