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How to keep Fido safe in the winter

I took advantage of today’s nicer weather by heading out to the dog park with my trusty sidekick, Petra. Like most dogs, my pup loves to be outside at any given opportunity, but sometimes I wonder if it’s safe for her to be outside. I dove into the details of how winter weather affects our pets, and here’s what I learned.

If you are planning on leaving your pet outside for an extended period of time, there are some things that you should be aware of. If you have a smaller dog or a dog with a thinner coat, they are more likely to get colder faster. You may want to grab them a sweater or jacket.

Petra wears her coat as added protection on days that it's snowy or rainy

For your bigger dogs, they’ll retain heat a little longer than smaller pups, but it still doesn’t take long for them to become cold. It’s recommended that you start watching how long your pets are outside once the temperature falls below 45 degrees Fahrenheit because that is when they can start to struggle against the cold. Plus, if there’s any weather in the area, like rain, snow, or even winds, that could cause your dog to lose heat faster, just like we lose heat faster in the rain or snow. Wind chill still affects dogs the same way it affects us; winds pull our body heat away from our body, allowing us to cool down much quicker than we normally would.

Wind chill works the same way with humans and pets

If you're headed for a walk on the concrete, make sure that the sidewalk or road you're on hasn't been treated for inclement weather recently. The chemicals used in road treatments can be toxic to dogs when licked off of their paws.

Overall, if you wouldn’t want to be outside because of the weather, your puppy probably doesn’t want to be there either. In today’s case, I’d say that the dog park was exactly what this puppy needed.

Insider Blog / Video / Weather / Weather Video
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Maddie Est

Maddie Est appears on ABC 17’s weekend evening broadcasts. She grew up in St. Louis, and her passion for weather originated from a young age thanks to all the different weather that St. Louis receives. She is currently studying Atmospheric Science at the University of Missouri.

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