If you can call yourself the proud owner of a breed specially bred to endure extreme temperatures (like the Siberian Husky- able to withstand a whopping -30* Fahrenheit, or maybe even the thick-coated Chow Chow), your pooch will probably be okay in the upcoming harsh Winter weather. If you care for a much smaller toy breed, like perhaps a Chihuahua or Rat Terrier, the frigid temperatures soon to come could prove lethal even with that cute little ‘doggie coat’. These little fellows weren’t bred for cold temperatures, and should be observed while outdoors this winter.
Most dogs need winter protection - just like people do. Are you prepared to keep your pooch warm and comfy?
- Even the experienced mushers of the 1000 mile Alaskan Iditarod dog sled race protect their dogs (often Siberian Huskies) with dog socks!
- Despite continued warnings from organizations such as the ASPCA, pet owners continue to leave their animals tethered outdoors during extreme winter storms; every year, pets are discovered frozen to death.
- Siberian Huskies will actually burrow holes in the snow to protect themselves from harsh winds; they are one of the few breeds more comfortable in extremely low temperatures!
Size & Coat
The size of your pup will protect them from the elements only to a point; body fat and musculature will make a limited difference. In the end, it’s more about your pooch’s coat (or coats, in the double-coated variety). For example, both Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes carry water-resistant double coats, similar to their Grey wolf predecessors. Labrador Retrievers were bred to withstand frigid waters for lengthy periods, and would be better prepared to handle the elements (though nowhere near the extreme level of the previous two).
Single-coated and short-haired breeds, or even hairless breeds like the infamous Chinese Crested, on the other hand…
- Hairless breeds, like the above mentioned Chinese Crested, are prone to skin irritation; be careful what material you cover them with!
- Make sure your dog’s clothing fits! You don’t want anything to be overly restrictive or tight.
Does your pup need a raincoat? Again, the real question here is: is your pooch’s coat ‘water-resistant’? The answer requires perhaps less than a minute of internet research. If so inclined, feel free to call your veterinarian! In general, it is the dogs bred for cold weather, those intended to work in snowy environments (like the Husky, Malamute, Chow Chow &and Labrador mentioned above) that maintain water resistant coats. In all, there are far too many breeds to mention here!
Use reason here; this doesn’t mean dogs should be out in freezing rain/hail. Even breeds like the Husky can have problems with water freezing on their outer coat.