How much cold can a Labrador endure

Dogs in winter - the 10 most important tips

Most dogs have little effect on the cold, © Photo: Jörg Beerhorst /

Not only people have to adjust to the cold season, dogs - especially city dogs or particularly cold-sensitive specimens - usually need more care and attention in winter. So that your dog can get through the winter in good health, the Federal Veterinary Association has summarized the most important questions about dogs in winter.

Can my dog ​​catch a cold?

In dogs too, drafts or lying on cold stones or in a cold environment can lead to diseases such as bladder infections or a weakened immune system. This can promote an infection of the respiratory tract, because viruses or bacteria then have an easier time. Targeted treatment of the sick animal by the veterinarian may be necessary. In sub-zero temperatures, the following applies: Always keep movingso that the dog does not get hypothermic or catch cold. After a walk in cold, wet weather, it is advisable to rub your dog thoroughly with a towel and let him dry in a warm place.

How do I know my dog ​​is freezing?

If the dog does not tolerate the cold well and feels uncomfortable, then it trembles, retracts its tail, walks clammy and usually also more slowly. Dogs - especially those with a short coat and no undercoat - can quickly freeze and hypothermia if they do not move. When it is very cold, a dog should therefore not have to wait too long somewhere - be it in the unheated car or on a cold floor in front of the supermarket.

Is a dog coat necessary in winter?

Healthy dogs usually don't need a coat or sweater for a walk outdoors in winter. For dogs, any form of clothing is rather irritating, it can also restrict freedom of movement. For old or sick animals, breeds with short fur and no undercoat, a dog coat can be used useful in exceptional cases be.

When buying, you should pay attention to light, skin-friendly and breathable material. Wool or cotton is not water-repellent and therefore not suitable. When choosing a suitable dog coat, the most important thing is Fit important and not the brand. The dog's coat must fit well and must not constrict any part of the body or chafe against the skin. But it shouldn't sit too loosely either, because then it won't warm enough or the dog will get stuck on objects or bushes. In case of severe frost, it is generally advisable to use the Keep walks shorter and to make sure that the dog is always on the move. Anyway, trembling dogs belong in the warm.

Should dogs wear dog shoes (booties) in snow and ice?

A dog's paw is by nature quite robust, but the pads of some dogs are sensitive and soft. Regular checks are important. For dogs with soft or cracked pads, it can be useful to put booties on in the ice and snow in the city. These protect against the sharp-edged ice and road salt.

Does the dog need special paw care in winter?

The main problem in winter is that Road salt. Salt is especially a problem with dry, cracked bales as it can penetrate the cracks and cause pain. In addition, the sensitive pads are often licked off intensively after the walk, which in turn can lead to stomach problems. You should therefore rub the dog's paws with milking fat or petroleum jelly, for example, before going for a walk, and rinse off the residues thoroughly with warm water at home. Many dogs are reluctant to be touched by the balls of the feet, which makes it difficult to rub them in. Training for this can be useful so that the pads and the hairy areas in between can be treated before the walk. (Paw protection in ice and snow)

What do I have to consider after a walk in winter?

A thorough, lukewarm "foot bath" for the dog after the walk is enough to rinse off the salt. After that, the pads should be rubbed again with fatty ointment. If the pads are painfully irritated by salt, the dog will lick the areas excessively, thus promoting further irritation and inflammation. He also consumes more salt, which can lead to gastrointestinal irritation. The hair can be shortened there to prevent too much ice from forming between the pads.

Is wetness particularly dangerous in winter?

A wet dog should be dried off in winter and then at home in a warm, dry and draft-free place until it is completely dry again. Wet dogs should not lie on cold surfaces such as stone or tiles, as this can cause inflammation of the lungs or bladder.

Go for a walk in the dark?

In the dark, people and animals should wear highly visible reflectors so that drivers can see them and keep their distance. Reflective collars, Luminous collars or clickable reflectors are one possibility, a whole harness with reflectors is another. Flashing reflectors are rather irritating for dogs and can also lead to communication problems with one another. When playing with other dogs or in open, protected areas, it is therefore better to remove the safety equipment. (Protect dogs in the dark)

Do I have to feed my dog ​​differently in winter?

Dogs that are mostly outside use more energy in winter to keep warm. With such animals, the feed ration and quality must be different and higher in winter than in summer. For most family or apartment dogs, the cold is not a factor in their diet because they only spend a limited amount of time outdoors.

But be careful: even dogs with a short coat and no undercoat need more energy in winter to regulate their heat balance. This may also apply to shorn animals (after surgery or ultrasound examination) or sick animals. Ask your veterinarian about this.

Can my dog ​​eat snow?

Most dogs love to romp around in the snow, many even like to eat the snow, but not every dog's stomach can tolerate the ice-cold food. Sensitive dogs that eat snow can easily get upset stomachs, stomach cramps or snow gastritis with bloody diarrhea and vomiting. If road salt is also added to the snow, it can cause serious irritation and damage to the dog's stomach lining. It is best to offer your dog enough water before going for a winter walk so that he does not get too thirsty outside. You should also refrain from throwing snowballs for your dog. It's fun, but only encourages you to eat snow.