Do dogs get cold in the cold?
How Cold Is A House For Dogs?
As winter approaches, thermostat settings begin to change. For people, getting comfortable in the cold can be as simple as grabbing a blanket, putting on a jacket, or raising the temperature by a degree or two. But when your dog is uncomfortable with the heat, there's not much they can do.
Therefore, as dog owners, we must ensure our dogs are comfortable by setting the thermostat to a temperature that is comfortable for them as well as for us. But we can't ask our dogs what temperature they prefer, so how cold should you keep your home?
Honestly, every dog â€‹â€‹is different, but there are some simple rules you can follow to make sure you always keep your dogs in the warmth of the home.
Different Dogs Withstand Different Temperatures
Some dogs are bred to handle extreme temperatures, icy cold wind and snow. Consider breeds like Alaskan Malamutes or Siberian Huskies. If you own one of these dogs, it's like you're wrapped in a sleeping bag, three blankets, and a parka, and you're still a lot colder than your dog.
But compare that to a fine-haired little dog like the Chihuahua. This breed hails from the hot climate of Mexico, it was by no means bred to withstand the cold! Obviously, dogs like this will chill in much higher temperatures than a dog with a thick double coat.
Factors Affecting Cold Sensitivity
Many different things can affect a dog's sensitivity to cold.
Breed - As we discussed earlier, some breeds are more or less sensitive to cold due to factors such as the geographical location in which the breed was created. Breeds from the arctic tundra are better adapted to cold temperatures.
Leather - This depends on the breed, but sometimes there are mixed breeds that have features like a double coat that can keep them warm in colder weather.
Size – Larger dogs are less sensitive to cold than smaller dogs. They have more body mass that produces more heat. Naturally, this helps keep them warmer. Likewise, they have more insulation from lower temperatures than lower-mass dogs.
Age – Older dogs are more sensitive to cold than younger dogs.
What Is a Cold for a Dog?
We talked about the differences between dogs, how temperature affects them and how it can change it. But that's a very general answer, and it won't help you much when you're trying to figure out what temperature to keep your house at so your dog is comfortable. For now, let's discuss dogs that don't like the cold.
This includes all dogs not bred for cold weather. Short-haired dogs, small dogs, older dogs and dogs that do not prefer cold weather fall into this category.
For these dogs, 7 degrees is where you start to see the effects of the cold. However, these temperatures will not harm any dog. Still, if your dog is going to be outside in 7 degrees, they will at least need a safe shelter where they can escape the weather.
When temperatures drop below freezing, health risks can become a real possibility. At 0 degrees, you will begin to notice signs that your dog is getting cold, for example:
lack of movement
At -6 degrees the dangers are very real and your dog could suffer serious consequences.
Health Risks for Dogs Exposed to the Cold
At this point, you are probably wondering what adverse health effects your dog will have on the health of being in this cold weather.
In temperatures close to or below -6 degrees, your dog may suffer from frostbite or hypothermia. Frostbite happens when ice balls form on your dog and this can cause damage if not treated right away. Hypothermia is worse and happens when your dog's temperature drops too low, causing reduced blood flow, slowed heart rate, slowed breathing, and even unconsciousness or death.
For dogs with arthritis, a cold can mean increased pain. As the joints begin to lock, they become less and less mobile. You will need to limit walks and allow your dog to spend most of his time indoors that are warmer.
Ideal Home Temperatures for Dogs
As we've seen, the consequences can be serious for dogs that don't like the cold at low temperatures. But outside is where things get a lot cooler than your home. Inside, frostbite is not a concern, but a comfort.
For the most part, your dog will be comfortable in temperatures similar to yours, but will likely feel better in a slightly cooler room.
For larger dogs with thicker coats, 20-22 degrees is a great temperature for the home. Smaller dogs and those with finer hair will have no problem at these temperatures but would probably prefer it to be a little warmer in the 23-25 â€‹â€‹degree range.
But remember, even dogs that don't like the cold don't experience adverse health effects from the cold until they start reaching temperatures close to freezing.
Falling winter temperatures can often mean increased Gas or electricity costs as you run the heater harder to keep the home warm. The good news is that if you're keeping the house warm for your dog's sake, you can probably save some money on your heating bill. Your dog will be comfortable in most temperatures between 18-24 degrees. And if you're worried that 18 is too cold for your dog, remember that they are actually safe with no worries unless it drops below 7 degrees.
Remember, not all dogs need warming up. If your dog comes from a cold climate and has a thick double coat, he or she will suffer from cold to very hot temperatures, so do them a favor and let the house cool a bit!