The winter months in the Lakes Region can be an exciting time for your dog since many dogs love the snow! This being said, we are all aware of just how cold it can be outside and that these chilly temperatures impact humans and dogs alike. Below are some behaviors that your pup will exhibit when they are cold, as well as tips to keep your dog warm and happy this season.
Signs That Your Dog Is Too Cold
Shivering is one of the most visible signs that your dog needs to warm up. Dogs are similar to humans in this aspect as their fur is not usually enough to keep them comfortable in very cold weather, just as jackets cannot always provide enough warmth for people.
Your Dog Keeps Lifting its Paws
The pads on a canine’s paws are sensitive, especially to frozen roads and the snow. If your dog is continuously lifting her paws, there is a good chance that she is too cold! Snow, ice melt, and road salt can also get stuck in between dog’s toes which is very uncomfortable.
Excessive Whining by Your Dog
Behaviors such as shaking or shivering and paw lifts can also be paired with whining. When dogs are cold, they will do their best to make you aware of their discomfort and a common way to do this is by getting vocal.
If you see any of these behaviors, please bring your dog inside to get warm again and if you were outside with them, you will probably want to get warm as well!
Now that you know what to watch for, here are some ideas to help you make your winter days fun.
How to Manage the Cold and Enjoy Your Time Outside with Your Dog
Things to consider:
Your Dog’s Fur
The length and thickness of your dog’s coat should help you gauge how long they will be comfortable outside for. If your dog has very short fur or no fur at all, consider putting them in a dog jacket to keep them toasty.
Your Dog’s Size
Small dogs have a harder time containing warmth as they have less body mass, whereas a larger dog will generally stay warm for longer.
Your Dog’s Paws
Some dogs have sensitive paw pads especially if they are new to snow and ice. If you are concerned about your dog’s pads, you may want to look into dog booties to protect them from the elements. While some dogs can take a little while to adjust to them, there is no harm in putting these on your furry friend as long as they are not too tight and your dog does not get upset when their paws are handled.
Venturing Outside With Your Dog
Monitor Activity Levels
Now that you are ready to brave the cold, make sure that your dog is staying active while they are out. This will help ward off the cold.
Fun Activities to Try With Your Dog in the Cold
- Playing fetch with snowballs
- Letting your dog chase you while you sled
- Allow your dog to catch snow as you shovel or snow blow
- Go on hikes or walks
- Meet up for doggie playdates and let everyone frolic in the snow together
These are just a few ways to entertain your pup during the winter and there are plenty more!
When You Are Ready to Come Back In
Make Sure Your Dog Has Plenty of Water
After you have enjoyed the outdoors, make sure that your dog has access to water. Similar to humans, dogs can get easily dehydrated after playing in the snow. Drinking water will make sure that they stay happy and healthy.
Dry Your Dog Off
If they are wet, take a few minutes to dry them off with a towel. This is important for their health, specifically their skin, their ears, and their paws. A dry dog also makes for a clean and dry home and a warm place for them to rest after their adventure as their beds will not get wet.