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When is it too cold to walk your dog? London set for snow

When is it too cold to walk your dog? London set for snow

The Met Office has issued yellow warnings for snow across much of the UK as the temperature drops.

A “cold plunge of arctic air” moving from the north has swept across the country, as temperatures are around 5C-6C lower than usual for this time of the year, the Met Office said. But while the icy morning has produced some stunning views, it does also carry a warning about the effect it can have on people but also the health of dogs.

Here is what you need to know to keep yourself and your pooch safe on a walk in icy conditions.

When is it too cold to walk your dog?

A pet’s size helps to determine when it’s safe for it to play outside in the cold. Use caution when the temperature drops below about 7C. Below 7C it’s too cold for your dog to swim.

It’s potentially unsafe for small or medium-sized dogs with thin coats to be outside, but large dogs with heavier coats might be an exception.

When the temperature drops to -7C and below, all dogs are at a higher risk of hypothermia and frostbite.

How to keep your dog safe in cold weather

Some dogs have thick furry coats all year round so, as the weather gets colder, it’s worth letting their coats grow longer to give them added protection. Some shorter-haired breeds may need more help staying warm and so would need to wear a coat in colder weather.

If it’s dark, it’s worth making sure your dog is visible to other owners, so adding a reflective coat with a flashing collar or light attachment could help.

Wearing a coat or light attachment is a new experience for some dogs and needs to be introduced in a gradual and positive way. This will help your dog enjoy wearing its equipment for winters to come.

How to supervise your pets in cold weather

Stay near your dog while it is playing or otherwise outside.

Remember that if you feel uncomfortable in cold weather, chances are your dog does too.

Be aware of the possibility of hypothermia – if your dog shows signs such as shaking, lethargy, stiff muscles, low heart rate or dilated pupils, it’s important to act quickly.

Call a vet or move them into a warmer area.