During the winter months, the extreme temperatures cause most of us to alter our routines significantly. Since no one wants to spend a great deal of time outdoors when they do not have to, this is an understandable impulse. But what happens when we do not have the same level of consideration for our pets during these trying times? Many pet owners find themselves wondering what they can possibly do about their four legged friends as a result.
This is especially true for pet owners who are accustomed to placing their animals outdoors for extended periods of time. When is is too chilly for the animal to remain outdoors? How long do we have to wait before bringing a pet back inside? Some people believe that an animal’s fur coat can keep them protected. Others may believe that the animal actually likes it outside.
These perceptions are not rooted in any form of reality, though. In fact, experts believe that our dogs are not able to handle these conditions. One of them even went so far as to spend the night in a doghouse to see how long they would be able to survive for. Dr. Ward wore all of the proper gear and braved the icy conditions for an overnight stay.
He concluded that these types of living conditions are not something that we should be subjecting an animal to. He was unable to last for more than four hours. Even though he wore all of the necessary layers to keep warm, Ward reported numbness in his extremities after just a few minutes. If you are someone who thinks that a dog is better equipped to handle these conditions than we are, get this erroneous idea out of your head immediately.
While there are certain breeds that have longer hair and are better able to handle the cold, there is no dog who should be left in these conditions for an extended period of time. If the temperatures are below freezing, this places the dog at extreme risk of developing hypothermia or frostbite. If the pet has any preexisting conditions, they will be aggravated by the cold as well.
To break all of this down in the simplest possible terms: if it is too cold for us to be spending the night outdoors, it is certainly too cold for your pet. Bear this important lesson in mind and stop expecting your dog to brave the arctic chill just because they have a fur coat and an extra blanket or two.