Why Pitbulls Are Not Fans of Cold Weather
If you’ve ever wondered whether Pitbulls get cold, the answer is yes. As the temperature drops, these dogs can feel the chill just like humans. Pitbulls aren’t naturally equipped to withstand low temperatures, particularly those below 40-45F. Their short coats provide less insulation compared to longer-haired dogs, making them more sensitive to the cold. Pitbulls were not bred to be outdoor dogs, and they require special care during the winter to avoid dehydration and hypothermia, which can be life-threatening.
Recognizing Signs of Coldness in Your Pitbull
To ensure your Pitbull stays warm and healthy in winter, it’s essential to be aware of the signs that indicate coldness and discomfort. If you observe any of the following symptoms, it’s crucial to take immediate action:
- Your Pitbull refuses to go outside.
- Your Pitbull starts making a nest by pulling at blankets or burrowing in bed.
- Your Pitbull shivers.
- Your Pitbull appears lethargic.
- Your Pitbull lifts their paws off the ground when outside.
- Your Pitbull barks or whines excessively.
Extremely cold weather can even lead to frostbite and hypothermia. Symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, slowed movement, cold skin and fur, decreased heart rate, dilated pupils, pale gums, breathing difficulties, and overall weakness.
While these conditions may sound severe, properly caring for your Pitbull in cold temperatures should ensure their well-being. Nevertheless, even with precautions, your Pitbull may still experience milder symptoms, such as catching a cold. Keep reading to learn the common signs of a Pitbull cold.
Handy Hint: Did you know why dogs love rolling in snow? I’ve compiled a guide explaining their love affair with snow.
Determining When It’s Too Cold for Your Pitbull
There comes a point during winter when the temperature becomes too frigid for your Pitbull. The threshold for Pitbulls is around 4 degrees Celsius (40-45 degrees Fahrenheit). If your Pitbull starts lifting their paws off the ground, it’s a clear indication that it’s too cold outside. By that point, it may already be too late, so refer to the helpful infographic below to determine the ideal temperature range for your Pitbull.
Once the temperature dips into the green and blue zones on the scale, it’s time to take extra precautions to protect your Pitbull from potential health hazards that come with the cold.
Handy Hint: Contrary to popular belief, dogs cannot catch a cold or flu from their human owners. So, don’t fret when you have a runny nose.
Top Tips for Keeping Your Pitbull Warm in Cold Weather
When winter arrives and the temperature drops, it’s essential to take measures to keep your Pitbull warm and comfortable. These tips will help you navigate the colder months and ensure your Pitbull stays cozy:
1. Schedule a Winter Health Check
Older dogs and puppies are more susceptible to suffering in cold weather and are at higher risk of developing illnesses. Lower temperatures can exacerbate existing medical conditions or lead to more rapid illness progression. Before winter sets in, take your Pitbull to the vet for a thorough health check. This visit will help identify any pre-existing conditions that may require additional care during the colder months.
2. Optimize Bed Placement and Provide Extra Bedding
Temperatures tend to drop further during the night, making it crucial to consider your Pitbull’s sleeping arrangements. Assess the location of their bed and determine whether it needs to be moved to a warmer spot in the house, away from drafty areas or doors. Additionally, make sure to provide ample bedding and blankets to allow your Pitbull to create a warm and cozy nest. Be cautious not to overdo it, as excessive warmth can have adverse effects.
3. Consider Their Diet and Weight
During winter, reduced physical activity is common for both dogs and their owners. Since your Pitbull will likely get less exercise, it’s crucial to monitor their food intake and prevent weight gain. A balanced diet will help maintain their overall health. While it’s true that increased food consumption can provide additional energy to combat the cold, it’s essential to strike a delicate balance.
Handy Hint: If you’re unsure whether your Pitbull is overweight, check how much exercise they need each day.
4. Ensure Access to Warm Drinking Water
Cold water can potentially make dogs ill, aggravating existing cold symptoms and causing a sore throat. Monitor the temperature of your Pitbull’s drinking water, especially if it’s left outdoors. Prevent freezing by positioning their water bowl in a warmer area of the house. If the tap water is extremely cold due to frozen pipes, consider using tepid water instead.
5. Use Caution When Walking in Cold Conditions
Although your Pitbull may be eager to embrace the outdoors, exercise caution when it’s too cold. Common sense is essential in determining whether outdoor conditions are safe. If the temperature is too frigid, engage your Pitbull in indoor activities to burn off excess energy. Playing with a laser pen or engaging in interactive games within the comfort of your home are excellent alternatives when the weather is too harsh.
6. Utilize Indoor Potty Training Pads
When it becomes too cold for your Pitbull to relieve themselves outdoors, having a reliable indoor solution is crucial. Consider using puppy pads, which are effective for both puppies and adult dogs. These absorbent pads can be purchased on Amazon and provide a convenient option for your Pitbull during cold weather.
7. Ensure Collars and Identification Chips
During winter, the risk of dogs getting lost increases due to the long, dark evenings and unfamiliar environmental conditions. When taking your Pitbull for a walk, ensure they wear a collar with identification tags and have an identification chip. This precautionary measure will help them be easily identified if they do happen to wander off.
8. Consider Investing in Winter Jackets for Your Pitbull
In recent years, numerous Pitbull accessories and clothing lines have emerged. While some may seem gimmicky, during cold weather, they are essential for maintaining warmth and protecting your Pitbull’s paws during walks. Here are a couple of recommended options for winter wear:
– Kuoser Dog Winter Coat
This coat features a luxurious Sherpa lining to ensure maximum warmth for your Pitbull. You may opt for a coat with additional cargo pockets, allowing your dog to carry small treats on walks.
– Pajamas for Your Pitbull
These pajamas are perfect for keeping your Pitbull warm indoors during the cold winter nights. They provide a snug fit, making your Pitbull feel extra cozy.
– Didog Reflective Winter Coat
The Didog winter jacket is another reliable option. Its reflective material ensures visibility during dark winter nights, offering safety for both your Pitbull and passing cars.
9. Pay Attention to Paw Protection
During winter, regularly inspect your Pitbull’s paws for cracks, injuries, or discomfort caused by cold weather and icy surfaces. Paws are particularly vulnerable and can deteriorate rapidly. Consider purchasing winter boots designed specifically for Pitbulls to safeguard their paws from cold surfaces and potential injuries.
Handy Hint: You can find a variety of Pitbull winter boots on Amazon – here’s a quick recommendation to check out.
10. Trim Nails to Prevent Slipping and Injuries
Long nails lack the necessary traction on ice and compacted snow, increasing the risk of slipping and causing injuries. Prioritize regular nail trimming to ensure your Pitbull’s paws maintain optimal grip during the winter season.
11. Minimize Exposure to Street Salt and Chemicals
Salt and chemicals used to de-ice roads and pavements in icy conditions can be painful and harmful to your Pitbull’s paws. These substances pose a significant risk, especially if your Pitbull does not have adequate paw protection. Be mindful of your surroundings and avoid areas treated with such substances to safeguard your Pitbull’s well-being.
12. Discourage Eating Snow
Pitbulls tend to get excited when encountering snow for the first time, often wanting to roll in it and even eat it. While it may seem adorable, eating snow can lead to illness if it contains traces of urine, feces, or chemicals. Refrain from allowing your Pitbull to consume snow, as it can result in illness during the cold weather season.
13. Prevent Your Pitbull from Getting Wet
Wetness combined with cold weather poses the greatest risk to your Pitbull’s health. It can lead to the onset of hypothermia or, in less severe cases, cold symptoms. After walks or playtime in the snow, ensure you thoroughly towel dry your Pitbull, or even use a hairdryer if they tolerate it. Check for snow stuck in their fur and between their paws to prevent dampness in their bedding area.
14. Never Leave Your Pitbull in a Cold Car
While everyone knows the dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars, it’s equally hazardous in winter. Cold vehicles can be fatal, so never leave your Pitbull alone in your car or truck during the winter months.
15. Keeping Your Pitbull Warm at Night
As nightfall brings lower temperatures, it’s important to prioritize your Pitbull’s comfort during sleep. Here are additional tips to ensure your Pitbull stays warm at night:
- Position their bed away from doors, drafts, and cold rooms.
- Provide a warm water bottle (not too hot) for them to cuddle up to.
- Use a bed that is raised off the floor to prevent coldness from the ground.
- Consider allowing them to sleep in your bed, close to your body warmth.
- Add extra blankets to their bed for added insulation and coziness.
- Arrange their bedding in a doughnut shape to create a warm nest.
- Keep them at a reasonable distance from radiators or other heat sources.
Handy Hint: Need tips on keeping your dog warm at night? Check out these suggestions for sleeping indoors or outdoors.
Identifying Pitbull Cold Symptoms
Pitbulls, like humans, can experience colds during winter. If you suspect your Pitbull may have a cold, be vigilant for common symptoms. Cold symptoms can start with a slight sniffle or sneeze and progress if left untreated. Cold-related illnesses, such as dehydration, hypothermia, or pneumonia, can develop if symptoms worsen. Familiarize yourself with the following signs:
- Runny nose and nasal discharge.
- Runny or watery eyes.
- Wet-sounding cough or wheezing.
- Lack of appetite.
- Warm ears.
- Difficulty breathing normally.
- General lethargy.
Handy Hint: If you’re interested in keeping your dog warm at night, whether inside or outside the house, here are some tips to help you out.
When to Be Concerned
Almost all Pitbulls will experience mild cold symptoms at some point, especially during winter. Occasional sniffles or a slightly runny nose should not cause significant worry. However, you should be concerned if your Pitbull starts coughing. This requires immediate veterinary attention, as persistent coughing in cold weather can potentially lead to a chest infection.
To conduct a simple check at home, place your ear against your Pitbull’s chest. A normal heartbeat should sound clear, while rattling or gurgling noises may indicate the presence of mucus and a potential cold.
Some dog owners attempt to treat their Pitbull’s cold without veterinary guidance. Though not recommended, those who do often use a canine nebulizer for at-home treatment. More information about this can be found below.
Treating a Pitbull with a Cold
If you suspect your Pitbull has a cold, the following tips may help alleviate symptoms. It’s important to note that these suggestions are not a substitute for professional veterinary advice and are derived from online research and insights from trusted sources in veterinary forums.
1. Encourage Fluid Intake
During cold weather, dehydration poses a significant risk. It’s important to ensure your Pitbull drinks enough fluids to prevent dehydration. To entice them to drink, consider adding chicken broth or other enticing flavors to their water bowl.
2. Enhance Nutritional Intake
Pitbulls may lose their appetite due to cold weather, leading to reduced energy levels. Offering alternative foods like boiled chicken with brown rice can provide extra nutrition while enticing your Pitbull to eat.
3. Incorporate Dietary Supplements
Supplements such as coconut oil, cinnamon, and honey can help alleviate cold symptoms in Pitbulls. These natural remedies boost the immune system and provide potential relief for coughs.
4. Rest and Limit Outdoor Exposure
Pitbulls with colds require extra rest and limited physical activity. Minimize their time spent in colder temperatures, allowing only necessary outdoor bathroom breaks. Consider transitioning to indoor puppy pads for convenience during this time.
5. Offer Love and Affection
Just as affection helped soothe you during colds as a child, Pitbulls can benefit from love and attention when ill. Pay attention to your Pitbull’s behavior, as some may prefer close cuddles, while others may prefer space during their recovery.
6. Utilize a Hot Water Bottle
If your Pitbull prefers not to be physically close to you, try using a warm water bottle in their bed. Ensure the water temperature is not too hot, providing a comfortable level of warmth for your Pitbull.
7. Explore Canine Nebulizers
Dog owners may be surprised to learn that nebulizers can be used for dogs as well. Some owners opt to manage their dog’s colds themselves using specialized devices like canine nebulizers.
8. Employ a Steam Vaporizer
A steam vaporizer can assist in clearing your Pitbull’s bronchial tubes, alleviating cold symptoms, and making breathing more comfortable. Place the vaporizer near their bed, ensuring it is secure and out of reach.
9. Apply Nose Balm for Dry Noses
Cold weather can cause dry, cracked noses in Pitbulls. To remedy this issue, consider using dog nose butter or balm. These organic remedies can soothe and repair any cracks.
When to Consult a Vet
Certain signs indicate that it’s time to consult your veterinarian regarding your Pitbull’s cold:
- Persistent coughing develops.
- Your Pitbull refuses to drink fluids.
- Your Pitbull appears in constant pain.
- Rattling chest sounds persist.
If your Pitbull is older or a puppy, it is recommendable to contact your veterinarian at the first sign of a cold. These age groups are more vulnerable to developing illnesses in winter temperatures. A veterinarian may prescribe a short course of antibiotics targeted at killing bacteria and boosting the immune system until the cold subsides.
Cold weather and Pitbulls aren’t an ideal mix. These breeds require warmth and special care during the winter months. Pitbulls have a lower tolerance for cold temperatures compared to other dogs. It’s vital to remain vigilant and prioritize your Pitbull’s well-being as snow, ice, and freezing temperatures become a part of daily life.
By applying the tips outlined in this guide, you can ensure your Pitbull stays warm and cozy throughout the winter season. Remember to monitor your Pitbull’s health, be attentive to their symptoms, and seek veterinary advice whenever necessary.
Handy Hint: For further Pitbull-related care and guidance, explore these additional resources I’ve prepared to help you look after your furry friend.