Their name comes from what they do best- beagling! Since their early days, Beagles have been used for hunting hare and other small prey. Standing under 15 inches, these lovely canines hunt by smell and not sight, and nothing amuses them more than following a pleasant scent. Their long ears are believed to be behind their incredible sensing ability. Of course, having been developed to spend their lifetime in chasing down rabbits in the field, the majority of dog folks wonder whether it’s safe for them to stay in the cold.
Well, although they love hunting in the cold, beagles have some characteristics that limit them from staying outside in the cold for an extended period. Therefore, leaving them in the cold for long can do more harm in the long haul than you probably expect.
Why It is not safe for beagles to stay in the cold
We all know that long and thick dog hair acts like a thermos- it locks out heat in the summer and keeps the warmth within during the cold days of the winter. That’s why cold-weather dog breeds such as Huskies, Tibetan Mastiff, Newfoundland, Shiba Inu, Samoyed, and others have long hair.
However, Beagles are short-haired. Therefore, they lack that kind of natural must-have insulation to survive in the cold. Thus, snoopy-dogs can only withstand single-digit temperatures for a short time.
How long is Too long for Beagles in the cold weather?
To know how much time is safe for your Beagle to spend in the outside weather, the best way is to fit yourself in her shoe. Consider how long you would tolerate in the cold weather with light clothing and bare feet. Therefore, when you find yourself feeling cold yet are bundled up in several layers, know that things are tougher for your furry friend.
How Cold Affects Beagles
Even with the heaviest snowfall, winters pack the lowest levels of humidity than any other period of the year. The dry air is what carries the real threat to these lovely dog breeds. Of course, signs may not show up after a day or two. However, there are some changes you will begin to notice in your furry friend after some time of staying in the cold. Among the most affected parts by cold-weather include skin, paws, nose, and many more.
Effects On The Skin
Extreme cold makes the human skin to dry out, resulting in cracks and itchiness. When it comes to Beagles, this is exactly what happens and that is why you are likely to see them scratching their skins more often.
Unfortunately, unlike humans that can use moisturizing creams to keep the skin hydrated, these creams aren’t safe for dogs since some contain a pH unsuitable for use on pets.
What You Should Do
Unfortunately, dry air is not only present outside but also in the inside environment. However, there are still some measures you can take to keep your four-pawed colleague safe and comfortable in what would have otherwise been a life-threatening moment.
For instance, maintaining a healthy level of freshwater in their water bowl should help. Taking plenty of fresh water will keep them well-hydrated during the extremely cold and dry moments of the year.
Showering your cute Beagle regularly in the winter is another way to keep them going healthy. Also, you can consider using conditioning treatments to keep their skin moist and prevent it from cracking. However, before you apply any substance to their skin, seek confirmation from your veterinarian.
In case your dog already has itchy skin, visiting a vet as soon as possible will be good. It’s a way of avoiding some of the long-term effects of scratching such as hair breakage and skin abrasions. A vet may prescribe supplements for controlling the itch and keeping the dog comfortable.
Effects on the Paws
Ever tried to walk on ice, snow, or any other cold surface bare-footed? Well, that’s why we have to appreciate that as humans we are very lucky as we can wear shoes and other gear to protect us from extreme cold.
Although walking on a cold surface may look comfortable for Beagles, it brings its own threats over the long term. The extreme cold on the surface affects Beagle’s paws in the same way it affects the skin. Exposure to low-temperature surfaces can cause the paw pads to dry out, crack, and bleed.
However, the major threat to their paws is ice melt chemicals. Even if you aren’t using these chemicals, there are still some chances of exposure considering that Beagles love to spend most of their time outdoors. The de-icing compounds may result in chemical burns in their delicate paws which may attract more trouble. Also, these chemicals may get absorbed into the body through cracks in their paw pads increasing the possibility of developing more medical complications.
Measures To Take
There are several ways you can keep the paws of your furry friend safe from the effects of cold. For example, you can consider using canine paw wax. When applied to the paw pads and toes once or twice a week, this wax provides superior protection against ice, snow, harmful chemicals, and other threats when keeping movement comfortable.
Another way you can protect the paws of your Beagle is by investing in decent booties. Of course, your furry friend may not seem to buy the idea at first. Nevertheless, they will appreciate your efforts once they get used to them.
However, before you wear them booties, ensure that you inspect their paws to remove any ice cubes that could be trapped between their paws. Also, check for any injuries to ensure that booties won’t make them grow worse.
Dig booties insulate their paws from the cold grounds and harmful chemicals. Nevertheless, when buying dog booties for your Beagle, be sure that they fit perfectly since a slight discomfort can cause an injury, especially when you take them out for a long walk.
Effects On The Nose
Beagles rely on their strong sense of smell for hunting. Scientists claim that they pack more than 220 million smell receptors in their noses and can distinguish over 50 smells at a go. These traits give them superior tracking instincts, making them one of the highly preferable dog breeds for detecting prohibited agricultural imports and other stuff.
Unfortunately, exposure to cold suppresses their sensing ability to some extent. Cold and dry air can cause chapping in the nose, especially if the dog likes to lick the nose. This may create cracks in the nose which in turn serves as an invitation to infection.
Measures To Take
Thankfully, there are measures you can put in place to ensure that your Beagle’s smell sensing ability remains strong in the cold winter. Among these measures include using a humidifier. This appliance works by increasing the level of humidity in the dry air. It is a great way of keeping the internal space comfortable for you and your Beagle.
Unfortunately, a humidifier isn’t ideal for use outdoors considering the free flow of air in the open space. In this case, you will need to use nose balms, also known as snout butter or snout balms. This product is dog-safe and is formulated for applying directly to the nose. It works to heal any cold-weather related issues as well as protecting the dog’s nose from chapping and other effects of cold weather.
Snout balm is applied several times a day, preferably twice or thrice. For scenthounds like Beagles, it’s advisable to use unscented nose balms. Fragrance-free snout balms offer protection when allowing them to retain their tracking ability. With the unscented versions of this product, your beagle will sense the slightest smells that would have otherwise been obstructed from reaching the smell receptors by a scented snout butter.
Cold weather medical problems to watch out for in Beagles.
Other than affecting the skin, paws, and nose, cold weather carries lots of other threats to the furry member of the family. Some of the common medical conditions include Frostbite, Hypothermia, and cold.
When it gets extremely cold, let’s say at sub-freezing temperatures, warm-blooded organisms are conditioned to limit the flow of blood to other areas far from the heart and most likely to lose heat.
It’s a mechanism for regulating body temperature and majorly focuses on restraining blood from reaching the ears, nose, legs, and tissues near the skin surface where chances of heat loss are very high. However, when this ‘suffocation’ continues for long, the tissues and blood vessels of these parts stand a high chance of damage.
Signs of Frostbite
Looking out for these frostbite signs will help every Beagle owner take necessary measures to manage the conditions before things get out of hand. Among the signs is a cold skin that looks grayish or bluish, pain in the area and sometimes swelling, joint stiffness, and skin ulcers at times.
Prevention and Treatment
Preventing frostbite is very easy. First, you should avoid extended exposure to very cold temperatures. When it’s extremely cold, frostbite can develop in under 10 minutes. Therefore, the best way is to keep your Beagle in the cozy indoor space during the coldest days. However, if you live in areas that experience sub-zero temperatures in the best part of the year, you need to invest in winter dog gear like booties and coats when also controlling the amount of time you spend outdoors.
When you notice any of the frostbite signs in your Beagle, you need to immediately get to a warm place. In situations where the body temperature seems to be too low, consider wrapping the dog in heavy clothing to prevent any further heat loss before inviting or visiting a vet.
Things You Should Never Do Incase Of Frostbite
In case of frostbite, avoid the following
- Spending more time in the cold weather.
- Rubbing the area to see if you can stimulate blood flow.
- Administering any medications or old Frostbite prescription without the recommendation of your veterinarian.
- Using direct heat to warm the cold skin.
Hypothermia is obtained by combining two words, hypo to mean low and thermal to mean temperature. Therefore, it’s a medical condition that occurs when the body temperature of your Beagle is below normal (38.30C- 39.20C). It happens when the heat being lost is more than what the body is generating. It’s a condition that is likely to occur in Beagles when left outside for a very long time.
Types of Hypothermia in Beagles
Hypothermia in dogs falls in one of the three types- mild, moderate, and severe. Mild hypothermia happens when the body temperature is anywhere between 32-350C. Moderate hypothermia is when the body temperature falls between 28-320C. Severe hypothermia occurs when the body temperature drops below 280C.
Symptoms of Hypothermia
Signs and symptoms of Hypothermia in Beagles range from mild to severe. Some of the indicators that your Beagle is suffering from hypothermia include but not limited to; poor or lack of alertness, muscle stiffness, low body temperature, difficulty in breathing, low blood pressure, shivering, and paleness of the skin.
The vet may also diagnose hypothermia in your Beagle by use of an electrocardiogram, a medical instrument for measuring a heart’s electrical activity.
Prevention and Treatment
You can curb hypothermia by taking the same measures for frostbite prevention. This includes buying warm coats and protective boots for better temperature insulation and avoiding extended exposure to cold.
In case of mild or moderate hypothermia, you can try to regulate the body temperature by wrapping them in a warm blanket. You may heat the blanket using a hairdryer or tumble dryer and monitor the temperature every 10 minutes.
If the temperature drops below 36.7 degrees, seek a vet’s attention as soon as possible. For mild hypothermia, a speedy trip to the vet is necessary after wrapping the dog in a warm blanket.
Common cold remains a fact of life that humans have to deal with. But do Beagles also develop cold? The short answer is Yes! Like humans, dogs, including Beagles can develop a cold that is also caused by viruses such as Canine Adenovirus type 2, Bordetella bronchiseptica, Canine respiratory coronavirus, and many more.
Symptoms of Cold in Beagles
The symptoms of cold in Beagles are more similar to those of humans. If your Beagle is experiencing a cold, you are likely to notice a decrease in activity, coughing, watery eyes, low appetite, increased sleeping, difficulty in breathing, wheezing, and more.
Prevention and Treatment
There are many ways of keeping Beagles from catching a cold or flu. The most effective ways include; vaccination, keeping their stuff clean, allowing them to get enough rest, keeping their diet healthy, and many more.
If your Beagle is having several or any of these symptoms, ensure that the vet confirms whether it’s cold. In the case of cold, the vet may prescribe medications that will help fight the cold.
Beagle’s Winter Care Tips
Although Beagles aren’t suited for long exposure to cold weather, putting in place these care tips should help keep your furry friend happy and healthy in the cold days of the winter.
- Avoid unnecessary outdoor tips.
- Keep the diet healthy and the water clean.
- Invest in dog winter gear for the inevitable outdoor trips.
- Regularly monitor the health and body temperature to note any changes.
- Keep the nails short to prevent ice build-up between the paws in case he sneaks out.