How do you know when it’s too cold to walk your dog?
If you’re a dog owner, you know that walks are the best time of the day for your dog – apart from meals, of course.
But with winter conditions continuing into March, the Met Office has issued a cold weather warning and predicted a cold snap is expected in the UK. Temperatures are expected to drop on Tuesday (March 7), reaching -3C (28F) in Scotland and -2C in north-west and east England.
The chilly atmosphere might make some dog owners think twice before heading out with their furry friends, but walks are still important for dogs to keep fit, stretch their legs, and use up excess energy.
So how can you tell when it’s too cold to walk your dog, and what should you do to keep him warm?
How cold is too cold?
According to Fetch Pet, the size and thickness of your dog’s coat can help you determine when it’s safe for him to go outside in the cold.
Small or medium-sized, thin-coated dogs might be at risk if they go outside when the temperature is 7 °C (44 °F) or less, but large, thicker-coated dogs are probably fine.
Heavy-coated breeds like Siberian Huskies, Samoyeds, and Newfoundlands are built for colder temperatures and are likely to be more comfortable in the winter than in the summer.
But breeds like greyhounds are much thinner and would benefit from a winter dog coat to keep them warm on walks.
Fetch Pet’s veterinarian, Dr. Aliya McCullough, however, warns that all dogs, no matter their size, are at greater risk of hypothermia and frostbite when temperatures drop below -6C (21F).
If you see your dog struggling on a walk in cold weather, it’s probably too chilly for him to continue. They may tremble, slow or stop, or whimper and bark if they are uncomfortable in any way.
How do I get my dog used to wearing a coat?
If your dog has never worn a coat, Dogs Trust recommends Insert it carefully and slowly – do not let it wear immediately as it may not respond well.
Get them familiarizing themselves with a coat by laying it on the floor and placing their favorite treats on top. Once they’ve had a chance to examine the garment thoroughly, you can begin training them to be comfortable sticking their head through the coat.
You can do this by lifting them up and feeding them a treat through the opening, gradually moving your hand back a little more to encourage them to put their nose and mouth through the opening.
Once you’re able to get his head through, put the fur on his body and keep giving him treats. If they feel uncomfortable or pull out of the coat, don’t be discouraged – just try another time.
Does my dog need winter boots?
The Blue Cross recommends Get your four-legged friend winter shoes if you see them picking up their paws, whimpering, or stopping during a walk because their paws are too cold.
Look for dog boots with a good sole and Velcro straps that are secure and protect their paw pads from frosty ground.
If your dog can’t or won’t wear boots, make sure his paws are wiped down after every walk to remove harmful material like salt and sand that can get between his toes and irritate the balls of his feet.
What else should I do if I’m walking my dog in the cold?
Walking your dog in winter can be both cold and dark, so make sure your dog wears a light-up collar and that your microchip database is up to date with your address and contact details.
You should also regularly trim the fur around your dog’s paws to prevent balls of ice from forming between the pads and toes of the paws, says the Blue Cross.
Be very careful when walking your dog near frozen ponds or lakes and keep your dog on a leash near frozen water. The ice may not be thick enough and may crack under their weight.
If your dog falls through the ice, don’t be tempted to run after it. According to the Blue Cross: “Most dogs are strong swimmers and get out of trouble sooner than you.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/dog-walking-snow-forecast-uk-b2299013.html How do you know when it’s too cold to walk your dog?