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Pets and Cold Weather

Cold weather is upon us… for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. On those bitter cold days, your pets may dart outside long enough for a quick potty break and run back inside. Other pets may love the colder weather and refuse to come inside! My parents’ dog Becca is the latter type of dog — she’ll happily sit on the middle of the pool cover once the water below has frozen. But she has a thick, double coat to protect her from the worst of the winter chill.

Don’t force your pets outside when the weather is too cold. If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pets, too! If you can’t handle being outside for hours at a time, your pet probably can’t handle it either.

Some breeds are better equipped for cold weather than others. A little research on your dog’s dominant breed can give you an idea of how long he can handle the elements. Double-coated dogs grow their winter undercoats during the fall — so make sure your dog gets plenty of outside time through the autumn.

A few cold weather dogs:

  • Siberian husky
  • Chow chow
  • Keeshond
  • Samoyed
  • Akita
  • Elkhounds and Wolfhounds
  • Saint Bernard
  • Golden Retrievers

If your pet isn’t as naturally prepared for cold weather, you might want to protect his feet with booties and his body with a cozy coat. And when your pets come in from outside, check their feet very carefully. Ice and snow can form painful snowballs between the toes.

Regardless of breed, a young animal should never be left outside for long periods of time when it is very cold. A puppy or kitten cannot keep themselves warm the way an adult dog or cat can. Make sure your adult pets have some sort of shelter from the cold weather when they are outside. A doghouse or other small enclosure will protect your pet from the biting winds. A pad, blanket, pillow, or bed will keep him off the cold floor.

Read up on paw protection for cold winter months!

Learn how to fit your pets for cozy coats.