June 10, 2021

How pets really cope with the cold ❄️

How pets really cope with the cold ❄️
Dr. Chris Brown

As we edge closer to Winter, I’m guessing you've noticed your pet straying less from their bed (or yours). But just how much do they feel the cold? Well, here’s what separates our winter warriors from our winter worriers!

When they can’t exactly head to the wardrobe and put another layer on themselves, a lot of the expectation falls on us to read the signs and almost feel the cold for them. Let me show you how…

The first factor is simply their size. The smaller and skinnier they are (chihuahuas, whippets and greyhounds I’m talking about you) the harder it is for them to keep warm as they have a higher ratio of skin exposed to the cold. It’s also why you almost never see really small animals in Antarctica or the Arctic.

The second red alert is age. Very young or very old dogs or cats just don’t have the body fat you need to get that internal heating mechanism firing.

Then comes their own clothing. Their fur. Thin or sparse coats (hello boxers, beagles, staffys and fox terriers) do find the sudden cold snaps confronting.

Finally, they will actually tell you how they’re coping. While warm cats or dogs will sprawl flat across the floor (just like in summer) while if they’re cold they’ll bunch themselves up and tuck their legs in to form a tight ball; trapping that body warmth. Cold pets also become heat-seeking missiles. Locking themselves into warm laps, blankets or that spot near the heater.

If your little mate fits into any of these categories then chances are they’re unlikely to leave bed any time soon. A coat on cold days, a spot on the sofa and room in your bed will land you a best friend for life.

But who is most at risk of winter chills? Well given their small size, skinny build and sparse hair coat, the coolest dog and cat in the country would be the Italian Greyhound for dogs (honourable mention to the Chihuahua) and the Sphinx cat, with the Devon Rex in a close and still chilly second place.

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