Which Dogs Can Stand The Coldest And How To Protect Them?
Better to clear the field of misunderstandings and false myths: contrary to what many people think, the hair does not always protect our four-legged friends. There are breeds that are better able to withstand low temperatures, due to their physical shape and habit, but in general the cold, as well as sudden changes in temperature and air currents, is the enemy of dogs.
Our pets, like cats, are homeothermic, that is, able to maintain a constant body temperature even with varying temperatures, but the drop in the mercury column suffers as well. Therefore, it is better that our dog stays out as little as possible in winter: if he lives at home with us, it will be necessary to change his habits and reduce the number of walks; if, instead, he spends the night outdoors, it will be better to use some tricks so that he does not run any risks.
Here are some useful tips to better manage the most traumatic of the changes of season.
Which Dogs Can Withstand The Cold Best?
Even before that for races, it is better to distinguish our four-legged friends by age: puppies and the elderly are more sensitive to temperature drops, conversely young and adult dogs, stronger, are more resistant to the cold. The main reason is that the dogs, up to two weeks old, have not yet developed normal body heat (they spend most of the day in contact with each other, to get warm to each other), while the old face a general weakening of the body. The same applies to sick people or those most prone to pathologies.
Another important feature to take into account is the size: the smaller dog will be more sensitive, the medium-large size less.
So is the coat: the presence of undercoat is an indication of better resistance to cold.
Winter-Proof Breeds And Colder Breeds
Once the necessary physical and structural differentiations have been made, it is also possible to make distinctions based on the breed of the dog. It has been proven that some are more resistant and others less: this does not mean that if our dog belongs to the first category, it can be subjected to all bad weather! It would be almost impossible to list all the breeds, so it would be better to group them on the basis of certain characteristics.
They are more used to and familiar with the winter season:
- Nordic dogs, more or less all: for example the Husky, the Alaskan Malamut, the Norwegian Buhund, the Newfoundland, the Finnish Spitz, the Finnish Lapphund, the Keeshond, the Samoyede.
- The guard specimens: the Shepherd of the Caucasus, the Maremma, the Shepherd of Anatolia, the Bernese Mountain Dog.
- Mountain dogs, such as the Saint Bernard, the Leonberg, the Tibetan Mastiff, the Pyrenean Dog.
- All wolf dogs, including the German Shepherd.
- Other breeds, such as the Hakita Inu, the Chow chow, the Labrador, the Sulimov Dog.
Conversely, they are more sensitive to the change of season:
- Small or dwarf dogs, even those with the longest coat: for example the dachshund, the Chihuahua, the Yorkshire.
- Those with short or satin hair, such as Pinscher, Beagle, Dobermann, Boxer, Rottweiler, Dalmatian and many hunting dogs.
How To Protect Your Dog During The Winter
Whether small or large, young or old, long-haired or with a thick crown, our dog should be protected from the low temperature: usually when the mercury column drops below 15 degrees, the attention should be greater. The fact that it belongs to one of the most thermally resistant breeds, in fact, does not make it invulnerable to currents, temperature changes, sudden frosts, humidity.
Here, then, are some precious tricks to be taken into account already during the autumn.
Pay Attention To Nutrition
Even animals, like us, burn more calories during the winter. The diet will have to change accordingly, and contain more protein and fat: more meat, white and red, and more fish once a week. It may also help our dog to take protein supplements and minerals such as copper, zinc and omega 6 and 3.
Keep Your Dog Safe
The roof under which our dog sleeps is fundamental: the temperature must be acceptable, there must be no humidity and our friend must not be exposed to currents.
Avoid the garage, if you keep your car or motorcycle: it is not a healthy environment and presents risks related to leakage of liquids from the engine that could be ingested by the animal, if you can not do without it, remember not to start the engine in the presence of the dog.
If you sleep outdoors you should respect some important precautions, using the care to house it with us if the temperature is particularly cold: the kennel must have the floor raised above the ground and be well insulated, and you must be particularly careful to exposure to the wind. Finally, choose the “bed” well: Fido will sleep better on old sweaters or woolen blankets.
Choose And Check The Water Bowl
The best material, during the winter, is plastic, a bad conductor of heat and cold. The metal in fact could be dangerous, as well as other materials: the risk in fact is that the tongue of the dog, when he goes to drink, remains attached to the container. Finally, it is a good idea to check continuously whether or not the water has frozen.
Yes Or No?
Sometimes protective raincoats are purchased for “vanity”, aesthetics or fashion, but their function, especially for small dogs and furry, is important: there are various types and shapes. In addition, shoes and other accessories to protect our friend’s legs and head can also be very useful. In any case, it is useful to clean and dry your paws often, as well as massage them with a protective cream in case of low temperature.
Bathing In Winter: How Often?
Home grooming and bathing should be thinned out during the winter season, because the water washes away the protective oils naturally present on the skin and exposes it to the risk of dryness. It is better to brush your dog frequently, thus helping to renew the undercoat, and to clean it dry. Similarly, it would be better to reduce the number of walks, and if during the walk you have been wet with rain or snow, dry it immediately upon returning home, especially in the paws and between the fingers.
How To Notice That Our Four-legged Friend Is Cold?
Despite having better resistance to cold than humans, dogs often suffer from it, and give signs that are easy to see. These are the main ones:
- Breathe slowly;
- Skin is dry;
- Has problems with muscle stiffness;
- His movements have slowed down.
As the temperature drops, and if the rules we have mentioned are not respected, the dog is more exposed to pathologies and disorders of various kinds: for example arthritis, common in elderly dogs, and infectious tracheobronchitis, the so-called cough of the kennels.
The Dog And The Winter: Last Advice And Prevention
Against the risk of this and other problems, the best weapon is prevention. So, in addition to continuous and loving care and following the essential measures against the cold, it is important to adhere to the schedule of periodic checks by the veterinarian and the main vaccinations. If the costs scare you but you don’t want to give up your friend’s well-being, help could come from a dog insurance plan: a good policy guarantees continuous telephone assistance, discounted rates, free visit in case of accident or illness.