Are Pets Safe Outside in Cold Weather?

Are Pets Safe Outside in Cold Weather?

For literally centuries, dogs, cats, and other now domesticated animals lived and flourished outdoors. And they survived the harshest conditions; hot and cold weather. Over the years, however, as feral animals became house pets, their resistance to extreme conditions has changed. Today’s house pet is not able to tolerate what a “backyard dog” of even one hundred years ago would have been subjected to. Hypothermia is a major pet problem during the winter months.

Dr. Vicksman, a Denver veterinarian, has published recommendations for protecting the health and vigor of your family dog in all weather conditions. Interestingly, and surprisingly to some, Dr. Vicksman recommends that your pet pooch should be in the house, warm and secure, when temperatures are consistently at or below 40 degrees. To some, this seems like over-kill, especially for long-haired dogs. Dr. Vicksman’s recommendation of 40 degrees is intended mainly for short-haired dogs, like greyhounds and labs.

Dogs with longer fur can tolerate temperatures to as low as zero, but not for extended periods of time. Common sense should be our guide in managing our pet’s outdoor exposure in cold weather. When your best friend stands expectantly at the door, upon hind feet and asking to be let in, the message is simple; I’m cold; open up and let me in!

Nothing is more distressing than seeing dogs and/or cats, forced to stay outside in cold weather. If you must leave your pet outside for extended periods of time, you might consider an insulated pet house with a water-proof roof. Providing just this much protection can make all the difference in safeguarding your pet’s health this winter.