Dog in the cold: what to do? | SEGS

In the middle of May, the temperature in most parts of Brazil begins to drop, however, the concern of many owners comes: Is my dog ​​cold? What precautions should I take with low temperatures?

Canine Welfare and Behavior Consultant Camille Chamonix from Belo Horizonte (MG), editor of all social media “Your French Country” and graduate of Genetics and Molecular Biology, explains based on studies related to physiology, such as Guyton & Hall (“Thesis on Physiology”). Medical Organs”), that dogs are cold-adapted animals.

Proof of this is the way they regulate their body temperature: through breathing – unlike humans, they practically do not sweat.

“Throughout evolution, breathing cold air has been the way dogs have found it to control their body temperature. With this, living in hot climates ends up becoming more and more difficult for them, as they pant to try to expel hot air from their body and bring cold air into the Inside. It is not uncommon for heat to cause dogs to die from hyperthermia.”

Thus, cold fronts begin to complicate for the dog only when the temperature becomes negative, which is rare in Brazil.

In addition, there are two characteristics of dogs that act as heat insulators that protect them from the cold: their fur and body fat. “There is no covering more efficient than fur. It prevents the animal from losing or receiving excess heat, which helps to balance body temperature,” records Chamonix.

For this reason, special attention should be paid to dogs that are very gentle or hairless, such as greyhounds, Mexican hairless dogs and Chinese Crested dogs.

Cold: signs and verbs

The behavioral scientist explains that it is common in the winter for dogs to sleep more and be calmer. “Because the body temperature decreases by 1 to 2 degrees while dogs sleep, cold is a great sleep inducer. Thus, when it is very hot, lowering body temperature, to enhance the induction to sleep, is more difficult. — this is why dogs tend to be more Anxious and uncomfortable in the heat,” he says.

In addition, since they are isothermal animals (that is, they maintain a constant body temperature – between 38.5 and 39.5 degrees – regardless of the outside temperature), their cells need to constantly function as true “thermophytes”.

“That’s why most of the calories ingested are converted into heat. And when it’s cold, heat production has to be greater in order to maintain a constant body temperature, so being cool is a way to reduce the body’s waste of energy,” Chamonix reports.

However, it is worth checking with the veterinarian about the possibility of slightly increasing the amount of food during this period – of course, if the animal is healthy.

These signs are common and do not require concern from their owners. However, when he is already uncomfortable with the cold, the dog gives other obvious signs: in addition to calm, the body is curled up, trembling. This is because the muscles, when shivering, bring motion to the body to produce more heat, in an effort to raise its temperature.

In these situations, Chamonix recommends simple measures: provide blankets and blankets and protect the dog from the outdoors – if he sleeps outdoors, for example, it is interesting to provide a small house with cardboard on the floor.

“However, avoid packing it too much with clothes or too many blankets; in addition to causing discomfort, it can also make it less resistant to cold, and always ideal is to increase the dog’s adaptability to the environment in which he lives. Open windows to circulate air and access areas outside the home. An important measure of this is adaptability,” asks the behaviorist.

So, pay attention to the clothes, because not every animal is comfortable to use. “If the dog runs away to put the piece on or shows discomfort, I advise against forcing it.”

Elderly dogs should be given special care, as they usually have joint diseases. “They tend to get worse in the cold because the dog is calmer and bouncier, and they contract muscles a lot. That’s why it’s important to stimulate their movements.”

And speaking of movement, the point that causes one to wonder is whether or not daily walking should be continued at this time of year. Many owners choose not to walk their dog in the winter for fear of catching a cold. However, Chamonix explains that physical activity is recommended, as it raises the body’s temperature, in addition to bringing about many beneficial health effects.

“By increasing panting, the dog increases its metabolic rate and body temperature, and is able to warm itself. Therefore, walking is necessary in any season of the year, including to maintain the animal’s daily quality of life,” he emphasizes.

flu vacuum

Contrary to common sense, in the canine world, a flu shot should not be recommended in one season, as it is in the winter.

According to the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) Handbook, this vaccine is important no matter what time of year it is, but for a certain group: dogs who frequent places where there are crowds of dogs, such as daycares or inns.

“The main form of transmission for canine influenza parasites occurs through direct contact with an infected dog’s nasal secretions or with objects contaminated with a sick animal, such as feeders or chew toys. It is important to vaccinate him,” Chamoni notes. .

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