For most of us right now, it’s pretty cold out there. Record-setting lows are being set from Mishawaka to Mobile and many parts in between. Yes, we’re aware it’s winter, and yes, we know you have the good sense to keep yourself and your best friend out of that kind of weather. And while some dogs require nothing short of bribery to get outside when the weather is anything less than ideal, others won’t be stopped no matter what the weather.
So we had to ask our veterinarian friends, how cold is too cold? The general rule of thumb that if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your dog is a good starting place. However, we’ll probably be braving the cold in a few layers of wool, some serious fleece and our beefiest footwear. Long-haired breeds will fare slightly better in frosty temps, but despite their hair, even they won’t do well outdoors for extended periods if they’ve spent most of their time south of the Mason-Dixon. Puppies, geriatric or dogs with health issues are particularly susceptible to extreme weather, so you’ll want to pay special attention to them during this kind of weather.
Dogs, like people, are creatures of habit. That morning walk or afternoon at the dog park may be the highlight of their day. Missing those activities may make them more antsy and restless. Now’s the time to introduce a new toy or resurrect an old one to help them while away the extra time indoors. And even with the lower level of activity, they’ll still need a little extra in the supper dish since it takes more calories to keep warm.
No matter the weather, some dogs are just going to want to go outside to play. A few minutes of fetch is likely enough to take the edge off. If they must, keep the outside trips brief or the walks short. Even when it’s dry outside their footpads are susceptible to freezing or even frostbite with overexposure. Use your best judgement (not theirs), and if you have questions or concerns your vet is always a great resource!