When is it too cold for dogs to be outside

We may be warm this week, but colder weather is right around the corner. So this week's weather question is: When is it too cold for your pets to go outside?

"This time of year we are really going through a grind. This cold weather wears on all of us. Below freezing - especially if animals are exposed to wind - it really sucks the body heat out of them," says Northside Animal Hospital Veterinarian Dr.John Bloszies.

It is illegal for dogs to be left outside when temperatures drop below 32 degrees in Columbus. And some dogs are more sensitive to the cold than others.

"The really lean dogs, the ones with low body fat, the ones with short coats, obviously are going to suffer. The big, chunky chows with a thick fur coat will be better protected - the sled dogs, the huskies, the mountain dogs - their physiology is geared for cold weather," says Bloszies.

The ideal temperature to walk or leave dogs outside is above 32°F to 70°F, but when temperatures do fall below freezing, there are some ways to keep your pups more comfortable.

Boots aren't necessary to walk your dog in the cold, but coats or sweaters for small dogs or ones with short hair will keep them warmer.

Another thing to help your pups in colder weather is to feed them a little more.

"These animals need more calories in cold weather, so don't hesitate to give a little extra food in these animals that are subjected to cold stress, and that's what we call it - it is a stress to be in cold weather continuously. It wears on us psychologically, it wears on them probably psychologically, but definitely physically," adds Bloszies.

The best way to tell if your dog is too cold is to check if he or she is shivering. If so, it is too cold for your dog to be outside.

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