If it’s too cold for you, its too cold for them.
Your pets, you love them.
And in the winter months, it’s easy to think that they’re having a great ol’ time outdoors.
I mean, look at these cats, right?
But the truth is, dogs and cats shouldn’t be left outside in the cold for long periods, AT ALL.
The cold affects pets much in the same way it affects people, explained Cathy Meeks, an internist with Blue Pearl Veterinary Clinic in Tampa, Florida.
“A common misconception is that because of their fur they can tolerate colder temperatures,” she told BuzzFeed. In reality, Meeks said, you should think of a dog or cat’s fur as about as warm as a light fleece jacket.
And that's not particularly warm on a day when temperatures drop into the teens or single digits.
A dog or cat’s weight and age can also impact how long they can and should stay out in the cold.
“Thinner people get colder faster, and it’s the same way with dogs,” said Meeks. “They have less tolerance than dogs that are heavier.” And, she adds, “middle age dogs that are healthy are going to be much better at dealing with the cold than puppies or geriatric dogs that have diseases.”
Meeks’ rules definitely apply to animals you might otherwise think of as “outside” pets.
Just because a pet might ~normally~ live primarily outside, says Meeks, doesn't mean you shouldn't bring them inside during cold weather streaks.
Cat owners should be especially careful about their outdoor cats in cold months. “One of the things we see with cats is that they try and find the warmest place outdoors — and that’s often under the hood of a car. People will then start their cars and that’ll cause a lot of damage,” said Meeks.
For more on precautions you can take, check out this list from Blue Pearl.