It’s that time again. The icy winds and fridge-like temperatures cause concern for many vizsla owners out there. If you own a vizsla where the temperatures drop, you aren’t alone. This article will outline important tips to keep your vizsla safe and warm throughout winter.
Yes, Vizslas get cold easily. Vizslas are not able to retain body heat very well due to having a short single-layered coat. This type of coat, along with their classic lean build with minimal fat makes them vulnerable in cold weather.
Do Vizslas Get Cold Easily?
Vizslas are physically strong, robust, and resilient, but unfortunately, they are not well-suited to cold weather.
Why do vizslas get cold so easily?
The first reason why vizslas get cold so easily is due to their coat only having a single layer. Vizslas have no undercoat which is typically the “insulation” layer.
Without a double-coat, their skin is very exposed, and retaining body heat becomes an impossible task.
And secondly, vizslas have an extremely lean physique with hardly any fat. Their muscles may be on display to make the other dogs blush, but this doesn’t help them when it comes to retaining heat!
So this is why it’s crucial to keep your vizsla safe throughout winter. But first, how cold is too cold?
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What Temperature Is Too Cold For a Vizsla?
What temperature is too cold for a vizsla? How cold is too cold? These are likely your next questions, so let’s run through it.
● Before covering specific temperatures, it’s first important to mention weather conditions. This is because 5°C (40°F) on a dry, sunny, and wind-free day is completely different compared to the same 5°C (40°F) on a wet, windy, and cloudy day. Always remember, weather conditions make a huge difference!
● Ok, but what temperature is too cold? As long as your vizsla remains very active, a safe minimum would be 5°C on a dry sunny day. If the temperatures are lower, or the conditions are worse, the chances of frostbite or hypothermia increase.
Although some may disagree with this, it is considered the “safe” level.
If you start adding protective measures like winter coats and winter boots then this may increase your vizsla’s tolerance. I will cover this below.
The Biggest Dangers In Cold Weather
As the temperatures start to drop it’s important to know what you need to be careful of, plus, what are the biggest dangers facing your vizsla.
Vizslas are vulnerable to two serious conditions throughout winter:
- Hypothermia can be a fatal condition where the organs and cells begin failing to operate normally until they stop working altogether. The heart, brain, immune system, and nervous system are all compromised and at risk once hypothermia sets in.
- Frostbite is when the skin and tissue cells practically freeze and then become damaged through exposure to very cold temperatures. This condition is not as serious as hypothermia but it is still can still be extremely painful and cause long-term damage. The nose, ears, paws, and tail are the most vulnerable to frostbite.
The signs to look out for which may suggest hypothermia is setting in:
● Shallow, labored breathing
● Slow movements or limited mobility
● Dilated pupils
● Excessive shivering or trembling
Two other things to be very careful of are harsh ice-melt chemicals, and rock salt. Both are put down across driveways and pavements to prevent and resolve ice build-up.
These are both very bad for your vizsla’s paws and could even result in cuts, rashes, allergic reactions, and a trip to the vets.
Let’s run through some more signs that you vizsla is getting too cold.
Signs Your Vizsla Is Getting Too Cold
If you know the signs to look out for, you may be able to prevent the serious conditions explained above from happening.
Let’s run through the most common signs that vizslas display when getting cold.
The signs your vizsla is getting too cold:
● Holding a paw off the ground. As the paws are the first point of contact, they are often one of the first extremities to be affected by the cold. One of the first signs your vizsla will display is trying to hold either one of their front paws up off the ground.
● Hunch back. If you notice your vizsla has a slightly hunched-over back, this also means he is getting too cold. Much like when we are cold, we raise our shoulders up to our ears.
● Movements slowing down. Mobility dramatically decreases as the cold sets in. If your vizsla is running and bouncing around as normal that’s a great sign, but the moment he slows right down, and perhaps even refuses to walk further, it’s time to go back inside.
● Shaking and shivering. When the body gets cold the muscles will involuntarily contract and relax rapidly in order to create heat within the body. If you see your vizsla shivering or shaking, he’s too cold.
● Tucked tail. If your vizsla starts to display a tucked tail, this is another sign he’s feeling the cold. This usually happens along with hunching over.
When you are out with your vizsla, be sure to take note of his movements and body language at the start of the walk when he’s warm, content, and energetic. Gauge how his demeanor changes, if it stays the same that’s great, but if he’s feeling the cold, he will display a range of the above warning signs
⭐ If your vizsla is too cold it’s important to seek a warmer place immediately. Ensure he is dry, provide warm blankets or towels for him to lay on, and offer him lukewarm drinking water instead of cold. (lukewarm only, not hot)
Do Vizslas Need Coats In Winter?
Yes, water-resistant dog coats are definitely recommended when taking your Vizsla out in temperatures lower than 5C (40F).
Winter jackets add an extra layer of protection, keep light rain out, and allow you to continue going for walks throughout winter.
Fortunately, many winter jackets fit vizslas available online. For the benefit that they provide, they are certainly worth the small investment.
⭐ Our favorite: Kurgo Waterproof Dog Jacket
The Kurgo jacket is one of the highest-reviewed winter jackets online, and for good reason. The quality is great, it’s durable, long-lasting, waterproof, and reflective. You can check out the photos and reviews by following the link just above (Amazon).
⭐ Second choice: Kuoser Cosy Reversible Waterproof Dog Jacket
We also love the reversible jacket from Kuoser. The reason we like this one so much is that it has two sides. One of the sides is very similar to the Kurgo jacket above, and the other is a very soft cozy material that could even be used around the house.
All in all, winter jackets are certainly a wise purchase going into winter. Although they won’t make your vizsla like ironman, they will increase your vizsla’s tolerance by keeping him dry and better insulated.
8 Tips To Keep Your Vizsla Warm & Safe In Winter
Here are 8 ways to keep your vizsla safe and comfortable throughout the colder winter months.
1. Use Paw Wax or Winter Boots
Paw wax is typically more comfortable than wearing winter boots, but it provides less overall protection. Either way, paw wax or winter boots both provide an extra layer of protection between the ground and your vizsla’s paws.
When it becomes icy, the biggest concern for owners will be harsh ice-melt chemicals and rock salt. Winter boots will protect your vizsla’s paws against both of these issues.
2. Increase Calories (If Possible)
Increasing his calories just a little will actually help his body remain warm throughout colder weather. The body has to work harder in general throughout the winter and this burns up more calories.
To maintain his ideal weight, it’s normal to increase his calories slightly throughout the winter months. If your vizsla is already overweight then this may not be necessary.
3. Avoid Rainy Days
Preventing your vizsla from getting wet is essential in preventing hypothermia and frostbite. The moment his coat or skin becomes damp, he becomes susceptible to the cold even if he’s still running around and active.
If it’s raining or even misty, you may be better off exercising him inside if you have space. Games like tug of war, hide and seek and short distance fetch can still provide some level of exercise.
4. Don’t Walk Too Far From Your Home
If you usually walk to your local dog park that is already say 15 minutes away, it may be better to drive there first and then start your walk when you arrive.
When the weather is very cold, the last thing you want to happen is your vizsla to start slowing down, shivering, and tucking his tail when you are at the furthest point away from home. Always consider how far away you are, and use the car to drive somewhere first if need be.
5. Lukewarm Drinking Water
If your house is anything like mine, the water in my dog’s bowl gets extremely cold where it’s located by the backdoor. One way to keep your vizsla nice and warm, especially after a long walk in the cold is to provide lukewarm drinking water instead of water straight from the cold tap.
Lukewarm is neither warm nor cold, and this will keep his body temperature at a safe level.
6. Invest In a Winter Jacket
As I mentioned earlier winter jackets are great, and it’s certainly something to consider. Winter jackets, especially when they are waterproof go a long way in keeping your vizsla warmer for longer.
Having a quality winter jacket for your vizsla will enable you to go outside for walks in conditions you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to.
7. Provide Extra Blankets
Some houses are naturally colder than others, but whether yours is or isn’t it only helps to provide extra blankets for your vizsla to lay on and snuggle in whenever he feels like it. Extra blankets can go in his bed as well as in your living room for the evening times.
8. Keep Him On Leash In Bad Weather
If you happen to be out on a walk when the weather suddenly turns bad, call him and put him on the leash as soon as possible. Unless your vizslas recall is absolutely perfect (which isn’t likely) keeping him on the leash is the safest thing to do.
One situation I still see way too often is when owners are desperately trying to call their pooch back, only for them to be ignored. In bad weather, this becomes a big safety hazard.
Do Vizslas Like The Snow?
Another popular question is whether vizslas like the snow? And this one has a very easy answer… Yes! they absolutely love it!
Your vizsla’s first experience with snow will definitely bring a smile to your face! To put it short, he’s going to lose his mind with excitement! Snow provides a very different feeling for dogs, from the texture, temperature, and a weird lack of smell!
Vizslas like most dogs are compelled to go on mad dashes in and around the snow for what seems like forever. It’s a fun experience for them and one that they will love!
When it comes to snowy weather, be sure to consider using winter boots and a winter jacket, as the snow will eventually make your vizsla very wet. And the boots will protect his paws from sharp objects under the snow, as well as the icy temperatures.
And remember, despite how much fun your vizsla is having, it’s best not to spend too long outside in thick snow!
Thank You for reading! I really hope I have covered everything you wanted to know about vizslas in wintertime. If there was something I failed to mention, please message me and I will be happy to add in relevant sections! Kind regards, Harry.
American Veterinary Medical Association – Dog Winter Safety