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Ultimate Guide to Cold Safety for Dogs

People and pets in cold-weather areas acclimate as temperatures gradually drop, but visitors from warm climates do not have time to adjust, and are usually more sensitive to extreme cold.

Dr Treat
Ultimate Guide to Cold Safety for Dogs

Key takeaway

Before traveling with your dog to an area where winter weather can be extreme, bring your four-legged friend for a Dr. Treat checkup, so we can evaluate your four-legged friend for conditions that could affect their cold tolerance. In addition, review our cold weather safety tips to ensure you and your pooch have an enjoyable trip.

W
hile our Dr. Treat team enjoys San Francisco’s mild winters, many other locales experience frigid cold, heavy snow, slick roads and walkways, and generally miserable conditions.

People and pets in these areas acclimate as temperatures gradually drop, but visitors from warm climates do not have time to adjust, and are usually more sensitive to extreme cold. Before traveling with your dog to an area where winter weather can be extreme, bring your four-legged friend for a Dr. Treat checkup, so we can evaluate your four-legged friend for conditions that could affect their cold tolerance. In addition, review our cold weather safety tips to ensure you and your pooch have an enjoyable trip.

“Dogs come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and coats, and these variables create huge differences in cold tolerance.”

Determining your dog’s cold tolerance

Dogs come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and coats, and these variables create huge differences in cold tolerance. The thick-coated Siberian husky was bred for cold weather and thrives in winter conditions, while the tiny, short-coated Chihuahua may refuse to set foot on snow-covered ground. Factors that influence your individual pet’s cold tolerance include:

Cold temperatures pose dangers to dogs

Dogs left outside in the cold too long can develop hypothermia or frostbite. These conditions can occur in sensitive dogs at temperatures as high as 45 degrees, while others can tolerate below-freezing temperatures for a short while. Once temperatures drop below 20 degrees, your dog should only go outdoors for a few minutes at a time. High winds, cloud cover, and heavy air moisture can make low temperatures more dangerous. So, pay attention to windchill and feels-like weather ratings before deciding whether your dog can participate in an outdoor activity.

Cold-weather safety tips to keep your dog safe

Keeping your dog safe in the cold is more complex than simply considering the temperature outside. Follow these tips to safeguard your pooch against winter’s hazards:

Final notes

Dr. Treat One™ members have 24/7 access to our virtual care team, so even if you are out of town, we’re here to address questions or concerns or share medical records in case of an emergency veterinary visit.

Written by:

Dr Treat

A veterinary practice that is reimagining the approach to the health and wellbeing of companion animals.

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