Some dogs have thick coats and love the cold weather, but others can struggle when the temperatures go down. If you’re raising a Boxer you will want to know, do Boxers get cold?
Boxers have short hair, and this means that they can suffer more from the cold than other breeds. Healthy Boxers are quite muscular animals, but they don’t often have a large layer of protective fat on their bodies. In general, though, they are pretty hardy and most Boxers don’t mind the cold too much, some even love it, but extended periods of extreme temperatures can be dangerous.
Protecting your pet and keeping them safe and happy is obviously the top priority for any owner. This article will go into detail about how Boxers usually respond to cold weather, what the risks and dangers can be, and what you should do as an owner to make sure your Boxer isn’t getting too cold.
Do Boxers Get Cold More Than Other Breeds?
Some dog breeds are very susceptible to the cold and will really struggle when temperatures drop, but other breeds have the opposite constitution – they love freezing weather but can’t handle the heat.
Boxers are a short-haired breed that originates from Germany. They are used to working outdoors in a temperate climate, so they rarely have a strong aversion to moderately cold weather, but they do not have a particularly warm coat. Temperatures as low as 40°F, or 5°C, are rarely a cause for concern, but if it is particularly wet, windy, or freezing cold, a Boxer is likely to struggle.
Short hair means that they have less protection from the elements and less of a blanket to trap in body heat. This allows Boxers to cool down quickly during exercise but also means that they feel the cold more harshly than longer-haired breeds do.
In general, Boxers are quite hardy and usually don’t shy away from a play around in cold weather, and some will absolutely love it, but you need to be aware of the risks they can face from prolonged exposure or extreme temperatures.
What Are the Dangers of Cold Temperatures for Boxers?
A healthy Boxer will be able to keep up their body temperature on a short walk, even when it is pretty chilly outside, but if you are bundling up yourself you should be aware that your dog is probably feeling the cold too. There are also some quite significant risks involved when the temperatures get really low, that you should be aware of and keep an eye out for.
- Hypothermia. The main risk that any animal faces in the cold is when their body temperature becomes too low. This affects the heart rate and the amount of oxygen getting into their bloodstream, putting a significant strain on their bodies even to the point of death. Hypothermia can start to set in when a dog’s body temperature reaches below 99°F and becomes severe at less than 82°F.
- Frostbite. When your dog gets particularly cold, their bodies will divert heat towards their vital organs and away from their extremities, reducing blood flow to the ears, tail, and paws. This can lead to the freezing of the tissue in these areas, potentially causing severe damage.
- Joint stiffness and discomfort. Cold temperatures affect the mobility in your dog’s joints and can cause significant discomfort and worsen any joint issues that your dog may already have.
- Slipping and falling. When the weather is cold, the ground is often slippery, and your dog may be more likely to suffer an injury while they are out and about. Really low temperatures can also cause disorientation in your pet, increasing their risk of getting in an accident.
- Skin irritation. Particularly for short-haired dogs like Boxers, dry and cracked skin can become a real problem in cold weather. This can be painful and irritating and may even increase the risk of infections in vulnerable areas.
How Do You Know if Your Boxer is Cold?
Knowing the risks of cold weather, you will want to make sure that your Boxer is never getting too cold, but they don’t always complain or let you know when they’re feeling chilly. There are several clues that your dog is starting to get a bit too cold and may need to go inside or get a coat on.
- Slow movement. When Boxers are cold they will have less energy, so slower movements and a lack of enthusiasm can be an indicator that they are too cold.
- Shivering. A classic sign of feeling cold is shivering or shaking, and if you notice this in your Boxer then they probably need to warm up pretty quickly.
- Whining. Some Boxers will let you know that they are uncomfortable by whining or crying. It’s important to listen to your dog so that you can understand their needs.
- Cowering or hunching. If your dog is trying to wrap their body up – tucking in their tail and curling into a ball – they are probably trying to stay warm.
- Holding their paws off the ground. When the ground is too cold, your dog may not want to touch it with their paws and will lift their legs away from the ground to avoid it.
How Cold is Too Cold for a Boxer?
Most adult Boxers will be perfectly happy in temperate winter weather. As long as there is no harsh wind or rain, they should be able to go out for short periods in temperatures as low as 32°F (0°C). If there is a lot of wind or rain, you may want to keep your dog indoors at temperatures below 45°F (8°C).
Even puppies and older dogs should be able to handle cold weather that is not too harsh, but you want to keep an extra close eye on them and reduce the amount of time they are exposed for. For puppies under 6 months, 10-minute bathroom breaks are probably the maximum that they can handle.
If you live in a climate where the temperatures are regularly this low or lower throughout the year, a Boxer may not be the dog for you, as it does reduce the amount of time that they can get out and exercise.
What Can You Do For a Boxer When it Gets Cold?
Sometimes extremely cold weather happens, and there are many things that you can do to warm up your Boxer and give them a bit more protection when the temperature falls.
Coats or Jackets
A winter jacket is a great way to get your Boxer outside even when the temperatures are a bit lower than they would usually be comfortable in. Water-resistant and high visibility jackets are particularly helpful, but always remember that a coat can only offer so much protection. A coat can help in the cold, but it doesn’t guarantee warmth and safety.
Nose Balm and Paw Wax
To protect the vulnerable areas of your Boxer’s body when the temperatures start to fall, you could pick up some nose balm or paw wax. Your dog’s nose and paws are susceptible to cracking and drying out in cold weather, particularly during the winter when the humidity changes.
If the weather is just too cold, you should be ready to keep your Boxer active and healthy without leaving the house. You might designate an area for agility and obstacles, or play active games like hide-and-seek or tug-of-war. Don’t let bad weather stop your dog from feeling good and staying strong.
Be Careful of Snow and Ice
Some Boxers absolutely love playing in the snow, but it will cool them down very quickly so you should limit how much time they spend in it. It is also important that your dog avoids icy or half-melted snow, as they can get injured on slippery surfaces.
A very small increase in the amount that your dog is eating, less than 10%, can help to give them a bit of extra protection against the cold. You have to be very careful with any dietary adjustments, as you don’t want your dog to become overweight or obese, but a few extra calories over a difficult winter can help.
The Verdict: Do Boxers Get Cold?
So, do Boxers get cold? The answer is yes, but it is not usually a cause for concern. You always want to keep an eye on your dog’s comfort levels to see that they are happy and make sure that you are prepared for when the cold becomes too much.
Boxers have short hair, which means that they can feel the cold more than other breeds, but they can usually handle reasonably cold temperatures for short periods of time. A 30-minute walk when it is 32°F outside is normally safe for a Boxer and most will not complain much during the winter months.
You should, however, pay close attention to how your dog is feeling and have precautions in place for when the cold is too much, like winter jackets, indoor exercise, and paw wax. Nobody likes to be too cold, and Boxers are no different. You want to make sure that your dog stays happy and feeling good no matter what the weather is like.