Dogs in Cold Weather

Dogs in Cold Weather

Thank goodness that in East Texas we don’t experience sub zero temperatures in the winter. Still, we need to take precautions for our dogs in cold weather.

If your dog is a Siberian husky or other breed built for northern climates, he may love winter days in the 20’s and 30’s. They literally have more fur to accommodate these temps. (That is also why they can really suffer in our hot summers.) But other breeds need to have some shelter when our temps drop into the 30’s and 40’s.

So, how cold is too cold?

At the Rannals Small Animal Hospital, our rule of thumb is that when temperatures drop below 50 and especially below 40 degrees, we like to have some form of shelter provided for our outdoor pets. That may be a dog house facing away from the north wind that has proper bedding in it. Or it may be the garage at night or the utility room in your home. (My pup stays in a crate in our study at night, her “bedroom” as far as she’s concerned.) And, of course, your dog may be the perfect indoor pet that is fine to roam the house at night and pick his perfect spot.

Does age matter?

Also remember to consider the pet’s age when making cold weather arrangements. Very young and very old dogs will not be able to handle cold temps as well as they might when they are in their prime years. Older dogs often have hypothyroidism which lowers their metabolism and makes them more cold weather vulnerable. Puppies typically do not have as full a hair coat and also are developing the brain functions that regulate body temperature.

Dogs and cats do have a higher body temperature than we do, around 101.5 degrees. But please remember to watch out for them during our cold East Texas winter nights. For further questions, call us at 903-839-7235.

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