With the current winter weather sweeping the country, we need to address the question: How cold is too cold for dogs?
As industry professionals, we need to balance the needs of our clients with the safety of the animals we care for. Many clients will bring animals in for daycare during inclement weather. We have a responsibility to provide our clients animals with a safe environment while also providing the services they have paid for. The safety of the animal should always be our first priority. To help you with this balance we will offer a few tips and also a chart that can help you make sure the clients expectations are met while still caring for the animal.
How will different dogs do in colder temperatures?
Age: Older dogs are more prone to hypothermia as they will not be able to maintain heat as well as younger, stronger, dogs.
Weight: Thinner dogs will become cold much faster than dogs with more body fat.
Health: Dogs with health problems will have a harder time maintaining their body heat.
Size: Smaller dogs have more trouble retaining heat and will become colder much faster than larger dogs.
Coat Color: Dogs with dark-colored coats absorb heat from the sun and will stay warmer than dogs with light color coats.
Coat Type – Dogs who are native to colder climates have evolved to have thicker coats and double coats. These dogs will be able to withstand colder temperatures.
Conditioning: Dogs who are used to cold weather fare much better in colder temperatures.
What can we train our technicians to be aware of?
At the first signs of hypothermia, the dog may seem “out of it”, have a lack of alertness, and they may shiver or seem weak.
As the hypothermia progresses, dogs will have shallow or slow breathing, low blood pressure, and be weak.
As they enter the severe danger area of hypothermia, their blood pressure will drop to the point where a heartbeat is inaudible, they will have trouble breathing, and their pupils will become fixed or dilated. They may fall into a coma at this point.
If you suspect a dog in your care is suffering from hypothermia, see our article Treating Hypothermia in Dogs.
Chart created by Petplan.com
Currently, I own and oversee Shady Acres Pet Ranch and Fur Kids Grooming in Round Rock Texas. In the past I have owned and managed Compassion Pet Sitting, one of the largest Pet Sitting Services in the Austin, TX metro Area.
I have also worked as an Executive in Fortune 50 and Startup Businesses for the last 18 years, providing me a strong foundation of Leadership, Business, Finance, Technology, and Marketing.
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