How cold is too cold to walk your dog outside?

Walking dogs is a little more confusing when it comes to cold weather. Luckily, Mental Floss shared a handy infographic created by pet insurance company Petplan and based on a model developed by Tufts University to determine how dogs respond to weather conditions by breed and build. The scale gives the current temperature a grade of 5, with 1 meaning no risk and 5 meaning “potentially life-threatening cold” for the dog. It also offers modifiers for external circumstances. For example, add 2 to the score if it’s wet outside and subtract 1 if your dog has a “heavy coat” or is used to cold weather.

From 40 degrees Fahrenheit you should keep an eye on your dog and not leave him outside for too long. For small dogs, the risk of life-threatening cold starts at around 20 degrees Fahrenheit, while for larger dogs it starts at around 10 degrees. As Mental Floss explains, just like boiling temperatures, temperatures below freezing can cause heat stroke, posing a risk of frostbite and hypothermia in dogs just like humans.

Basically, you should keep your walks short as soon as your thermometer drops below 30 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also protect your pooch from the cold by bundling your pooch in fluffy coats and jackets and waterproof booties (via The Dogington Post). These paw protectors not only protect against icy, snowy ground, but also prevent toxic chemicals from products like de-icer from getting stuck between the toes.

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