With areas of the country experiencing freezing low temperatures and unexpected snow, sleet, and ice, many pet owners wonder what the best ways are to keep their animals safe from the conditions.
Luckily, PEOPLE Pet Vet Dr. Evan Antin has shared some advice and tips on what to do with your furry family members amidst the hazardous conditions.
When asked at what temperature is it too chilly for dogs to be outside, Dr. Antin stated that it really depends on the breed, as some can handle the cold longer than others, but that ultimately, "This current weather is too cold for any dog to stay outside for extended periods."
"Different breeds can tolerate different temperatures. For example a Chihuahua, 'native' to Mexico/Latin America, prefers to be in temperatures of 70 degrees or more, whereas huskies love a winter wonderland. For most dogs, it’s best to offer somewhere for them to get warm when outdoor temperatures drop below 60 degrees," Dr. Antin added.
The idea of your dog staying inside for the duration of inclement weather is mostly out-of-the-question, as at some point they are going to need to do their business.
"I would keep walks to less than 4 to 5 minutes for small breeds that don’t tolerate cold temperatures well. And 10 to 15 minutes for breeds that tolerate winter weather better," Dr. Antin suggests. "It’s important for owners to realize that their pets will communicate with them! For instance, if I take my dog Henry out in very cold weather (which has been a while; it’s not so cold in L.A.) he starts walking slower and looks at me often or even just stops walking when he’s finished."
Some pet owners may want to know how long it is safe to keep your dog outside during the cold temperatures, to which Dr. Antin replies, "For dogs that live mostly outside they definitely need a warm, heated shelter to get away from this arctic tundra weather!"
He also "highly" recommends "pet clothing like sweaters and insulated mittens," and reveals that owners should be cautions about where they walk their dog as "some street salts are toxic" for a dog's paws.
Finally, Dr. Antin also shared some tips for cat owners as well, suggesting, "Offer indoor cats warm spots, as well. This could be a heating mat, heating lamp or a fireplace. Floors and spots near windows get much colder in the winter and our kitties like to stay warm, too!"