Most of us think that dogs are able to handle any cold-weather because of their fur coat. Although we may think that way, they actually have limitations when it comes to their tolerance for being outside. Lifehacker recently spotted an infographic that let you know when it is too cold to walk your dog. It even considers factors such as breed and dog size.
Dr. Kim Smyth is a staff veterinarian with Petplan, a pet insurance company. She created the graphic and modeled it after a scale developed by Tufts University. You can use the graphic to determine if it is safe outside for your furry friend after the snowstorm passes.
Your dog may be in danger of frostbite or hypothermia, especially if they are smaller. It doesn’t even need to be below freezing, temperatures of 40°F can cause such difficulties. Big dogs may be okay for longer but you still need to be cautious, especially when the temperatures drop to 30°F or lower. You can use canine booties or sweaters so they can stay outside longer. NPR also reports that having something on their paws can help to save them from chemicals on the sidewalk, such as antifreeze.
Although you can use the image as a general guideline, remember that every dog is a unique individual. Some dogs have health conditions that may keep them from being safe outside and the length of their fur can make a difference as well. Dr. Smyth gave an interview with WBUR in which she said that shivering is the first sign of hypothermia. If you happen to see your dog shivering, “you want to get these dogs inside, wrap them up in a warm towel or blanket, and get them to the vet if you need to,” she says.
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