By Frederic Liébart, veterinary
January 24, 2016 – Walking one’s dog when it is very cold requires the same precautions as for oneself. At a temperature below -10 degrees Celsius, your animal must be properly dressed. Bear in mind that even if he has a good size and long hair, it could also be a victim of frostbite.
Many dog owners ask me about temperature: should they leave their pets outside in cold weather? If so, how long? And what precautions should they take in this situation? Of course, Saint Bernards, Newfoundland, Labradors and Bernese mountain dogs (to name a few) are better equipped to deal with freezing weather. Nevertheless, like any other dog breeds, their ends are sensitive to bitter cold.
The degree of weather and the wind chill factor should be taken into account. A temperature of around -10 degrees Celsius, accompanied by a strong wind may be inappropriate for your pet. Adequate measures will therefore be required, depending on the degree of vulnerability of your dog.
To prevent abuse caused by cold weather, it is recommended putting booties on your dog’s paws. They will help prevent potential frostbite and irritation caused by de-icing salt. Applying Vaseline under their paws will also help. Put on a coat to your dog. Different types are available in all sizes. Pay also attention to the ears of your dog and even more, if it has long ears that point upward. Such ears are well vascularized and more sensitive to cold.
In sum, our severe winter conditions call upon the use of common sense. If you enjoy practicing winter sports, you’d better choose a dog that can keep pace with you. Be aware that when a dog shivers, tramples on, leaks his paws or stop moving ahead, these are signs that he must be taken care of quickly. You are best to appreciate this situation and act accordingly.
Frédéric Liébart owns the veterinary clinic Pillet.
Photo: Dollar Photo Club/Alexei Maximenko
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