beagle puppy watches snow fall

Is It Too Cold Outside for My Pet?

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The long, lazy, wonderful summer seems to have finally ended. There have been several nights below freezing, now. Some people are saying, “Finally!” Other people, people like me, are saying, “NOOOOO!” No matter how you feel about the cold weather, though, remember that your pets are affected by it. If you have to put on your coat to stand to be outdoors, then it is too cold to leave your dog or cat outside.

Better Off Big and Furry

A Husky out in the snow.

Some dogs may be better suited to the cold weather than others. Common sense tells us that large dogs with undercoats and lots of fur will fare better than a small dog with a thin coat since their bellies are closer to the ground and may come in contact with snow and ice. Some of the dogs that do better in cold weather are Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes and Samoyeds. But even these dogs are sensitive to the cold at times, especially if they live in warm climates for most of the year.

Bad Things Happen to Cold Pets

A black dog curled up outside in the snow.

Not bringing your pet inside on cold nights could be detrimental to their health, or even fatal. Remember that there is a potential for serious harm when you decide to leave your pet outside, cold and alone.

  • Frostbite
  • Hypothermia
  • Worsened arthritis
  • Difficulty regulating body temperature
  • Cracked, bleeding paw pads
  • Potentially freezing to death

Signs My Pet May Be Too Cold

Watch for these signs that your dog or cat is ready to come inside:

  • Whining or barking while making eye contact with you
  • Shivering
  • Anxiety, pacing, clinging to you or trying to climb your leg
  • Standing still and not moving at all
  • Looking for shelter under a bush or car

Check Under the Hood

A White cat outside in the snow.

It’s also too cold outside for cats! Strays or your neighbor’s outdoor cat will seek out a warm place, which may be your car engine. Be extra careful in the fall and winter when starting your car. Bring in your outdoor or indoor/outdoor cats at night when the temperatures are low.

If You Must

I know some people have outdoor dogs and cats, but please have mercy on them!! Even if you have an outdoor shelter for your dog, he may not use it. If you do not want your outdoor pet inside your house, consider giving them a warm bed in your garage away from cold winds and frost. If you must leave them outside, then their shelter should be insulated, have lots of warm blankets and have a source of heat. They also need to always have access to non-frozen water.

Warm House, Warm Lap, Warm Bed, Warm Heart

Two dog noses peeking out of a blanket.

We should all accompany our pets outside daily at this time of year. When we feel too cold and want to go back inside, our pets feel the same way. Let’s bring them into our warm homes, and they will help to keep us warm, as well.

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