We can say that most dogs enjoy playing in the snow, even the little ones that more like swim through the snow. However what breeds of dog were actually built for snow and why?
The Alaskan malamute and Siberian Husky are the first ones that jump to my mind.
The Alaskan malamute was bred to carry heavy loads across distances by pulling a sled in the snow. The Siberian husky is also a sled pulling breed but were much lighter and faster and were used more recently in sled racing. Both of these breeds have a double layered coat consisting of a thick soft undercoat and a more wiry top coat to keep them warm in the cold climate.
They even have fur inside their ears to stop them losing valuable heat!
Other sled dogs include the greenland dog and the Canadian eskimo dog.
However for other dogs that weren’t bred to live in such cold conditions you may need a coat to keep them warm.
Do dog’s really need to wear coats?
The easiest and best way to decide if you need to put a coat on your dog is to look at their behaviour. Similar to us they will shiver/tremble, they might start whining and generally being lethargic and not wanting to go out. These will tend to be short haired and skinny breeds but don’t go on that alone.
Whilst dogs feet are very tough in comparison to ours they are still susceptible to frostbite, but what can be more harmful is the salt we put down as it can cause burns on the dog’s pads. So if you are doing a lot of walking in heavy snow consider buying dog boots or applying paw wax. Just make sure when using dog boots that they aren’t left on all the time and have chance to air off.
Myth? or Truth?
- Dog’s don’t need as much water in winter? Myth. Dogs still get dehydrated the same as we do so make sure they have water all the time, sometimes cold weather can bring dry weather too
- Dog’s can’t get fleas or ticks in winter? Myth. Its less likely as ticks and fleas don’t like the cold weather but they may try to hide somewhere warm like in your house!
- It can be too cold to exercise my dogs outside? Truth. If you know your dog doesn’t cope well in the cold its not advisable to walk them if its really cold. This is a good excuse to do training and playing games inside to exercise your dog’s mind and nose instead.
- I don’t need to clean my dog after a walk in the snow? Myth. If you’re dog has long fur they may need help removing snow clumps from their fur. These can be really itchy and pull on the hair.
Hope you enjoyed hearing some facts about snow and our dogs, with helpful tips and some facts on our dog breeds that are made for snow. Now go out and have fun in the snow with your dogs. We love to see photos of dogs playing in the snow!
Give your dog the chance to run off trail