Do Beagles get cold?


Beagle sleeping under a blanket in cold weather

Beagles are a hardy breed that has a stout appearance with short, thick fur. Although they can thrive in most environments, you may wonder do beagles can get cold?

Beagles cannot catch a cold from humans. However, beagles can suffer from symptoms similar to the common cold, like a dripping nose and sneezing if over-exposed to cold weather. Beagles have a short fur coat that is not capable of withstanding extreme cold weather. 

Beagles were bred in England to hunt hare, a rabbit-like creature with longer ears and legs. As they originate from England, the English climate is what suits them best. However, with proper precautions, you can keep them in colder (but not freezing) climates.

The ideal internal temperature for a beagle is 101 – 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, anything less than 100 can induce hypothermia and frostbite. When your beagle is too cold, its internal systems can begin to slow down – resulting in hypothermia. If hypothermia goes untreated, it can be fatal for a beagle.

What is hypothermia?

Hypothermia occurs when your beagle’s body loses heat faster than it can produce it. Some symptoms include :

  • Lethargy
  • Shivering
  • Dull gums
  • Shallow breathing

There are three types of hypothermia: mild, moderate, and severe. When you begin to see symptoms of hypothermia manifesting, you should ring a vet immediately. Mild hypothermia can be treated at home. However, severe hypothermia requires a veterinary professional to intervene.

Frostbite occurs before hypothermia and can lead to your beagle losing their extremities (such as ears, paws, and nose). Frostbite robs your dog’s tissues of blood flow because the blood vessels near your dog’s skin constrict and close up.

How does hypothermia occur?

It happens through intense exposure to cold temperatures, shock, disease, or age. Cold temperatures can occur in the snow, outside at night, outside during freezing temperatures, being submerged in cold water for long periods. Although beagles enjoy exercise and freedom, you should allow your beagle to sleep indoors at night to reduce the chances of hypothermia (and local predators snapping him up).

Hypothermia can also occur because something has extremely shocked your dog’s body. Examples of extreme shocks include car crashes, dog fights, and other severe injuries.

When beagles are old or young, their body struggles to regulate their temperature as well as a fit, healthy adult in its prime. You should take extra precautions when exposing your beagle to the elements at these ages.

Sometimes, beagles can be predisposed to diseases, which makes them vulnerable to hypothermia. Hypothyroidism is an underactive thyroid gland – an ailment that is common in beagle dogs. Unfortunately, we do not know enough about hypothyroidism in beagles to rid them of this disease. So extra care should be taken when taking a beagle with hypothyroidism outside. Your veterinary practice can diagnose hypothyroidism and will give you all the information you require to enable your beagle to live a happy and healthy life.

How to prevent your beagle from becoming too cold

A simple way to prevent hypothermia in your beagle is to think like a beagle. Place yourself in your dog’s paws – if a situation is too cold for you, it is probably too cold for your dog. You should avoid letting your beagle go outside for more than 5 minutes when the floor is cold to touch. Of course, there are some efficient ways to prevent hypothermia, if your dog has to be out in the cold.

Clothes

You can get protective clothing for your dog to protect against the harsh winter chill. Boots protect your dog’s feet. A sweater will protect your beagle’s body.

Make sure you get your beagle accustomed to wearing these garments by using positive reinforcement training. Make sure the garments fit correctly, and that your beagle can still wear his collar with identity engraved and his harness or leash, to prevent escapes and accidents.

Monitor your beagle throughout the walk to ensure their body is at a high enough temperature. If your beagles’ temperature begins to drop, finish the walk and return home immediately.

Insulation

If you live in a cold country, you may want to invest in insulation for your house and leave the heating on when you go to work. Furthermore, if your beagle has to spend time in an outdoor kennel, you should insulate it with bedding materials such as hay. However, you should never leave your beagle outdoors overnight unattended – this has led to unnecessary suffering and deaths in dogs.

How to treat hypothermia in your beagle

Despite taking all the right precautions, your canine may still be affected by hypothermia. If your dog begins to show symptoms, you should act immediately. Delay can result in you losing your dog.

Take the dog out of the cold source. If your dog is in water, take him out. If he is outside, bring him into the warm.

Dry your dog off. If the hypothermia is caused because of water or snow, dry him off with a pre-heated towel. If you have the equipment, you can use a hairdryer to dry him off, but hold it 12 inches away to prevent burning his skin.

Heat your dog. Use an external heat source to heat your beagle. Use a hot water bottle wrapped in towels for his underbelly, while using a cloth round the rest of him. Try and warm his feet, tail, and ears up to prevent frostbite.

Ring a vet. Ring a veterinary professional ASAP. They have an abundance of professional equipment to not only treat your dog but to measure their progress accurately, too.

Can Beagles Catch Flu?

Most flu is species-specific which means beagles cannot catch the same flu as humans. However, they can catch canine flu with similar symptoms such as sneezing, lethargy, lack of appetite, running nose, etc. According to Pets Web MD, canine flu can easily spread between other dogs.

Just like beagles cannot catch human flu, humans cannot catch canine flu either. But a human can spread it to another dog if he comes in contact with the infected canine. Flu can settle on clothes and live there for around 24 hours. So make sure to wash your clothes before touching your pooch, if you come in contact with an infected dog.

Final Thoughts

As discussed, beagles are hardy creatures that suit a climate similar to that of the United Kingdom. However, even the most moderate of climates can become severe over winter. If this occurs, make sure you take all the extra precautions to protect your beagle from harsh conditions.

Furthermore, you should monitor your beagle when they are outside in cold temperatures, and ring a veterinary professional if you suspect a case of severe hypothermia. You should always remember to let your beagle sleep inside at night, as being outside alone makes them vulnerable to extreme temperature fluctuations.

Bryony Ravate

Bryony has an MSc. in Animal Behaviour and Welfare at Queen’s University, Belfast. She is passionate about Scientific Communication and interested in animal science, behavior and husbandry.

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