SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Just like people, pets get cold too! The cold tolerance can vary from pet to pet based on their coat, body fat, activity level, and health.
During the winter months, it’s important to keep your pet safe from the elements. Winter walks can become dangerous if chemicals from ice-melting agents are licked off of bare paws. Towel dry your pet as soon as they come inside, and clean off their paws, especially in-between their toes.
“Get them back in the house quickly, clean them up after the walk, make sure there’s no chemical or de-icer stuck in their paws and everybody just get warm and cuddle,” said Lee Chambers of Dakin Humane Society.
Consider getting your pet a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. When spending time outdoors, limit those walks to 15 minutes.
“That’s a good rule of thumb, that’s usually a good amount of time to take your dog for a walk and get the out and let them do what they need to do and get back in the house. You don’t want to risk hypothermia or them being exposed to any other dangerous element,” said Chambers.
“We have a little sweater that we are going to break out, she doesn’t wear it but I think she might like it tomorrow,” said Mary Ellen of Longmeadow. “A pair of booties that we are going to break out probably tomorrow just to go in the back yard because it’s going to be too cold to walk. And we don’t stay out for very long.”
Under Massachusetts law, it is illegal to keep your dog tethered outside for longer than 15 minutes during a weather advisory, warning, or watch. Owners who violate these laws can be fined anywhere between $50 for first offenses to $300 for subsequent violations.
Like people, cats and dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia and generally should be kept inside. No pet should be left outside for long periods in below-freezing weather or inside a vehicle. If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pet as well.