"Baby, It's Cold Outside"
It's frigid outside in the Syracuse area lately, and I only see it getting even colder over the next few months. I, for one, love taking my dog, Cairo, with me (in my car) whenever I can, but with this weather, it's simply not always possible. He LOVES my car. He wants to be in it all the time, no matter if it's moving or not! I end up letting him take long naps in it while I'm working sometimes. But I also know when to leave him at home, in the warmth of our humble abode. This gets me thinking about how we treat our pets and where they reside the majority of the time; specifically, dogs.
I understand that not all dogs are treated as mine is; laying in my bed with me every night and basically treated like a king. Some dogs aren't allowed on the furniture. Some dogs aren't allowed human food. Some dogs aren't allowed a lot of the things I allow my dog, but that's fine. We all do things differently and I understand that. BUT, some dogs are kept outdoors for the majority of their lives. This, I don't agree with ... but, we all have the right to raise our pups as we see fit, so... let me just say this...
If you do keep your dog outside the majority of the time, please be aware of the weather. Dogs aren't invincible. They feel cold and NEED to come indoors when the weather calls for it. If you do keep your dog outside, you should invest in a kennel or an insulated dog house for protection. You may even want to consider warming lamps, similar to an incubator for baby chicks. Buy your dog a sweater or jacket (especially short haired dogs). Shovel a walkway for your dog so they can get around without having to struggle, especially smaller dogs where the snow is high enough to reach her/his neck.
As far as temperature goes ... in general, most dogs will not have a problem until the temperature falls below 45 degrees F. I have actually had first hand experience with this. Cairo (my dog) was in my car for a while when it was turned off. I eventually noticed that he was shivering. I checked the weather and realized that it was only 40 degrees F. and took note of this. Cairo is a Rottweiler and doesn't have a very thick coat. Other breeds may be completely fine with this. Anything below 32 degrees F. with a thin coated, senior, or small breed dog, is simply too cold. Bring them inside. Anything under 20 Degrees F. is dangerous for ANY dog, regardless of breed. It's possible they could develop some sort of cold-associated health problem, like frostbite or hypothermia.
We love our dogs, right?! If we didn't, why would we have them? In my opinion, pets are family. Why would we banish family to live such a lonely, cold (or hot), life. Bring them indoors. Love them. THEY live to love YOU. Show them the same respect. If they MUST remain outdoors, be aware of their needs and health. The Syracuse area (along with many other towns and cities) has very extreme weather conditions. When the temperature drops below 45 degrees F, play it safe and bring your dogs/pets indoors, or at least make sure they are warm enough. They rely solely on us. Don't let your loved ones down. <3