Have you ever wondered how dogs survive during winter , saying how we have to dress from head to toe to stay warm while dogs stay for different time periods ‘naked’ outside ?
And how they can dive head first and roll around in the snow , first thing in the morning?
Obviously , resistance to cold , especially in dogs depends on the breed . For example a Newfoundland , husky, ,malamute or Bernese Mountain Dog are able to resist in a snowstorm quite easily. The same cannot be said for a Chihuahua or toy poodle for example.
In general, smaller dogs tend to go into hypothermia more quickly. This is a question of the animal’s surface exposure in relation to its size . Let’s look at two extremes , the Chihuahua versus the malamute .
The “traditional” Chihuahua has short hairs , very little fat and therefore quickly lose its body heat. In return, the malamute, has two layers of’ insulators’ which help withstand the rigors of winter. It has a dense coat in addition to a protective subcutaneous layer of fat . In addition, because of its large volume in relation to the body surface area exposed ,the malamute does not easily lose its heat. Breeds like these are really winter dogs and have sometimes difficulties coping with the hot and humid Canadian summers . Dogs from Nordic countries generally have a dense fur and a sub- coat which improves their resistance to cold. In contrast, we cannot say the same of our Mexican-born and bred friend ‘El Chihuahua’….
Another important factor to consider is the age of the dog.In general, healthy adult dogs have a metabolism operating at optimum levels. The same,however, cannot be said of puppies and older dogs who are much less able to defend against the cold.
In addition,If your dog is accustomed to living indoors all year round, it will be much more
sensitive to cold and humidity levels. Obviously,this is normal. In cold weather , you need to shorten your dog-walks. You can even make him wear a coat, they exist for all types of breeds . Coats are perfect for greyhounds, boxers and Dobermans or any short hair breeds that are not well equipped to face the cold . There are also boots which protect their paws from cold , salt and other de-Icers . By the way, for those who find that it is not very manly to put boots on their dogs , know that boots are frequently used by’ tougher than nails’ sled dogs.
So even though our dogs are less sensitive to cold than we are, let’s remember that in cold weather they can still suffer from hypothermia and frostbite . So be careful. Do not leave your dog outside too long , especially small breeds or those with short hair. and when necessary , play dress up and walk out in style.