Are you wondering “do german shepherds get cold?” Well, keep reading to find out the answer. You’ll also learn how to keep them warm, how cold is too cold, and other tips for making sure they stay safe in the winter!
Do German Shepherds Get Cold?
German shepherds are as likely to get cold as any other creature on earth. While they do have a double coat that keeps them warm; even that isn’t going to be enough to keep them warm in freezing conditions.
How Cold Is Too Cold For German Shepherds?
As a rule of thumb anything below 40°F is too cold for most dogs. And once it falls below 20°F, hypothermia and frostbite are likely to occur. (According to PetMD). However, even 50°F can be dangerous to a german shepherd who’s exposed. Especially puppies and dogs that are old or sick.
It’s Not Just About The Temperature
There are also other factors that need to be taken into account when figuring out how cold is too cold.
Wetness – If your german shepherd is damp, they aren’t 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 doesn’t seem that bad.
Cloud Cover – Cloud cover during the day is going to make things feel colder, and no cloud cover at night makes things feel colder as well.
Wind Chill – We’ve all felt the effects of wind chill before. Even on a hot day, the wind can quickly make you feel cold. And it can cut through your german shepherd’s fur just as easily as well.
Exercise – And lastly, how much exercise your german shepherd is doing can affect them. If your pup is just laying around then they’re going to get colder a lot quicker than if they’re moving around.
As you can imagine, all of these combined can quickly make the environment too cold for your german shepherd.
How Come German Shepherds Don’t Mind The Cold As Much As Other Dogs?
You may have noticed that your german shepherd can handle the cold much more than other dogs. And it’s all thanks to their double coat.
A double coat consists of two different types of fur. In fact, it’s the reason that you can get your dog wet, but the water always seems to take forever to sink in.
The outer coat is there to protect your dog from the elements such as the wind and water. In fact, water is much more likely to glide off it, rather than be absorbed.
The inner coat is plush and warm. It’s like insulation, and as long as it doesn’t get wet, it’s going to help keep your german shepherd nice and warm.
It is important to note, that while in most cases german shepherds have a double coat, there are some that don’t.
How Do You Know When Your German Shepherd Is Too Cold?
It’s paramount that you’re able to spot when your german shepherd is too cold. If you don’t, then they could fall gravely sick. You’ll already know the main signs, but here’s everything you should be wary of.
The most obvious sign that they’re 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 weather’s warm out, it could be excitement.
Howling & Barking
It’s 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, they’re too cold! You should get them to warmth as soon as possible.
When this happens, they’re doing everything they can to try and keep their body heat in. By keeping their tail tucked in, they’re reducing their surface area and the amount of body heat they’re losing.
Muscle Stiffness And A Lack Of Energy
If you notice muscle stiffness or limping in your german shepherd, then they’re muscles are beginning to get so cold that they’re struggling to move.
This in combination with a lack of energy is normally an indicator of hypothermia. Ideally, you shouldn’t have let it get this far, but if you have, bring them into the warm immediately and seek the help of a vet.
Other symptoms of hypothermia in dogs include weakness, drowsiness, and shallow breathing.
(Have you ever thought about whether your german shepherd has webbed feet.)
Trying To Keep Their Paws Off The Ground
You may notice that when your german shepherd is on a walk they’re trying to keep their paws off the ground. This is because they’re too cold, and the ground is making it worse.
If you notice this happening, then, unfortunately, you’ll need to cut your walk short and take your pup home.
Are You Cold?
Lastly, does it feel too cold for you outside? If it’s too cold for you, then it’s probably too cold to leave your german shepherd outside for extended periods of time as well.
How To Keep A German Shepherd Warm In Cold Weather
Your german shepherd is going to do pretty well at keeping themselves warm. However, if it’s particularly cold, or you’ve got an elderly, sick or very young german shepherd, you may need to help them out a little bit.
Here are some of the best ways to keep them warm!
Get Them Some Dog Boots
Okay, not all dogs like these, but if yours does, they’re going to be great for the winter months! While your pup’s pads can keep the cold away for some time, eventually their little paws are going to become cold.
By getting them some dog boots, you’re going to eliminate that problem and help keep their paws nice and warm!
And remember, give your german shepherd time to adjust to their dog boots. My dog didn’t like her boots at first, however, after about a week she’d leave them on without a problem.
If you’re not sure what boots to get, I’d recommend these ones!
Keep Their Paws Trimmed
You may think that letting your germans shepherd grow the fur out on their paws is a good idea. However, it’s actually a lot better to make sure they stay trimmed.
When the fur between their paws is too long, ice and snow can get caught. This ice and snow will bring a lot of discomfort until it melts. It’s going to be freezing cold and your pup isn’t going to be able to get it out.
A Nice Doggy Coat
Not every german shepherd will need a coat. However, if you have a puppy or an older german shepherd, then a coat is definitely recommended.
They are going to help your pup hold in more heat, and they’re also less likely to be hated like dog boots are.
In fact, my dog used to get super excited when she saw her coat coming out because she knew it meant she was going on a walk.
When you’re looking for a coat you should aim for something that’s water-resistant and has lots of insulation.
Something like this coat will work great.
Don’t Cut Their Hair Too Short
In the summer, you may cut your german shepherd’s hair short to keep them nice and cool. However, in the winter this is definitely something you don’t want to do. While grooming them should still occur, (to help their fur grow back thicker), you definitely shouldn’t trim their fur.
How Can You Keep Your German Shepherds Kennel Warm?
If your german shepherd likes to spend a lot of time outdoors, then it’s important to make sure they’re kennel is warm enough. Fortunately, there are lots of different things you can do to warm their kennel up.
And remember, whenever the temperature falls below 40°F, it’s too cold for your dog. So they’ll need to be brought inside.
Lastly, it’s not good for you to keep your german shepherd outside all the time. They need social interaction, so make sure you’re spending lots of time with them.
Here are all the different ways you can help keep your german shepherds kennel warm.
Use Thicker Blankets
When it’s winter you should use blankets that are a lot thicker than you would in the summer. They’re going to help insulate their kennel and stop the cold getting in, as well as warmth getting out.
Wool blankets are normally a great choice, however, there’s a whole range of different blankets to choose from.
Make Sure Their Bed Is Elevated
It’s also important to make sure you purchase an elevated bed for your german shepherd. One of the quickest ways they’ll lose heat is through the ground. It will just keep absorbing heat, quickly making them feel cold.
By elevating their bed you’re going to slow the rate in which they lose heat. On top of this, it can be a good idea to add hay and blankets underneath the bed, to stop any drafts and insulate their kennel more.
Fortunately, elevated beds aren’t expensive and you can pick them up for a good price on Amazon.
Make Sure It Provides Adequate Protection From The Elements
Another great tip is to make sure that the kennel is providing adequate protection from the elements. You don’t want the entrance to be so big that lots of wind and rain can get in.
However, you don’t want it so small that your german shepherd struggles to get in. Also, you want to make sure there’s enough space away from the entrance that your german shepherd and their bed aren’t going to get wet if it rains.
You can also place a few windbreaks around the kennel for additional shelter from the elements.
Make Sure It Has A Sloped Roof
When you’re purchasing a kennel you need to make sure the roof is sloped. If it doesn’t have a sloped roof, water won’t be able to drain properly. This will lead to leaks that can get your german shepherd wet and make them feel colder.
Shape Their Blankets Like A Donut
When you’re setting up your german shepherds bed, try to shape it like a donut. Put blankets underneath them, then build blankets up in a circle. This way, they’ll be able to nest easier. And they’ll only be losing body heat from the top, instead of from their whole body.
As you can see there are plenty of ways you can keep your german shepherd warm in their kennel. But remember, if the weather drops below 40°F you’ll need to bring them inside.
Other Tips For Cold Weather
Extra precautions need to be taken when the temperature begins to drop. Although german shepherds can keep themselves warm pretty well, you’re still going to need to help them out a little bit.
Here are some tips for keeping your pup safe in during cold weather.
Make Sure They Have Plenty Of Water
Just like people, dogs can become dehydrated in cold weather. You need to make sure that your german shepherd is getting enough water. If their bowl is outside, make sure that the water hasn’t frozen over.
You may need to change it more than once per day when the weather gets cold.
Give Them Plenty Of Food (Especially Protein)
During the winter your german shepherd may expend more energy just keeping warm. To make sure they’re able to do this effectively make sure you’re giving them extra food. Especially food that’s high in protein.
Protein will help keep them satiated for longer as well as giving them lots of energy!
Don’t Keep Young, Sick, Or Elderly Dogs Outside For Too Long
If your german shepherd is young, sick, or old make sure they’re not spending as much time outside. They aren’t going to be able to handle it as well as a healthy dog.
It’s better to take them for multiple small walks rather than one big long one.
Make Sure They Don’t Step In Salt Or Chemicals
Salt and chemicals are going to be an irritant to your dog’s paws. If they have nothing protecting their feet, they’ll often become painful.
The danger here is when your pup tries to soothe this pain by licking them. Once they do this they’ll ingest salt and chemicals which can become fatal.
Sometimes, it’s a good idea to wash your pup’s feet once they’ve come in from a walk to reduce the risk.
Keep Them On The Leash
If your german shepherd likes to run off, it may be a good idea to keep them on a leash during walks.
When it’s snowing and cold they’re going to have a harder time finding your scent and tracking you. If you take them somewhere they can get lost, they may not be able to find their way back to you.
Dry Them Thoroughly
When you return from your walk make sure you dry them thoroughly. Even though your house is warm, as previously mentioned, being wet can quickly cause your dog’s body temperature to drop.
When they come in, make sure you give them a good towel dry, and if possible use a hairdryer as well.
Don’t Take Them To Ponds Or Lakes
If the temperature is close to or below freezing, it’s not a good idea to take your pup to any ponds or lakes.
If they jump in when it’s frozen there’s obviously the strong chance that they aren’t going to be able to get back out.
And worse still, make sure you don’t go in after them. They’re much better at swimming than you are, and normally they’ll be alright, while you may not be so lucky.
Don’t Leave Them In The Car
Just like you shouldn’t leave them in a car on a hot day, make sure you don’t leave your pup in a car on a freezing cold day either.
Both extremes are going to be dangerous for your dog and if left for too long, could wind up being fatal.
So do german shepherds get cold? As you know now, they do get cold! However, they are able to spend some time comfortably in colder weather.
Here are some of the main things you should remember.
- Anything below 40°F is too cold for german shepherds to stay outside. Once the temperature falls below 20°F it’s likely they’ll suffer from hypothermia and frostbite.
- Wetness, wind chill, exercise and cloud cover will also affect how cold your german shepherd is going to be.
- You can tell your german shepherd is too cold if they’re shivering, howling, barking, they have a hunched back and tucked tail, they have muscle stiffness, a lack of energy, and they try to keep their paws off the ground. If it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for them.
- You can keep your german shepherd warm in cold weather by buying them dog boots, a dog coat, keeping their paws trimmed and making sure they’re coat isn’t too short.
- You can keep your german shepherds kennel warm by using thick blankets, making sure their bed is elevated, that it protects them from the elements, it has a sloping roof, and you place their blankets in a doughnut shape.
- In cold weather make sure your pup has plenty of water, more food, that you keep them on a leash, dry them thoroughly, and don’t take them to ponds or lakes, leave them in the car, let old, young or sick dogs stay in the cold for too long, and make sure they don’t step in chemicals or salt
If you liked this article or you have any more questions make sure you leave a comment in the section below. Otherwise, have a great day!