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  • How Can Cold Weather Affect Your Dog?

    Depending on our personal preferences, some of us wish and hope for colder weather to come around. We look forward to mornings when we can stay in bed, cozy and warm, and look out our windows at the overcast sky. For dogs, however, they have a different experience of the cold.

    Cold weather affects dogs differently than humans, such that they don’t associate nostalgia with the cold like we do. They may have health ailments which cold weather can exacerbate, and above all else, their basic needs of shelter and warmth must be met. As pet owners, it is our job to care for and protect our dogs from the cold; this article can help give some insight and information as to how you can care for your pet during colder weather.

    Dog in Winter

    Factors to Consider During Cold Weather

    There are several factors to consider during colder weather patterns so that your dog can remain healthy, safe, and comfortable. It is important to consult with your veterinarian to get more information that will help you ensure your pet’s safety and health. Here are some things to keep in mind if weather patterns shift to colder temperatures:

    Dog Breed

    Not all dog breeds are alike, which means the cold weather will affect breeds differently. Here are some of the characteristics that differ between breeds and how that might affect their response to cold weather:

    • Coat thickness – certain breeds have thicker coats, making it easier to stay warm during cold weather. This stems from their area of origin, which may be more fit for snow and colder regions. For instance, huskies have thicker coats, making them better able to withstand colder temperatures.
    • Fat storage – some breeds store fat differently than others, which keeps their bodies warmer overall. Along with coat thickness, fat storage might go together with helping keep your pet warm.
    • Metabolism – when a dog breed is better equipped for cold weather, their metabolism is quite different from other dogs. This means that during cold weather they require more fuel, which possibly means more food.

    Inside or Outside?

    Another important factor to consider is whether your dog spends most of its time inside or outside. Many dogs live happily outdoors with proper shelter and protection from the elements; however, your dog may be better off indoors during colder seasons or temporarily while cold weather conditions are present.

    Food and Water Intake

    Your dog’s breed isn’t the only thing that affects their metabolism; during colder weather your dog’s body has to work harder to burn off calories, which means they usually burn more calories. it is important to consult with your veterinarian to be sure your dog is getting enough food during cold weather. Furthermore, if their metabolism is working harder, they may be prone to dehydration. Be sure to keep your pet’s water dish full during cold weather.

    Overall Health

    Depending on several factors, your dog’s health condition could be greatly affected by cold weather. Here are a few factors to consider:

    • Age – older dogs are more susceptible to feeling the physical and psychological effects of cold weather. For instance, it may be more difficult for them to move around, and if they can’t get outside for exercise due to weather conditions, they may become “depressed.
    • Ailments – health conditions like arthritis can worsen during cold weather, as it makes joints stiffer and less maneuverable. It can also increase your dog’s level of pain and discomfort. It’s important to speak with your veterinarian to determine how to make your pet feel more comfortable during cold weather.

    Dog Wearing Scarf

    How We Can Help You and Your Pet

    The canine experts here at Dr. Ron’s Animal Hospital & Emergency are fortunate enough to experience mild weather conditions all year long; however, that doesn’t mean that colder temperatures don’t affect our pets. The residents of Simi Valley, Moorpark, Thousand Oaks, Chatsworth, and other areas nearby Ventura County typically experience warm conditions, but when cold temperatures hit it’s important to know what to do for your canine friend to keep them safe and comfortable. To learn more about our practice and services, or to schedule an appointment with a veterinarian, please call one of our helpful team members today.

    posted on February 5, 2019 at 12:45 pm by Doctor Ron