Symptoms of hypothermia for dogs:
.Strong shivering and pale skin (roll back the fur to check for white or dull-gray skin tone)
. Unexpected listness and lethargy changing the pace of moving outside
.Wrap your dog in warm blankets heated on the radiator or in the dryer.
.Apply a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel to the dog’s abdomen.
.Give warm fluids.
.Raise the body temp to above 100 degrees F (38.8 C) before removing the water bottle.
Raja and I are trying to preach to the unconverted, not those of you who are knitting, shopping, designing up a storm to make sure your dogs are warm in winter. You people don’t need to read further. (Yarn is on sale now post Christmas. Stock up.)
We are writing to the unconverted. May this post find you die hards out there. We know who you are. When we post listicles for Dogster, you are those fighting mad reactionaries who write in, “Dogs have fur, Stupid.” or “That’s why they’re dogs not people.” when we advocate weatherproofing your pup. You should read and learn the above symptoms and treatment.
Let’s go back to our favorite ancient subject, wolves. Yes, dogs evolved from wolves. Wolves do not wear coats. In the wilds, they hunt prey, drink from chilly, pristine streams, sleep in the snow and live an average of five years. The cause of death probably is not lack of coats, but general wear and tear of living the life of a hunter/forager in all kinds of weather: cold, hot, hungry, thirty, tired, hurt, diseased… all discomforts you seek to protect your dog from.
Now let’s consider your dog. Unless your dog is one of the dogs of snow-Malamute, Alaskan Sled Dog and similar breeds- and unless you yourself live outside in a very cold climate and your dog was born right there in your ice cave- your dog probably needs a coat or sweater when the temperature dips below 35. If your domestic dog is as comfortable as you are with temperatures between 62-70F inside, he won’t be comfortable for extended periods when the temperature is 40 degrees less.
So, for short outings around the property or to the corner and back, your dog will probably be happy without the ritual of coating up, but, for long walks in cold air, a coat helps your dog feel comfortable by insulating a warm layer near the skin in the fur. Rather than making you look simpleminded, a coat broadcasts that you know what you’re doing as a dog owner.
Temperatures across the mid to northern US have been highly changable. Some weeks have been an average of -10 degrees F and some weeks have averaged 45 degrees F. Beware the effects of radical changes because extreme cold will be especially debilitating after a week of mild temps. If you are complaining about how cold it is, then your dog, too, probably needs outerware.
Raja says, “Travel safely and warmly, live long and happily.” (Many of Raja’s outerwear, including his Folklore Cape-Coat, comes from Carolyn’s Originals.)