Understanding Why Beagles Struggle with Cold Weather
Beagles, like many other domesticated dogs, are not fond of extremely cold weather. Though they are not as sensitive to the cold as smaller breeds, they can still become unwell when the temperature drops. In fact, Beagles can catch colds just like humans can.
Signs That Your Beagle is Feeling Cold
There are several common signs that indicate your dog is uncomfortable in cold weather. If you notice any of these symptoms, take action to warm them up and, in some cases, seek professional advice:
- Your Beagle refuses to go outside.
- Your Beagle starts making a nest by pulling at blankets or burrowing in bed.
- Your Beagle shivers.
- Your Beagle appears lethargic.
- Your Beagle lifts their paws off the ground when outside.
- Your Beagle barks or whines.
During extreme cold weather, Beagles can even suffer from frostbite and hypothermia. Hypothermia is a life-threatening condition that manifests as decreased blood circulation, weakness, stiff muscles, and eventually, slowed heartbeat and kidney failure. Look out for symptoms such as shivering, slowed movement, cold skin and fur, slowed heart rate, dilated pupils, pale gums, and breathing difficulties.
Determining What Temperature is Too Cold for Your Beagle
Beagles have a tolerance limit for cold temperatures. The threshold is around 4 degrees Celsius (40 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit). This temperature range is considered too cold, especially when combined with wet weather or for older dogs and puppies who are more vulnerable to the cold.
If your Beagle lifts their paws off the ground, it is a clear sign that the temperature is too cold for them. Unfortunately, by that point, it is too late. To ensure the safety of your Beagle, refer to the infographic provided below, which indicates the ideal temperature range for their comfort.
Infographic: What Temperature is Comfortable for Your Beagle
Tips for Keeping Your Beagle Warm in Cold Weather
To help your Beagle stay warm during the winter months, keep the following tips in mind:
1. Schedule a Winter Health Check
Older dogs and puppies are more susceptible to cold-related health issues. Make sure to take your Beagle for a health check before winter to identify any existing medical conditions that may worsen in cold weather.
2. Optimize Their Sleeping Environment
Consider the location of your Beagle’s bed. Ensure it is away from drafty areas and cold rooms. Additionally, provide extra bedding and blankets to allow them to create a warm nest. However, ensure they do not overheat, as this can have adverse effects.
3. Monitor Their Food Intake
With reduced exercise during winter, adjust your Beagle’s food portions to prevent weight gain. It is essential to maintain their weight within a healthy range.
4. Provide Warm Drinking Water
Check the temperature of your dog’s water to ensure it is not too cold. Cold water can exacerbate cold symptoms and cause a sore throat. If necessary, leave their water bowl in a warmer area or use tepid water.
5. Utilize Indoor Exercise Alternatives
When it’s too cold to go outside, engage your Beagle in indoor activities to burn off excess energy. For instance, play with them using a laser pen or interactive toys.
6. Consider Using Potty Training Pads
In extremely cold weather, your Beagle may be reluctant to go outdoors for bathroom breaks. Use potty training pads as an indoor solution. These pads can be helpful for Beagle puppies as well as adult dogs.
7. Ensure Identification and Safety
During winter, it is important to have your Beagle wear a collar with identification tags and have a microchip. The cold and unfamiliar surroundings can increase the risk of dogs wandering and getting lost.
8. Invest in Winter Accessories
Protect your Beagle from the cold by purchasing winter accessories, such as a winter coat. Look for jackets with Sherpa lining or reflective materials that keep them warm and visible during walks. You can also consider using dog boots to protect their paws from ice and chemicals on the roads.
9. Maintain Paw Health
Regularly check your Beagle’s paws for cracks and wounds caused by the cold weather. Longer nails can also reduce traction on slippery surfaces. Trim their nails to prevent slipping and potential injuries.
10. Avoid Harmful Substances
During winter, chemicals such as anti-freeze and street salts are used to combat icy conditions. Be vigilant and prevent your Beagle from coming into contact with these substances, as they can irritate their paws or be ingested accidentally.
11. Discourage Eating Snow
While Beagles may find snow enjoyable, it can be harmful if it contains urine, feces, or chemicals. Avoid letting your Beagle eat snow to prevent illness.
12. Dry Them Thoroughly
After outdoor activities in the snow or rain, dry your Beagle with a towel or even a hair dryer. Wet fur can quickly make them cold and uncomfortable, potentially leading to hypothermia or cold symptoms.
13. Avoid Leaving Your Beagle in a Cold Car
Just as a hot car can be dangerous, a cold car can also pose risks to your Beagle’s health. Never leave them unattended in a cold vehicle.
14. Create a Cozy Sleeping Environment
In addition to the general tips mentioned above, consider implementing specific measures at night:
- Place their bed away from drafty areas.
- Use a hot water bottle, ensuring it is not too hot.
- Opt for a raised bed to prevent cold contact with the floor.
- Allow them to sleep with you, if desired.
- Provide extra blankets in their bed.
- Arrange their bedding in a doughnut shape to create warmth.
- Avoid placing their bed too close to heating sources.
Recognizing and Treating Beagle Colds
Beagles can catch colds, especially during the winter season. Initially, they may exhibit mild symptoms like a runny nose or occasional sneezing. However, if left untreated, a common cold can progress into more serious illnesses, such as dehydration, hypothermia, or pneumonia. It is crucial to recognize the symptoms and take appropriate action before it worsens.
Common Cold Symptoms in Beagles
Be vigilant for the following signs that indicate your Beagle may have a cold:
- Runny nose and nasal discharge.
- Runny or watery eyes.
- Wet-sounding cough or wheezing.
- Loss of appetite.
- Warm ears.
- Difficulty breathing.
If your Beagle exhibits severe coughing, stops drinking water, shows signs of continuous pain, or has a rattling chest sound, consult a veterinarian immediately. Older Beagles and puppies are more susceptible to developing severe symptoms, and early intervention is crucial.
Treating a Beagle with a Cold
While providing these tips can be helpful, they should not substitute professional veterinary advice. However, here are some general suggestions based on online research and veterinarian recommendations:
Encourage your Beagle to drink fluids to prevent dehydration. You can try adding chicken broth to their water bowl if they are hesitant to drink.
Incorporate more nutritious food options into their diet, such as boiled chicken with brown rice, to boost their strength.
Consider adding dietary supplements like coconut oil, cinnamon, or honey to their food. These supplements may aid in improving their immune system and serve as natural cough remedies.
Limit their outdoor time and encourage rest to prevent further strain. Allow outdoor trips solely for bathroom breaks, or use indoor alternative solutions like potty training pads.
Provide love and affection to help comfort your Beagle. Affectionate gestures can contribute to their overall well-being during illness.
Use a hot water bottle to warm their bed, ensuring it is at a comfortable temperature.
Some pet owners use nebulizers to manage their dog’s cold symptoms. However, consult with a veterinarian before attempting this.
Place a steam vaporizer near their bed to alleviate respiratory discomfort caused by cold symptoms.
Apply dog nose butter or balm to soothe and repair dry or cracked noses caused by cold weather.
If your Beagle’s symptoms worsen or persist, contact your veterinarian for professional guidance. Antibiotics may be necessary to combat bacterial infections and support their immune system.
Beagles are particularly vulnerable to the cold weather, warranting extra care and attention during winter. While Beagles can tolerate the cold to some extent, it is important to be aware of their limits and take appropriate measures. By implementing the tips mentioned above and addressing any cold symptoms promptly, you can help ensure your Beagle stays warm, healthy, and comfortable throughout the winter season.