The following article is courtesy of our partner, Banfield Pet Hospital. Used with permission.
Falling temperatures are no excuse to avoid outdoor exercise with your dog. Along with making sure you are appropriately dressed, your dog should also be properly protected from the elements. Some large breed dogs such as Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds and Huskies can tolerate the colder weather better than others. These dogs may also develop a thicker coat over time as they are exposed to colder weather.
Smaller breeds, however, like Chihuahuas and Miniature Pinschers, breeds with short coats and puppies should wear some type of protection, i.e., a coat or sweater, if the temperature drops too low. Look for coats or sweaters with high collars or a turtleneck that covers your dog from the base of the tail on top to the belly underneath.
Dog booties provide good barrier from chemicals or salts that are used on the pavement to prevent ice and/or melt snow, as well as protection from mud. If you don’t use the booties, be sure to wipe your dog’s paw pads with room temperature water after being outside.
- When you bathe your dog, dry him completely before taking him out in the cold weather for a walk or exercise. It is especially important be keep your dog well groomed during the winter months to protect him from the elements.
- If your dog frequently participates in outdoor activities during the colder months, increase his food intake, especially protein to help keep his coat thick and healthy. Dogs that are not as active during the winter months may need to have their food consumption reduced.
The amount of time you spend outside with your dog will depend on his size, breed type and age. Remember that ill or elderly dogs are more sensitive to cold weather. For any dog susceptible to the cold due to these factors, should only be taken outdoors to eliminate. Dogs in which cold weather agrees with them, can spend hours outside without getting cold but some of the smaller and younger dogs’ exercise sessions should be kept shorter. Dogs should not be left outside unattended.
Another activity consideration is doggie daycare, which is an excellent alternative during cold weather months. It’s a great place for your dog to get plenty of physical and mental stimulation while being with other dogs.