We want to keep moving in the winter and not let the cold weather get us down and often our best adventure pals are our dogs. Before going on your next walk or adventure, take note of your pup’s needs through the chilly season. Do you feel those walks are getting brisker and that the cold is almost too much to bear? Well, Fido might feel the same way. This winter and every winter it is important to pay attention to signals of extreme cold shown by your pet. You are getting cold when you go outside, and so is your pup.
How do you know if your pet is too cold?
There are several warning signs of your pet getting too cold, many are visible and act as good benchmarks for when it is time to go back inside.
Limping or Uneven Walking
If your pup is limping or walking gingerly his/her paws may be too cold, causing discomfort. This can also be displayed as walking on three legs, especially if you see your animal switching legs to ease discomfort in multiple paws. Check your dog's paw pads for signs of cold-weather injury or damage, including cracking pads or bleeding. If it is particularly snowy or icy out, check for ice buildup between toes and always wipe salt and other chemicals out of the crevices in the paw as well as on your dog’s coat if necessary. Most importantly, get your dog inside. The next time you want to take them out for long periods of time in the cold, consider doggie booties to protect those paws so you can both keep adventuring.
Is your dog burrowing into blankets and trying to cuddle up closer to you? Your pup is trying to warm up and may need a little bit of help from you. Take this reaction into consideration next time you take them out as to not push them to brave extreme cold. If they like the warmth of a fuzzy blanket, consider a sweater or coat to give them an extra layer of warmth this winter.
Whimpering or Labored Breathing
Whimpering is a very normal sign that your pup is uncomfortable. They are trying to communicate with you and ask for your help. If this is behavior that your dog is displaying outdoors, get them inside. If whimpering progresses to labored breathing, get your dog inside immediately and monitor them until they warm up as labored breathing can mean something more serious, like hypothermia. If labored breathing does not stop, contact your veterinarian.
Slowing Movements or Seeming Weak
If your pup is slowing down after extended time in the cold then their body is likely hard at work trying to keep them warm and they are becoming lethargic due to lack of energy. If your dog has a lot of energy, consider bringing them outside for shorter periods of time giving their body time to regulate their temperature. Some dogs, in particular, outdoor dogs, need more calories in the winter as their energy is exhausted trying to keep them warm. Consult your vet before making any diet changes, but consider this if lethargic behavior is unwavering.
Often times a pet owner’s best tool of knowing when to get their dog inside is learning their pet's preferences and habits. Take a mental note of the temperature when your pet displays any of the above behaviors due to extreme temperatures. This winter, don’t miss out on being able to access your dog’s ambient temperature whether you are at home or away with the Wagz Explore Smart Collar. You will receive alerts of extreme temperatures surrounding your dog and be able to see their average high and low temperatures daily. All right from your smartphone! Visit www.wagz.com/products to check out the whole line of Wagz smart pet products.