Can German Shepherds Handle Cold Weather
Leaving your dog outdoors in low temperatures and windy weather could increase the risk of them becoming injured or sick. Older dogs and smaller breeds can especially feel the effects of below-freezing temps if left out for too long. Sarah Rosengard, Professional Dog TrainerTM, Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist & Nutritionist.
How To Keep Your German Shepherd Warm In Winter
If your GSD is too young, too old, is sick, or is underweight, you have to help him keep warm during winter.
Here are some steps to increase German Shepherds cold tolerance.
- Provide a warm place to sleep-if your German Shepherd does not sleep in the house, provide a kennel to shelter them from the wind. Also, add blankets or hay to further insulate the dogs house.
- Provide water- hydration is important especially if your dog is sick. Add pet supplements with electrolytes in them. Electrolytes improve muscle function which in turn helps in temperature regulation.
- Provide a healthy diet- a healthy diet provides more energy to keep warm in cold weather.
- Grooming- when grooming, do not cut the coat too short especially in winter.
- Provide a dog coat- a winter coat is perfect especially for an old German Shepherd dog before going outside.
- Trim the paws if the hair on the paws get wet.
The German Shepherds Coat
But what specifically makes this dog resilient to cold weather, more so than other breeds?
While they arent the best dog for cold climates, they certainly can handle their fair share of coldness. This is thanks to the unique design of the German Shepherds coat.
There are actually two layers to a GSD coat and is the same style that you would find on any other dog that can be left out in the cold for a while.
- The first layer works to deflect rain and snow. This coarser layer of coat will ensure that rain and snow dont stick to the fur and cause the dog to become colder.
- The second layer works as insulation. Underneath the topcoat is the undercoat, which is essentially the insulating layer. This thicker, warmer, and ultimately cozier layer of fur will keep your dog warm during the colder months, while also allowing for proper temperature control during the heat.
With the two coats working together your dog is able to handle colder temperatures with ease.
In fact, as winter begins to approach, your German Shepherds coats will naturally become thicker in preparation for the cold temperatures. This is why there is so much shedding during the spring and summer months, to get rid of the extra layers and insulation he grew for winter.
Also Check: Why Are German Shepherds So Protective
Other Factors That Will Keep Your Gsd Warm
As may see here that nothing will stop these high energetic dogs spirit we just have to love them so much for that. Having them out in the snow will not bother them nor affect them not one but their double coat on their body will surely keep them warm especially if they are an adult GSD.
Most GSDs are curies dogs so they are going to want to go outside and play a little bit in the snow and you should let them do so as long as you are there with them supervising them.
Tips For Taking Care Of Your German Shepherd In The Winter
- If your German shepherd is going to spend time outside in the winter, make sure it has a shelter where it can stay out of the wind and snow, as well as plenty of freshwater. Dont leave your dog outside for long periods of time when it is freezing.
- Know your dogs limits. When youre letting your dog play outside in cold weather, or taking it for a walk, make sure you know the signs that its ready to go warm up.
- Remember that puppies and elderly dogs have less tolerance for cold than adult dogs in their prime.
- Watch out for antifreeze and salt. Some of the chemicals people use to prevent ice on sidewalks and elsewhere can be really dangerous for your dog.
- Dont wash your dog outside when its cold. If they need a bath, do it inside, and dont let them go back out until theyre totally dry.
- Use a leash. You never want your dog to get separated from you, but it can be especially bad in the winter when snow makes it harder for them to follow scents.
Read Also: What Makes German Shepherds Special
How Cold Is Too Cold For A German Shepherd
A German Shepherds versatility extends to his cold-weather tolerance. A heavy fur coat and large body mass keep him warm even as temperatures outside plummet to below freezing. We will go over other specific adaptations that prepare German Shepherds for frigid temperatures, how cold they can go, and what you can do to help.
Shorten The Time He Stays Outside
Even though your buddy looks comfortable and jubilant, its advisable to avoid spending too much time in the snow.
Dont let him freeze because frostbite can put his life at risk. In most cases, youll notice some frostbite on the tail tips and ear flaps.
Its best to rush him inside and try keeping him warm.
Also Check: What Is The Best Diet For A German Shepherd
S To Take During The Heat To Keep Your Dog Cool
Now that we have talked about, can German shepherds live in hot weather, here I will discuss about some of the tips and steps you can take in order to prevent your dog from getting hot.
Avoiding your beloved dog from getting overheated is essential.
During the summer season, the dog is at a constant threat of getting a heatstroke, especially for the people who keep their dogs outdoors or have puppies.
However, there is no need to fear here are some of the things you can do to ensure that your dog stays cool during the heat:
How Do You Know When Your German Shepherd Is Too Cold
Its paramount that youre able to spot when your german shepherd is too cold. If you dont, then they could fall gravely sick. Youll already know the main signs, but heres everything you should be wary of.
The most obvious sign that theyre cold is shivering. If you notice that your german shepherd is shivering you need to make sure that they warm up right away.
However, remember that shivering and shaking can also happen when a dog is excited. So if the weathers warm out, it could be excitement.
Howling & Barking
Its all too common for people to leave their dogs outside in all sorts of weather. However, the truth is, a dog should never be left alone for more than 5-6 hours.
Not only is leaving them in the cold potentially life-threatening, but they also need social time with their family.
A Hunched Back And Tucked In Tail
If you notice that your german shepherd has hunched their back and tucked their tail in, theyre too cold! You should get them to warmth as soon as possible.
When this happens, theyre doing everything they can to try and keep their body heat in. By keeping their tail tucked in, theyre reducing their surface area and the amount of body heat theyre losing.
Muscle Stiffness And A Lack Of Energy
Other symptoms of hypothermia in dogs include weakness, drowsiness, and shallow breathing.
Trying To Keep Their Paws Off The Ground
Also Check: How To Teach German Shepherd To Bark On Command
Mistreated By A Previous Owner/person
Unfortunately, animal cruelty does exist. This is also a big reason why a German Shepherd may not be very affectionate.
If they were mistreated by a previous owner, or even by stranger, especially one that they trusted then this can lead to resistance and being hesitant to form a close bond with you.
Essentially, this is due to fear of the recurrence of their past mistreatment. This is common in dogs that have been adopted from a shelter.
What Can Reduce German Shepherd Cold Tolerance
Things that can reduce a German Shepherds tolerance to cold include
GSD puppies cannot survive cold weather because of their thin fur coat.
They also have underdeveloped muscles and cannot regulate body heat properly.
GSD puppies have low body fat too so their bodies cannot keep them warm.
Because of its small body, a GSD puppy has a large surface area to volume ratio.
They will have to increase their metabolism to stay warm.
For a pup that does not eat a high nutrient diet, this will be difficult.
Older German Shepherd dogs also have a problem regulating body heat.
They have lost muscle, hair, and their immune systems are not as strong.
If you live with a senior German Shepherd, it is best if they do not go out in the cold.
You May Like: Where To Find Free German Shepherd Puppies
Lack Of Socialization As A Puppy
This is quite a common reason why some German Shepherds do not show much affection.
If your German Shepherd puppy did not have many opportunities to interact with humans and other animals as a puppy, they are unlikely to look for these interactions as an adult.
Therefore, it is important that you spend some time with other people when your dog is young. Do so in a safe environment and be careful with whom you introduce. Start slowly.
Do German Shepherds Need A Big Yard
They will live quite happily in a small to medium sized yard as long as they received the correct daily exercise. With its noble look and natural athletic build, the German Shepherd Dog almost demands respect. In fact, it was originally bred as a working/herding animal and belongs to the Working Group of dogs.
Recommended Reading: How Much Is A German Shepherd Akita Corgi Mix
Which Dogs Can Stay Outside
Top 10 Dog Breeds To Keep As Outdoor Dogs Siberian Husky. The Siberian Husky is one puptastic breed which relishes life outdoors. American Foxhound. The American Foxhound is a puptastic breed which is gentle and loving, but appreciates having their own space. Irish Wolfhound. Norwegian Elkhound. Mastiff. Swiss Mountain Dog. Rottweiler. Beagle.
Temperature German Shepherd In Cold Weather
Generally, a temperature below 20 degrees Fahrenheit is dangerous for every dog. So it would help if you learned the tolerance level of your germans shepherd. They are social dogs, but they dont live more than 8 hours in cold, chilly weather.
This article explains how germans shepherd tolerates a severe weather condition or which features make german shepherd warm in snowy weather.
Don’t Miss: Is A German Shepherd Good For Me
Are German Shepherdssnuggly
When thinking of a dog breed that will enjoy snuggling, what will usually come to mind is a small cute puppy.
German Shepherds, on the other hand, are mostly thought to be fierce but loyal protectors that are often kept as guard dogs.
While this is their reputation, its not always fair nor entirely accurate.
German Shepherds are known for being: loyal, protective, intelligent, trainable, curious and obedient.
They are generally friendly and open to snuggling with their owners and with people they like and trust, however, they can act ice cold towards people they do not know.
However, while they tend to become friendly and loyal to their families, they often take a liking to a single owner after spending some time with them.
They are naturally one person loving dogs. They often cling to one family member and adore them solely for the entirety of their lives.
This is not to say that German Shepherds cannot be a loving family dog, its just they will likely have a favorite loving them unconditionally and observably more than the others.
Most German Shepherds who develop this type of attachment to their owner are of course, far more likely to cuddle with them than others when presented with the opportunity to do so.
Providing Fresh Cold Water
As the temperature outdoors can rise drastically and leave your dog dehydrated, it is essential to provide fresh, cold water to your dog to ensure that he stays fresh. Sometimes, the dog also spills his pot of water, and so it can help if you have a non-spill bowl for your dog. Adding ice to the water can also help.
Recommended Reading: German Shepherd Height Growth Chart
You May Like: Is There White German Shepherds
Can Your German Shepherd To Sleep Outside In Winter
A healthy adult German Shepherd with a thick double-coat will be able to tolerate very cold conditions without much problem. And will be able to sleep outside as long as they are kept in protective weather-resistant housing.It goes without saying that housing is a must. Without a sturdy protective housing no german shepherd, or any dog, could survive sleeping outside in winter conditions when the temperatures are very low.German shepherds are not as well adapted to the cold as some other northern breeds are, but they still boast thick double-coats with impressive insulating qualities. GSDs have a coarse semi-water-resistant topcoat that protects against snow, rain, and dampness. The undercoat is the soft fur thats next to the skin. This is the layer that will keep a German Shepherd warm when the temperatures drop.
Other German Shepherd Articles:
Do German Shepherds Like To Swim
German Shepherd. Unlike the other dog breeds, German Shepherds werent bred specifically for swimming. But since they are naturally athletic and courageous dogs they certainly have the capability to like water and become strong swimmers.
Also Check: How Much Food Should You Feed A German Shepherd
What Laws Protect Your Shepherd
Your pet is extremely important to you and governing bodies are taking ever-increasing notice of animal rights. As a result, many states have foregone trying to determine what extremes of the cold any dog can tolerate.
Laws applying to how long dogs can stay outside in cold weather are often blanket regulations that do not distinguish specific breeds. Some establish biological suitability for certain groups that can live outside with a proper set-up.
Here are dog breeds generally considered suited to cold weather, according to the Humane Society of Utah. German Shepherds may not be on all lists.
- Spitz breeds Chow Chows, Siberian Husky, Malamute
- St. Bernard may include similar breeds such as Newfoundland
- Sheepdogs Note, German Shepherds may not be sheepdogs under some classifications. However, most of them include Collies, Old English Sheepdogs, and various Shepherds.
Familiarize yourself with state statutes in your areas. Many use a threshold of 32 degrees Fahrenheit, below which a dog cannot be outside for more than thirty minutes at a time.
Protect Your Gsds Paws
Protecting the paws is very important to take your German Shepherd safe during the winter.
During the winter, when you exercise or walk your dog outside, some injurys can occur.
Check your GSDS Paws Frequently to make sure that there is no injury. While walking outside on ice or snow, you should take some baby vibes with you to clean your dogs paws if your dog walks on any road chemical.
Antifreezing road Chemicals are very Dangerous for a German Shepherd Dog. Road chemicals can cause massive poisoning and in worse cases, also kill a dog.
If your dog is susceptible to cold, then do not hesitate to get him some dog shoes.
Read Also: Are German Shepherds Good Watch Dogs
Incorporate Proteins In The Diet
Proteins help your dogs ability to fight diseases better. Besides, his skin and fur become healthy, too. Furthermore, protein boosts the development of muscles and repair of tissues.
With proteins, therefore, a German shepherd cold tolerance is better. You might as well add some calories so that he can stay warm.
Other Factors For How Cold Your German Shepherd Will Get
Additionally, there are other factors to consider in determining how cold is too cold for your dog.
Is It Wet Outside? If your german shepherd is wet or damp, they arent going to be able to insulate themselves and are much more likely to feel the effects of cold. This can happen, even when the temperature doesnt seem that bad.
Is It Sunny or Cloudy? Cloud cover during the day will make things feel cold compared to a sunny day, and lack of cloud cover at night will also cause the environment to be colder.
Is It Windy Outside? Weve all felt the effects of windy days before. Even on a hot day, the wind can make you feel cold very quickly. And it doesnt even discriminate between long-haired and short-haired dogs! The wind chill can make the weather drastically colder for a dog.
Is The Dog Exercising? Last but not least, if you want to make your German Shepherd stay warmer during cold weather, they need ample exercise to stay warmer. If your dog is running and working during the cold weather then they will stay warmer. But if they are just laying down then they will be much colder.
Recommended Reading: Why Do German Shepherds Groan When Lying Down
What Is The German Shepherd Cold Tolerance
German shepherds are one of the large breeds revered for their cold-weather tolerance.
But even a Shepherd dog has its limits with winter weather.
Though every dog is different, these are some of the things that influence the German shepherd cold tolerance
- Type of coat
Fortunately, a German Shepherds coat has two layers of fur.
The underlayer is usually thicker than the top layer to trap more heat inside.
The topcoat has coarse hairs that are said to be water-resistant.
This increases the GSD ability to withstand cold weather.