Generally speaking, dogs are not bothered by cold weather. Dogs are homoiothermic, or warm-blooded animals, and their body temperatures remain pretty constant regardless of the temperature in their environment. Fur protects and insulates a dog’s body from heat loss or heat gain. However, toy dogs with little fur may feel the effects of cold air. It is also not wise for puppies to stay outside in the cold for longer than necessary.
A normal body temperature for dogs is between 100.5 degrees and 102.5 degrees F, with an average of 101.3 degrees. If a dog feels hot he pants, and if he feels cold he shivers. Dogs are able to warms themselves by curling up, and they usually change positions, or stretch out, to cool down a little.
Humans often perceive that a dog is cold and needs to be dressed warmly. Sweaters, hats, jackets and booties are popular wardrobe items for dogs. Many veterinarians do not advocate for pets wearing clothes, but if owners decide to, a pet only needs to be covered from mid chest to the base of the tail. It is possible for dogs to get frostbite, typically on the tips of their ears or the tips of their tails. It is important to keep the fur between their foot pads trimmed so ice balls don’t form and cause their pads to crack or get irritated.
Dogs, and owners alike, may choose not to be outside in the cold for an extended period of time. If you are an owner who exercises outside, in any weather condition, then a little cold won’t get in your way. Your dog may only walk or run for a short distance and then he can ride in a stroller for the rest of the way. Many pet strollers have compartments that can be closed up so your dog is shielded from the cold wind. Staying active keeps us and our dogs happy and healthy all year long!
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