As the colder months approach, a common question I receive is how well dalmatians tolerate the cold, whether they feel it, or need extra protection. This article will explain everything you need to know about Dalmatians and cold weather.
Due to their single-layered short coat, Dalmatians get cold quickly. Extra caution should be taken during winter and if temperatures drop below 5°C then a protective dog jacket is recommended for Dalmatians.
Do Dalmatians Feel The Cold?
Large breeds are usually capable of keeping warmer in colder conditions due to their size, but because Dalmatians are a single-coated breed with short fur, body heat is lost very easily. This means Dalmatians do actually feel the cold quite quickly despite being large and muscular.
How cold is too cold for a Dalmatian?
On a sunny, dry winter day 5°C (40°F) is quite tolerable for most dalmatians, as long as they are running around and moving. Conversely, on a damp, dark, and windy day the same 5°C may actually feel like -5°C! which would be far too cold.
It’s so important to consider the weather conditions, rather than just the temperature.
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Do Dalmatians Need a Coat/Jacket In Winter?
The next question owners often ask is whether or not their dalmatian should wear a winter jacket, and the simple answer is yes! Winter jackets can help Dalmatians tremendously so they are certainly recommended.
Protective dog jackets are made for all shapes and sizes and can be of great help for a short single-layered coated breed like the Dalmatian. Having your Dal wear a winter jacket will keep them warm and safe for longer while outside exercising.
The main benefits of winter jackets fog dogs:
● Allows you to keep going out in colder weather than you would have been able to otherwise
● Dalmatians NEED a lot of exercise and cold weather can’t get in the way of it
● Good winter jackets are water-resistance and prevent his coat from getting wet, for longer
● Good winter jackets are made to be high-vis which is necessary for dark winter days
A high-quality winter jacket will likely work well with your Dalmatian, but you have to remember it doesn’t give him superpowers. He can still get too cold and wearing a winter jacket shouldn’t get in the way of his safety and your decision to stay home. If it’s too cold, it’s too cold.
Here’s a great winter jacket from Kurgo on Amazon.com
This is original content produced and published by The Puppy Mag: www.thepuppymag.com
Do Dalmatians Like The Snow?
Most highly active breeds enjoy the snow upon first impressions. The unusual texture and temperature usually excite most dals and from there on out all they want to do is play.
When dogs experience their first snow it can be really rewarding and it’s certainly a great moment to enjoy with them. Not to mention it will be a great play session with valuable physical exercise.
But there are two important points to mention. Your dalmatian will blend in with the snow easily at even a short distance, and two, your dalmatian’s paws and feet are very unprotected. The paws on dogs can freeze when exposed to cold temperatures for too long, so be sure to constantly check and feel his paws, remove ice and snow build-up, and be ready to call it a day.
Other Dalmatian Articles to Check Out
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How Much Exercise Does a Dalmatian Need?
Why Does My Dalmatian Follow Me?
Ways To Prevent Your Dalmatian From Getting Too Cold
Let’s run through some obvious and some not-so-obvious ways that you can keep your dalmatian from getting too cold this winter. Remember the safety of your dog is your responsibility, and whenever you are not sure, just stay inside! That’s a simple but important rule.
1. Wear an Extra Layer When Out on Walks ✔️
Dalmatians need their exercise, and going out for walks will continue to happen even as the temperature starts getting lower. In the worst-case scenario that your Dalmatian suddenly becomes too cold, being able to take off one of your own extra layers to wrap around him will give you extra time to get back to safety.
2. Avoid Wet or Rainy Days ✔️
Whenever it’s raining or already wet, you should avoid going out. Your dal will be able to tolerate colder weather when it’s sunny and dry, but when it’s wet, it will suck the heat right out of him and he’ll become too cold very quickly.
3. Remove Snow From His Paws and Toes ✔️
If you are enjoying time in the snow, that’s fine, just ensure you don’t spend too long in it, and constantly check his paws to remove snow and ice build-up. Paws are very sensitive to temperature and the pads can even freeze.
4. Avoid Lakes, Rivers and Bodies of Water ✔️
Some dalmatians like the water and some don’t but staying away from bodies of water is an important safety rule to stick to. Frozen lakes are a HUGE hazard and falling into ice-cold water could even be fatal. Not only that, but it would put your own safety at risk when you undoubtedly try to help.
5. Consider Using Dog Boots or “Booties” ✔️
Dog boots are such a thing and are widely used throughout regions that experience a lot of snow and ice. You can get ones like these that are water-resistant and extremely durable. You can find a range of different sizes, materials, water-resistant capabilities, high-vis strips, and so on. Considering that the paw pads are the first part to freeze, booties may be worth trying.
6. Keep Him Active Indoors ✔️
As the weather continues to get worse, be prepared to continue his exercise regime inside your home. This may be very challenging depending on the size of your home, but get creative, use your space to the best of your ability, and keep his heart rate up. Indoor fetch, chasing new toys, and playing hide and seek around your house will all be appreciated.
7. Keep Him Visible ✔️
The last thing you want to happen on a very cold day is your dalmatian to wander too far. Winter conditions often reduce the visibility especially if it’s snowy, your dalmatian will blend right in. One of the main benefits of winter jackets aside from staying warm is their bright high visibility colors.
8. Get Him a Winter Jacket ✔️
If you want to continue taking your Dalmatian out for walks then getting a winter jacket will eventually be necessary. Winter jackets will be like adding a second layer of fur to him. He’ll be more insulated, more water-resistant, plus you will be able to see him when he goes ahead of you. Check out this jacket on Amazon.
9. Consider Adjusting His Diet ✔️
As long as it’s within his healthy weight limit for his age and size, try adding a boost of protein and healthy fats to his diet. This will increase his weight and muscle mass a small amount, in order to tolerate slightly cooler conditions. This does not mean compromise his health or feed him unhealthy tidbits. Try adding in a small amount of wet dog food to his dry kibble. Wet dog food is highly nutritious and has a high protein content.
10. Ensure Your Dalmatian Has Good Recall ✔️
As the winter months approach it’s a good idea to practice training his recall from within your home. Little training games that involve calling him to you (then rewarding him) will slowly but surely increase his ability to come back when you call him. When your Dalmatian is out on walks, for him to actually come back to you the moment you call him is invaluable and is critical for his safety, and even yours. If the weather suddenly changes and starts snowing, raining, or hailing, you’re going to need to call him back right away.
Signs Your Dalmatian Is Too Cold
As you now know that Dalmatians are susceptible to getting too cold, it’s important to be aware of the following signs which tell you he needs warm-up. Some of the following signs could suggest that hypothermia is starting to set in, so if you see any of them you should seek a warmer place as quickly as possible.
● Holding a paw up in the air.
If your Dalmatian is trying to hold a paw up in the air, it doesn’t matter if it’s back or front (usually the front) left or right, it means he’s too cold. Paws are extremely sensitive to temperature and will be the first part to freeze.
● Slowing movements.
If you’re out in the cold weather to exercise your Dalmatian, it should be kept high pace at all times. This will help his body and muscles remain warm. The moment he slows down and seems either reluctant or incapable of moving fast, it means he’s already too cold and you should head back inside.
● Shivering or shaking.
When we start getting cold, our muscles automatically start contracting and relaxing very rapidly, and it happens in dogs too. This is involuntary and is a way for the body to heat up. It’s rather noticeable in dogs and if you see it, you must head back inside.
● Hunching of the back.
Dogs, just like humans have a tendency to hunch over when we are cold. This is an indication that he’s becoming too cold and you should head back inside.
● Tail between the legs.
The tail between the legs is a common body language behavior that means many things. In this case, it means that your Dalmatian is too cold and you need to seek a warmer place.
● Any other unusual behavior.
The cold can do weird things and if you see any unusual behavior coming from your Dalmatian, whether it’s weird actions or noises. You must head back inside quickly.
Cold weather shouldn’t get in the way of your Dalmatian’s exercise routine, so long as it’s not freezing with windy rainy conditions, most health dals will be absolutely fine exercising outside with a protective jacket.
However, when it gets excessively cold, opt to exercise your dalmatian inside your home with fetch, hide and seek, and other high-intensity games.
As a responsible dog owner, it’s important for you to be aware of how your Dalmatian is feeling and always use common sense when assessing the weather outside. Don’t rely on weather apps and don’t just assume it’s fine because of the actual temperature reading. Go outside and feel whether it’s damp, windy, dark, and think about how it feels.