Most of us have different thresholds of what we consider “cold.” We all tolerate the cold differently. It is easy for a family member to let us know that they are cold and respond appropriately. However, it is more difficult for our pets to let us know when they are cold. Like humans, there are different ways our pets are able to tolerate the chill more than others.
Many dogs are well suited for winter conditions but more common and smaller breeds are at a greater risk of being impacted by cold weather. If the temperature outside is below 0°F, staying active can help dogs keep warm. Heavy exercise will also put them at risk of cold weather asthma which results in wheezing, coughing, and loss of energy. The best way to resolve cold weather asthma is to immediately stop whatever activity you are doing and going inside. If symptoms persist, your dog needs to go to a veterinarian.
It is also time to go inside if your dog is shivering, whining, acting anxious, slowing down, or holding up one or both paws. Whether your dog has thick long hair or thin short hair will also determine how long he or she is able to endure the cold.
Cats are different. The typical house cat is not designed to spend time in weather that is below freezing. On average, 45°F is too cold for our felines. If a cat is in a place below 32°F, also known as the freezing point, it can suffer from hypothermia and frostbite. Should this happen, you will want to use towels to warm the cat but do not use direct heat.
Keeping your home between 79°F and 51°F is a good range for cats. If they are too cold you will see them curling up in warm spaces while avoiding cold floors.
With Kansas being filled with many farming communities, some of you may have a chicken coop on your property. Take note of some of the tips below to keep your chickens comfortable during the winter months.
Chickens can survive quite well in cold weather. Be sure to check on them and look for signs of distress. Like humans, their bodies become accustomed to the temperatures of the season. However, in temperatures below freezing, frostbite can happen and often happens in as little as 10 minutes. The best way to keep this from happening is to keep a clean, dry coop with places for the chickens to get off of the ground.
-Meteorologist Ronelle Williams