The German Shepherd is a very reserved species of dog. You cannot befriend them immediately, much like the Japanese Akita breed of dogs.
However, once you manage to do so, they will stay loyal to you for the rest of their lives. They are very friendly in the sense that they will show any sign of aggression to anyone, especially when they are being playful.
When threatened though, they will act strong and protective. That is why they are often used as watchdogs or police dogs.
Of course, you can also have a German Shepherd as a pet. They might be tough, but they also make good playmates. These dogs have a versatile coating of fur that helps them make it through varying temperatures. German Shepherds can also tolerate cold weather, and many of them also enjoy playing outside in the cold.
That being said, at times, these dogs feel cold as well. Winters can get uncomfortable for them, especially if they are staying outside for a prolonged period.
So in this article, let us look at some of the most important things you should know, check with, or do when you go outside to play with your German Shepherd in the winter.
Checking with the Cold
Most dogs are usually comfortable with anything around 45 degrees Fahrenheit. For GSD’s anything below 40 degrees can be damaging. Once the temperature goes below 20, they might suffer from hypothermia and frostbites.
It is best if you can avoid going outside with your German Shepherd at temperatures below 20. However, if you must, make sure your dog is well-protected with a proper winter jacket.
Thus, it is always a necessity to keep the temperature in check. That way, you can avoid harsh climate conditions whenever you are made aware of them.
Before you go out, check the weather forecasts. You should check the current state of the weather, as well as what you can expect later in the day. An app that uses real-time weather data will be ideal for this purpose.
Tomorrow’s weather app, for instance, can help you check the weather forecast for your locality, as well as whatever locations you plan on visiting with your dog.
You can check the temperatures and keep an eye out for harsh weather conditions like heavy rain or snow.
Things that Affect Your Dog’s Ability to Handle Cold
The fur coating is one of the most important factors in this regard. A thin coating cannot protect your dog during the winter. Hence, even in slightly higher temperatures (like 30-35 degrees), it might still need a jacket.
GSDs with thick coatings of fur can withstand up to 25-30 degrees. However, even in this case, you have to protect them with a jacket if you plan on keeping them outside for long.
Apart from the fur, any sort of pre-existing medical condition can prove to be detrimental to your dog’s health if you expose it to the cold. A low amount of fat in their body can also prove to be harmful. You should completely avoid keeping old dogs, and puppies out in the cold.
Protecting Your German Shepherd from the Outside Cold
The best way to protect your GSD from the outside cold is to have it stay under the sun.
Sunlight provides your dog with vitamin D. Not just that, it also calms them down, and helps your dog feel relaxed.
During the winter, staying under the sun will help fend off the cold weather. The sunlight cuts through the cold and keeps your dog’s fur warm and cozy. The heat from the sun also helps regulate their body temperatures to some extent.
Of course, the sun may not always be there. In such cases, get your German Shepherd a jacket or a coat. This type of heavy clothing helps reduce the risk of hypothermia, and rapid breathing.
A jacket is always a good option for your GSD when it is going out for a walk or playing in the cold. For dog jackets, wool and fleece are the most popular material options.
You should also get them gloves or socks for their paws if there is ice outside. People use anti-freezing chemicals on the roads and in front of their houses to get rid of the ice.
They might also use salt to do the same. All these substances can do serious damage to your dog’s paws. Hence, protect their paws if you must go outdoors during the snow.
So there you have it. Ensuring these simple things can help keep your dog safe while playing outdoors in the winter. They will also allow your dog to stay warm, and focus more on playing. That way, they can enjoy themselves, and be more active and lively.
Last Updated on December 15, 2021 by Shepped Team