It's January 12, 2022 and here in the North East it is almost always our coldest month of the year!
I checked the temperature this morning at 5:00 am and it was -6°F without any wind chill (and in other parts of Maine it was -18°). I knew I would be working out indoors today as I get cold weather induced asthma. And guess what?! Some dogs can be affected in the same way.
Being conscious and aware of our environment and the weather is always important, especially for athletes & dogs that like to exercise outside in all kinds of weather. Being prepared, wearing layers is key and staying hydrated is critical for both you and your favorite K9.
All of us dog owners need to keep an eye on our dog(s) during cold temperatures, especially during sub-zero weather. Dogs are just as susceptible to getting infections and pneumonia when exposed to cold weather for long periods of time.
Dogs breathe through their mouths (and nose), and when they breathe with their mouth open and tongue out (also called panting) this usually means they're in a relaxed and happy state, but this is also how they keep themselves warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
If a dog is breathing heavy while walking | running | hiking with their favorite human on zero to sub-zero days, this can cause bronchial type issues if the bronchial tube gets constricted by icy particles from their breath. This can cause labored breathing, which is much different than panting, and if gone undetected or untreated can turn into an infection and/or pneumonia. So, it is very important to know your dog and know your dog's limits and capacity when it comes to being outside and
playing | exercising in cold weather. Stop often to assess how they are doing and if you hear what sounds like labored breathing, stop and get them inside and re-assess to see if their breathing gets back to normal. Always check with your Veterinarian If you think your dog is not well.