This chart easily shows when it’s too cold to walk your dog

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With much of the country experiencing extreme winter weather, staying warm is a top priority. But this time of year leaves many pet owners with a quandary: How can their dog get the outdoor activity they need in such cold weather? Is it even safe to walk them, or is it possible for temperatures to be too low for a dog to enjoy time outdoors safely?

This handy chart designed by Petplan veterinarian Dr. Kim Smyth makes it easy to understand the risks of letting a dog play outside, no matter what type of pup it is. The information in the chart is based on a set of guidelines created by experts at Tufts University.


Smyth’s color-coded chart can help dog-owners easily decipher whether it’s too cold for their pet outside. It even takes into account a dog’s size, as well as whether the conditions are wet, in addition to being cold. It could definitely be something worth printing out and keeping handy.

Below are some other tips that can help keep your dog safe when they’re outside this winter.

1. No Diving

Don’t let your pup dive into deep snow. While it’s always fun to see a dog jump headfirst into a big pile of snow, it could be dangerous. There might be a hole or dangerous object buried in deep snow drifts, so keep your pup safe by making sure they only play in shallow snow and areas that you know are clean of debris and potential risks.

dog in snow photo
Getty Images | Charles McQuillan

2. Use Bright Toys

Easy-to-see toys are a must when playing with your dog in the snow. Even if you are playing in the sunshine, it can be hard to detect toys in the snow. Use neon or brightly colored toys that will be easy for your dog (and you) to see, so that you won’t have to dig in thick, wet snow to find it.

bright dog toy photo
Flickr | m01229

3. Keep Your Dog Cozy (And Cute)

Bundle up. If they need it, give your dog an extra layer of warmth with a cozy coat for dogs. And don’t forget waterproof snow booties to keep your pup’s paws dry! Find a pair on Amazon.


4. Feed Them Right

Feed them hearty, meat-rich meals. Your dog needs nutritious fuel to help keep his immune system strong and his energy up, especially during cold months. Of course, before changing your dog’s food, ask your veterinarian and do some research at websites like Dog Food Advisor.

dog kibble photo
Flickr | tracydonald

[h/t: Mental Floss]

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