One of the things our dogs need for optimum health is exercise. The exercises can be through playing out in the park, walks or just training in the backyard. However, when the weather is chilly, you have to be extra careful not to expose your dog to extreme cold while exercising. Here are some factors to consider.
The size of your dog matters when it comes to the amount of cold he can tolerate. Small dogs have a larger surface area exposed to the weather compared to larger breeds. Therefore, if you own small dogs and large dogs in your home, know the smaller dogs will get cold faster than the large dogs, and let them get inside after a few minutes in the cold.
Some dog breeds such as Siberian Huskies are bred with cold regions in mind. Their coats are thick and are adapted to living in extremely cold areas. Some, on the other hand such as Greyhounds, don’t have a thick coat so they get cold easily. Use your judgment to determine how much cold your dog can withstand depending on the type of coat he has.
Weight is another factor to consider when exercising your dog in winter. A dog that is overweight has layers of fat insulating him, whereas a dog that has lost a lot of weight due to illness lacks this insulation and therefore can’t stay out in the cold for long.
How long a dog can stay out in the cold without falling sick is also determined by what he is used to. A dog that has lived in the tropics all his life will find it hard to stay out in the cold during winter. A dog that has lived in Alaska all his life is used to cold weather and won’t find it as hard.
You should consider a dog’s age and health. Puppies and old dogs might be affected by cold weather more than adult dogs. In the same way, healthy dogs are better able to cope in cold weather compared to sick dogs.
The type of cold weather also determines how long you can safely exercise your dog outdoors. If it’s just cold outside, the dog might stay out longer as opposed to a day when it’s cold and raining. Any weather that makes the dog wet is worse than weather that’s just cold but dry.
In general, make sure you watch your dog closely throughout the exercising session. If he indicates discomfort or starts to shiver, it’s time to call it a day and take him indoors.
Factors to Consider when Exercising your Dog in Winter