Each dog breed has a different amount of cold tolerance. If you live in a location where temperatures fall below freezing, you should most definitely be aware of how well your German Shepherd can handle these conditions.
Most German Shepherds can resist temperatures as low as 30°F due to their double coat, while German Shepherds with long hair may handle much lower circumstances. Age, health conditions, degree of activity, and weight, on the other hand, may all have an effect on their ability to handle the cold.
Continue reading to find out if German Shepherds get cold, how cold is too cold for them, what variables impact their cold tolerance, and more.
Do German Shepherds Get Cold?
A German Shepherd, luckily, can adapt to any situation. While if left unattended in cold conditions, they may freeze, they can endure and thrive in both hot and cold areas if acclimated. In any temperature, though, it is critical to give a dog adequate shade, shelter, and water.
However, keep in mind that German Shepherds are extremely concentrated dogs that will not always come to you to tell you if they are too hot or cold. So, it’s up to you to pay great attention to your German Shepherd and recognize when it’s time to either warm it up or chill it down.
What is the Cold Tolerance of a German Shepherd?
German Shepherds may tolerate temperatures below zero depending on their coat length, age, weight, lifestyle, and diet, as long as they are active and not left outside for lengthy periods of time.
Unlike certain breeds, such as Siberian Huskies and Malamutes, who were bred to live and sleep in the snow, German Shepherds were taught to live and work among humans and other animals. In truth, the German Shepherd is a dog breed with a double coat. As a result, this breed’s fur has two layers.
The outer coat of a German Shepherd is long and coarse, and it protects them from snow and ice. The thick and silky undercoat protects the dog from both cold and heat in the winter and summer.
When it Comes to your German Shepherd, What is too Cold?
While German Shepherds should not be left outside in extreme weather, some owners claim that their dogs can withstand temperatures as low as -30°F. If the temperature goes too low, your dog will have difficulty managing its body temperature.
This rule does have a few exceptions. If your dog is a long-haired German Shepherd with a thick coat, eats a good diet, and is strong, he may be able to withstand even colder temperatures. Some long-haired German Shepherds may tolerate temperatures as low as 10° F for brief periods of time.
What Factors Can Affect the Cold Tolerance in a German Shepherd?
Can Health Issues Affect the Cold Tolerance of a German Shepherd?
If your German Shepherd dog eats a well-balanced diet and receives adequate physical and mental stimulation throughout the day, it will be a happy and healthy dog who will be able to stay active in the cold.
However, when your dog is unwell, their bodies take in extra energy and focus on recovery. This leaves the dog with very little energy to keep warm. This is why any ill German Shepherds should be kept inside, where it is comfortable and warm.
Can Age Affect the Cold Tolerance of a German Shepherd?
German Shepherd pups have a thin fur coat that makes it difficult for them to stay warm in the winter. Their muscles are also underdeveloped, making it difficult to maintain a normal body temperature. Providing your puppy with high-quality nutrients and a thick coat will keep him warm all winter.
Older dogs, on the other hand, may struggle to regulate their body temperatures. Dogs lose their coats and muscles as they age, and their immune systems may deteriorate. Exposing an ageing German Shepherd to extreme cold on a regular basis is typically not a smart idea.
Can Weight Affect the Cold Tolerance of a German Shepherd?
If your German Shepherd is thin and appears to be losing weight, this indicates that they lack sufficient muscle and body fat to remain warm. Both of these are necessary in order to keep the heat in the house.
In really cold temperatures, body fat can be converted to provide energy to keep your dog warm. Unfortunately, if your dog does not have adequate fat reserves in their body, they will have a more challenging time remaining warm.
Can Exercise Level Affect the Cold Tolerance of a German Shepherd?
On a cold day, a German Shepherd who is highly active and continually on the run may keep warm just by remaining busy. This should not be a problem if your dog is in good health and can run for many hours every day.
After all, the German Shepherd is meant to be a working dog all day. As a result, regardless of the weather, all of your Shepherd’s activity will serve to keep him warm.
What Are the Signs that a German Shepherd is Cold?
A Shivering German Shepherd
Shivering is the most evident symptom when a dog feels chilly. If you observe your German Shepherd shivering, be careful to warm them up as soon as possible. On the other hand, shivering and shaking might occur when a dog is enthusiastic. It might be exhilaration if the weather is warm.
Attempting To Keep Their Paws from Touching the Ground
When you take your German Shepherd on a stroll, you may notice that they strive to keep their paws off the ground. This is due to the fact that they are too cold, and the ground is exacerbating the problem. If you observe this happening, you’ll have to cut your stroll short and return home with your dog.
Barking, Howling or Destructive Behaviour
If you leave your dog outside when it becomes too cold, they may start howling, barking, weeping, and whining. People let their pets outside in all kinds of weather all of the time.
The fact is that a dog should never be left alone for longer than 5-6 hours at a time. Not only is it potentially life-threatening to leave them out in the cold, but they also require social interaction with their family.
Energy Deficiency and Muscle Stiffness
If you observe your German Shepherd hobbling or stiffening their muscles, it means their muscles are becoming too cold to move. Hypothermia is usually indicated by this, along with a lack of energy. A dog should never be allowed to get this cold, but if they are, get them into the warm as soon as possible and acquire aid from a veterinarian.
Hypothermia in dogs can also cause weakness, sleepiness, and shallow breathing. Without treatment, hypothermia in dogs can also lead to death.
How to Make Sure Your German Shepherd Doesn’t Get Too Cold?
You might think that your Shepherd would be fine in the cold. After all, this is why they were made, and your Shepherd isn’t about to slow down anytime soon. Even if your dog looks to be having a good time in the snow, there are a few things you can do to make it safer and easier for him.
Shielding Your German Shepherd from Cold Winds
When your German Shepherd is outside in the cold, make sure he is shielded from the wind. Windchill can turn even the coldest temperatures into something bitter and unpleasant.
If your dog is going to be outside in the cold for an extended amount of time, make sure they have a home or structure with a wall and a windbreak to keep them warm. Some owners purchase heated dog homes to keep their pets warm while they are outside.
Providing Your German Shepherd with Extra Protein Nutrients
You may need to boost your dog’s food consumption, especially if he spends a lot of time outside. Protein will provide your dog with extra calories and energy, which will help them stay warm. Protein is also beneficial to your German Shepherd’s energy levels if they enjoy running.
Although German Shepherds can survive and flourish in almost any climate, they still require basic necessities such as food, water, and shelter. Treat your German Shepherd with the same respect you would like a close friend or family member since your dog genuinely cares about you and deserves to be loved in return.
You must pay attention to how your dog is feeling and what conditions they can endure if you own one, and a German Shepherd is no exception. German Shepherds do well in the cold, but it doesn’t mean they don’t get chilly. It might be harmful to their health if they are unable to warm up.
Keep a close check on your dog and use common sense. Allow them to come in when they need to warm up, but don’t forget to let them out when they’re through.