Extreme cold weather can be hard on pets. If your German Shepherd is used to being inside, then being outside for an extended period of time can affect them. If your GS is an outdoor dog be sure there is an enclosed shelter that can keep him from the harsh winter elements. A dog house with straw or blankets is very helpful. Keep in mind that a longer haired GS can do better than a shorter haired GS in cold weather. It is also a good idea to keep an extra eye on older arthritic GSs. The cold and ice can be hurtful.
Any temperature below 20 degrees can be harmful to a GS without any shelter for an extended period of time. Just as extreme hot weather is harmful, the extreme cold is also harmful. If you know that the temperature is going to be in the sub degrees, please bring your GS inside for the night.
GSs can get frostbite on their ears, paws and tails. Ice crystals can form in the skin tissue of their extremities. Frostbite may not be noticeable for several days. If frostbite is suspected, warm your GS but do not rub him, and then take him to the vet.
Hypothermia can occur in GSs when they have been outside for an extended period of time in extreme cold. Mild cases of hypothermia are shivering, lethargy, depression and weakness. Severe cases where the hypothermia has progressed signs will be stiffness with heart and breathing rates slowing and there is no response to stimuli. In these cases, warm your GS and immediately take him to the vet.
GS puppies are more sensitive to coldness than their adults. House training your GS puppy during the winter may therefore be more difficult. Paper train till warmer weather comes.
Adding a fatty acid supplement to your GS's diet several weeks before cold weather comes will help the coat and skin. Increased food supply will help with thick healthy coats. This is very helpful for outdoor GSs or GSs who have longer outdoor activities.
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