how cold is too cold?

How cold is too cold for dogs? Winter can bring harsh conditions for your dogs, especially if you live in a cooler climate. These conditions call for special care needed for your pets.

Not only does it bring new routines, but the winter season also brings new dangers as well. Here are some helpful hints to keep your dog safe, warm and healthy this winter.

How Cold is Too Cold for Dogs?

Generally, dogs can withstand cooler temperatures without a problem. When temperatures reach 45 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, they start feeling uncomfortable.

Temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, which is when water begins to freeze, you should pay extra close attention to your dog. Especially if you have smaller breeds, thin-coated dogs, or very young or old dogs.

Colder temperatures put your dog at risk for hypothermia or frostbite. Your dog’s size, coat thickness, and overall well being can greatly change the temperatures they can withstand.

Similarly, the type of coldness can affect how long they can withstand the climate before issues arise. Wind chill, dampness and cloud coverage can have a drastic effect.

If you notice anything out of the ordinary, contact your veterinarian immediately. Frostbite and hypothermia are very real threats if temperatures drop too low.

Check Their Paws

One of the most important things to mind during the winter season is your dog’s paws. The paws can be seriously injured through exposure to cold and rock salt.

If the sidewalks near your home are salted, be sure to check your dog’s paws after you come in from a walk. Rock salt can often lodge in between the toes, leading to pain and cuts. It may be helpful to wash the paws as well to make sure all rock salt is removed.

Another thing to consider is dog boots. These are extremely useful if your climate falls well under freezing temperatures. You can obtain these boots from your local pet store or online. Usually they will be around thirty dollars for a good pair.

Not only do they add protection from the cold, but they also give your dog added traction in slippery conditions.

Keep Them Warm Outside

As the temperature falls, it is especially important to take a look at your dog’s doghouse. If your dog sleeps outside, make sure that you can keep your pet warm.

Try adding some insulation to the doghouse or lining it with warm blankets. You may also want to consider adding a heated blanket or bed to the house. Good doghouses offer protection from both cold and from wind, so make sure the doghouse isn’t too drafty.

You can improve its wind resistance through stapling a plastic tarp to the outside of the doghouse. Also, be sure to add a heated water bowl outside if your dog’s water tends to freeze.

Frozen water deprives the dog of drink, putting them in danger.

Be Mindful of Their Food

Winter also brings holiday celebrations, many including chocolate treats. This time of year requires special vigilance about what your dog eats.

Chocolate is one of the biggest dangers since it is toxic to dogs and plentiful during holiday celebrations. Make sure chocolate treats are safely out of reach of your dog.

Consider closely monitoring your guests. Make sure they don’t drop chocolate or anything else unhealthy or harmful  for your dog. Other dangers include raisins and onions.

Your local veterinarian and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) can provide lists of foods toxic to dogs.

To sum up, dog owners should recognize that the onset of winter brings special dog care needs. They need to be aware of temperature and situational dangers that could impact their dog.

A little mindfulness and consideration goes a long way in the life of your dog.