Just like people, your pets’ tolerance for the cold varies based on their coat, activity level, body fat storage, and overall health. You should be aware of your pets’ cold tolerance, and adjust their outdoor activities accordingly. You will probably need to shorten your dogs’ walks during very cold weather to protect them and yourself. After walks, check your dogs’ paws for cracks or scrapes. They may need aloe or ointment for treatment. Arthritic and elderly pets may have more difficulty walking on snow and ice and may be more prone to slipping and falling. Long-haired or thick-coated dogs tend to be more cold-tolerant, but are still at risk in cold weather. Short-haired pets feel the cold faster because they have less protection, and short-legged pets may become cold faster because their bellies and bodies are more likely to come into contact with snow-covered ground. Pets with diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or hormonal imbalances (such as Cushing’s disease) may have a harder time regulating their body temperature, and may be more susceptible to problems from temperature extremes. The same goes for very young and very old pets. If you need help determining your pet’s temperature limits, consult your veterinarian. Your pet may even change their sleeping location to receive more comfort and warmth during cold temperatures. Your pet may also appreciate a sweater or just spending some time inside.
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