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Much of the UK has been blessed with a helping of snow this week as Storm Arwen wreaks havock. Humans and dogs alike love walking out in the white stuff, but some dog owners might be wondering when it's too cold for those little paws and what they can do to keep their fur babies warm as they frolic in the frost.
Just like the weather can get too hot, it can also get too cold for our four-legged friends. Here's the advice.
The minimum temperature your dog can be safely walked in depends on their size. Age can also be a factor - like if you've got a young puppy or an old, frail fella, they'll be more vulnerable to the cold. According to research by PetPlan, small and medium-sized breeds of dogs are more vulnerable to the cold and are potentially at risk of being affected if the temperature is below four degrees celsius. For larger breeds, there's an 'unsafe potential' for them once temperatures drop below one degree-celsius and it's advised that you keep an eye on your pet and look for signs that they're not enjoying their walk.
Again, depending on the size of your dog, minus four celsius is deemed dangerous for small and medium-sized dog breeds and anything below minus nine is dangerous for all dogs. PetPlan has a handy chart (below), which will help you determine if it's too cold to walk your dog.
Dog's Trust has issued some advice to owners about walking their four-legged friends in the winter weather. It includes putting a coat on your dog for their walk, making sure they're visible in low light with a high vis collar or coat or a light on their collar, and being aware of how your dog might react to snow if they're experiencing it for the first time. The charity said lots of doggos tend to get excited (can we blame them?) and could be tempted to run off in the snow and not listen to your recall, so be aware of this and keep them on a lead if you think they could react in this way.
Dog's Trust has also warned owners not to let their pooches walk on frozen ponds or lakes, because the ice might not be able to withstand their weight and they could risk falling through into the freezing cold water.
If the weather is too cold to walk your dog, the advice is to do some activities indoors to stimulate your dog, like some training exercises, playing with toys or hiding treats and challenging them to find them.
Overall, this is just guidance and if you notice your dog isn't responding well to the icy conditions, listen to them and don't risk walking them, particularly if they're old and frail.
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