Can Dogs Feel Cold & Do they need Heated Dog Beds
The dog is a direct descendant of the wolf, and wolves not only survive, but thrive in colder climates. So, what about our pet pups? Well in all cases wolves or dogs they need heat especially when young. A heated dog beds are ideal for this.
Dog breeds were created through selective breeding. Some breeds, like the Malamutes and Huskies, were bred to pull sleds across the snow, which is why they are comfortable with the cold.
However, other breeds were created to live in hotter climates. These breeds, which include the Shih Tzus and Chihuahuas, tend to struggle in colder climates, since their bodies are not used to dealing with such conditions.
Can Dogs Feel Cold?
Dogs are entirely covered in warm and soft fur, which is why it is not completely irrational for us to believe that our canine companions never feel the cold. However, dogs are definitely not immune to cold, and, in fact, are often quite sensitive to dips in temperature.
Generally, medium and small dogs start to feel the chill once the temperature drops below 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit). Larger dogs are slightly more resilient, and start to feel chilly once the Mercury goes down to 4.5 degrees Celsius (40 degrees Fahrenheit) and below.
How to Tell If Your Dog is Feeling Cold?
Generally, cold weather, as long as the temperature is above 10 degrees Celsius, should not cause any problems for your dog. However, once the temperature begins to go below this threshold, there is a chance that your dog will start to feel uncomfortable and distressed.
Even though indulging in snow games with your dog is a great deal of fun, you must keep in mind that the low temperatures can be quite dangerous for dogs. For this reason, it is vital for dog-owners to know and watch out for the signs that dogs display when they start to feel cold. Some of these signs include:
- Raised paws
- Dropped ears
- Slowing down
- Looking for warmer spots
Factors that Determine a Dog’s Resistance to Cold:
You are probably aware that certain dog breeds are better suited to the cold weather than others. If you reside in a region that experiences below or close to freezing temperatures, and choose to adopt a pup, make sure to go for a breed that can handle such extreme conditions. A few such breeds are the Shiba Inu, Bearded Collie, Chow Chow, Tibetan Mastiff, Siberian Husky, Bernese Mountain Dog, and Akita Inu.
How well a dog handles lower temperatures depends on the below factors:
Type of Coat:
Dogs that have double-layered, thicker coats tend to be the most resilient to cold. Generally, these breeds were bred in colder, northern climates, which means that they are fairly comfortable in frigid weather. On the other hand, thin-coated dogs (such as Greyhounds) are the most susceptible to drops in temperature.
Colour of Coat:
Dark-coloured (such as brown and black) coats tend to absorb the heat from the sun better than coats with light colours.
Smaller dogs tend to lose bodily heat faster than their larger counterparts – something that makes them more vulnerable to cold weather.
Dogs that are used to colder climates are, naturally, better suited to handling such conditions compared to dogs that have no real experience of living in the cold.
Health and Age:
Senior dogs, younger dogs, and dogs suffering from medical ailments are often unable to regulate their body temperatures, and therefore, require greater protection in harsh weather conditions.
There are also a number of environmental factors that can decide how cold a dog feels:
Any wind accompanying the cold weather can cut through your dog’s coat, impairing their ability to insulate themselves and maintain bodily warmth.
Cloud cover makes the cold weather more pronounced, since it makes it harder for dogs (and humans) to absorb Vitamin D.
Swimming, snow, or rain drenches a dog’s coat and makes them feel colder.
Level of Activity:
The more active your pup stays, the more body heat they are likely to generate, and the more effective they will be at combating the cold.
How to Protect Dogs during Cold Weather?
We know how important stimulation, activity, and exercise are for dogs, and we understand how difficult it is to achieve this without stepping outdoors. But, what if the weather is too cold for comfort?
Like we mentioned, despite the natural coat that dogs have, they are vulnerable to significant dips in temperature. This is particularly true for senior dogs, young puppies, and dogs suffering from medical conditions. If stepping out of the house is unavoidable, make sure that your dog has plenty of pillows and blankets that they can use to stay dry and warm. You should also consider investing in a sweater or coat for your dog. If possible, keep your dog from walking on any cold water, slush, or snow. Another great idea is to purchase one of our heated dog beds for the home as these help greatly.
Ensure that there is ample clean water for your dog to drink. Snowy or cold conditions do not take away the need for water consumption. If your dog has a short-haired coat, is small in size, or is not accustomed to cold weather, you need to stay extra vigilant whenever you take your dog out with you. Even long-haired coats, when dirty or matted, lose their insulation ability, which increases your pet’s vulnerability to cold. For this reason, your dog’s coat should stay clean, healthy, and groomed at all times.
Does your dog spends a considerable amount of time outdoors during the cold? You might want to feed them around 10-15% more food than they usually consume. Additional calories lead to additional energy which can help maintain your pup’s body warmth. However, as always, do not make any changes to your pet’s diet without first consulting their veterinarian.
To sum up, dogs can definitely feel the cold, and some feel it a lot more than others, but heated dog beds eliminates this. Your dog’s sensitivity to cold depends upon their age, health, breed, size, and conditioning. It is important that you take the required precautions when taking your dog out in the cold, and be watchful for any signs that might indicate that your pup is finding it hard to endure the weather.