Owning a dog, regardless of breed, brings a remarkable amount of responsibility to any household. Some of the obvious tasks involved in caring for your new canine include finding the right dog food, providing adequate playtime, securing a reliable pet-sitter, and, of course, potty-training.
One thing you may not consider is how extreme temperature can affect your dog. It is important to keep your dog cool, ensure that your pet is comfortable in any weather and know how your dog reacts to temperature changes. We often forget that our pets are just like us … they get cold and hot just like we do. Though some dogs may have thicker coats, that doesn’t mean they don’t suffer in extremely cold temperatures. As an owner, it’s your job to recognize that your dog needs just as much care and consideration when walking out of the house as you’d give yourself.
When you’re outside on a warm day, the sun on your face feels great. To a dog, it could actually be harmful. Humid days in particular are a problem. On The Humane Society website, Dr. Barry Kellogg explains that since panting is your dog’s way of regulating heat, strong humidity will make this process more difficult and your dog’s temperature could rise considerably as a result. This could eventually lead to heat stroke if not properly treated. Watch out for signs of excessive panting and drooling and increased heart rate to identify it before it becomes an issue.
Your dog’s breed in particular will determine how you should prepare him for the outdoors. Short-coated dogs may have little trouble in warm weather, but long-coated dogs will struggle. In addition, the color of your dog’s coat is also important to remember. Dogs with brown or black fur absorb more heat, and will get hotter faster than dogs with lighter coats. Keep in mind that your dog’s haircut can affect how they feel in the heat. Consult your groomer or vet if you think you need to cut your dog’s hair short, or if their many layers actually help to keep them more cool.
Meanwhile, Healthy Paws mentions that dogs with short snouts, like pugs and bulldogs, are more susceptible to the heat because hot air reaches their lungs faster than dogs with long snouts. Since breathing is more challenging for these breeds, make sure they’re not falling behind in an effort to keep up with you.
Fortunately, there are many ways to cool your dog down if it gets too hot outside. A fan won’t get the job done. Instead, fill a bowl with ice cold water and use a tree or umbrella to give your dog some much-needed shade. Our Deluxe Portal Pet Pens also provide sustainable protection against the harsh temperatures. They feature a canopy to protect your dog from the heat and are equipped with a small pet door, allowing your pet to come and go as he pleases. That way, you and your pooch can both enjoy the afternoon sun, without all the worry.
The cold can be just as detrimental to your dog as the heat. According to petMD, once temperatures drop below 45 degrees, your dog may start to struggle with the elements. That’s why it’s best to keep an eye on the forecast not only for your safety, but the safety of your pets. Once again, keep in mind the breed of your dog. Dogs that are smaller lose heat more than larger dogs; thus they get colder quicker. Meanwhile, many larger dogs also have the advantage of increased bulk which can be a great insulator in the cold.
As mentioned, a dog’s coat is a strong indicator of their ability to handle varying temperatures. Dogs with longer coats fare better in cold weather than those with shorter coats. In lieu of a longer coat, a good sweater can help increase warmth in short-haired breeds. Just remember to use a dry sweater; damp clothing can worsen the effects.
Last, but not least, check your dog’s paw pads. If their pads are cracked or covered in ice, it’s time to get inside and warm him up. AVMA recommends clipping the hair between your dog’s toes as a means of preventing ice from accumulating. Hypothermia can set in if a dog is outside in the cold for too long. Warning signs include shivering and sluggishness so make sure you’re aware of your dog’s behaviors in freezing temperatures as well.
Acknowledging your dog’s desire to be outside while also helping him adapt to the temperature is a necessity no matter where you live. Keep these tips in mind when you’re planning your next excursion with your favorite pal.