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3 Tips for Outdoor Play in Cold Weather

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3 Tips for Outdoor Play in Cold Weather

Cold weather can be ruff on us and our pets, but they still need to get some exercise! Here are 3 quick tips for getting through cold weather with your dogs.

Clothing

Get a jacket or sweater for your dog to use on especially cold days. Some pooches need a jacket when it’s 40 outside and some are happy to play without one even into temps below freezing.

How do I know if they need it?

If they are hesitant to go outside a jacket could help. A sweater or jacket can be helpful during the cold seasons, especially if your dog is reluctant to go outside in the snow to relieve himself

Dogs that (often times) need jackets:

  • Small, toy, and miniature shorthaired breeds, like Chihuahuas and French Bulldogs. These small pups can’t easily generate and retain enough body heat to keep themselves warm.
  • Dogs that sit low to the ground. Although breeds like Pembroke Welsh Corgis, for example, have thick coats, their bellies sit low enough to the ground to brush against snow and ice.
  • Breeds that typically have long hair but are clipped or shorn, like Poodles. Grooming may alter the natural protection of their coats.
  • Lean-bodied breeds with short hair, like Greyhounds and Whippets, should also be protected from the cold.
  • Senior dogs are prone to conditions that may require a winter coat, such as arthritis or a weakened immune system. Heat regulation may decline with age, making even a thick-coated dog uncomfortable in the cold.

*info obtained from the American Kennel Club.

Body Language

Your dog’s body language can help tell you if their cold. If they’re shivering, lifting paws high into the air, or standing completely still, they are probably cold. A dog that’s running around and/or rolling in the snow is most likely happy without a coat!

Exercise

Your dog still needs exercise and mental stimulation when it’s cold. If you have a backyard this is no problem, but if not you will need to get outside and brave the cold with your pup. Most dogs don’t have an aversion to the cold like we do. You might even find they have more energy than in warmer times of year! Walks and hikes can still be enjoyable in cold temps if you have the proper clothing!

Supervision

Do not leave your furry friend unattended outside for longer than you’d want to be out yourself!! Check on them periodically to make sure they’re still warm and bring them inside to warm up after extended outdoor play.

If you have a backyard where water is left out for your dogs, make sure that it’s not frozen. Access to fresh water is just as important in cold weather as it is in hot weather.

In Conclusion

Remember that exercise in every season of the year. Just because you may feel like cozying up on the couch during the winter doesn’t necessarily mean your pup does. A tired dog is a better behaved dog. Dogs, especially puppies and adolescent dogs, need an outlet for all their energy. If they don’t get their energy out on a walk or playing in the backyard, you might come home to find something chewed up! Shoot to be outside with your pup for about an hour every day if you have a young and/or athletic pup. If you have an older and/or less athletic breed, pay attention to their energy levels and provide an appropriate amount of exercise. Now go bundle you and your pup up and get some vitamin D!