When is it too cold to walk the dog? Here’s when the weather means you should avoid walkies, and if it’s safe to walk in the snow 🐶

With temperatures expected to drop to -10C in the coming days, dog owners are wondering if it’s best to keep their pets warm and safe indoors.

The dangers of walking dogs in hot weather and the risk of heat stroke are fairly well known, but many are less aware of the impact cold temperatures can have.

With a long winter ahead of us, Canine Cottages vacation rental agents have teamed up with Clinical Animal Behavior Specialist Rachel Rodgers to offer some tips on how to keep your dog warm on winter walks – and when he’s best to stay indoors.

Commenting on the advice, a spokesperson for Canine Cottages said: ‘We often think of dogs as hardy, hardy animals, but even they can get too cold. We encourage all owners to take care of their pup this winter, and if in doubt about your dog’s outdoor adventures, seek professional advice.

Here’s what you need to know.

When is it too cold for your dog to walk?

It is not uncommon to wake up to temperatures below 0°C in winter. Temperatures around -4°C and below are too cold for short-haired dogs, while long-haired dogs can handle slightly lower temperatures, down to -9°C. Rodgers explains some of the signs to look out for in your dog: “Dogs will shiver when they are cold. Their ears may also be cold to the touch. Some dogs will seem stiff in their movements when they begin to feel lethargic and may even have difficulty walking. Behaviorally, you may see your dog stop walking, whine or vocalize a little and not want to go any further. In extreme cases, dogs can develop hypothermia if exposed to extreme temperatures for too long. If this happens, the dog will have a rapid drop in body temperature, slower breathing, and may be unresponsive and collapse. The dog will need urgent veterinary care and should be warmed up gradually – heating pads/hot water bottles should not be used in these cases.

Is it okay to walk in the snow?

It’s fun to play in the snow with your pup, but sometimes it’s best to stay cozy by the fire.

We all love to see a fresh blanket of snow on a winter morning, but a blanket of snow can also hide dangers on the ground.

Rodgers explains what to avoid when walking your dog in the snow: “Try not to let your dog get wet. Even though some dogs, like Labradors, may like water and want to go to lakes and ponds in the winter, it’s really best to avoid this to prevent them from battling hypothermia. Although the dog may appear to be fine while paddling, its body will continue to cool after exiting the water, which can become dangerous. They are also at risk for acute caudal myopathy, also known as floppy tail syndrome, where the tail becomes flaccid after spending too much time in the water.

Avoid gravel salts on your walk

Rodgers also mentions that it’s important to avoid gravel salt, explaining, “Try to avoid walking on roads that cross people’s driveways because owners often sprinkle gravel in the way. Heading to parks or rural areas is safer. If you suspect your dog has walked in gravel, be sure to clean his paws thoroughly when you get home and don’t let him clean himself and ingest salts and gravel. Some people consider using booties on their dogs’ feet, but many dogs will find it an unpleasant experience and won’t be too happy with them being put on.

Assess if your dog is ready for cold walks

Rodgers says, “You need to be more careful with very young dogs that came into a new home at 8/9 weeks, as well as older dogs. They generally have lower body fat levels and struggle to regulate their body temperature as well as young adult dogs.

“Dogs over 8 years old have an 80% chance of getting arthritis and conditions like this get worse when they are cold. There are also health issues you need to consider, such as diabetes, heart failure, and kidney disease.These conditions put dogs at higher risk, so owners will need to be extra careful during colder months.This also applies to short-haired dogs. or hairless.

Which breeds are most susceptible to the effects of the cold?

Take extra care with small, short-haired dogs such as Chihuahuas, Beagles, and Dachshunds. Larger dogs, such as Great Danes and/or Dalmatians, also tend to get very cold in harsh winter weather.