Just how much cold can dogs handle?

"It’s our first winter in Northern Minnesota and we are handling the cold and loving the snow," says reddit user hyperbolefan. "However, our dogs struggle when they go outside on cold days. They hold their paws up off the ground: it’s clearly uncomfortable. We bought salve for their paws and apply it weekly. Should we get boots for them? Am I being overly protective? Are they really suffering?"

Nice Minnesotans were quick to jump to the rescue with advice and experience.

"Boots work," said one. "Another thing to think about is some sidewalk salt can irritate paws. You might want to rinse thier [sic] paws or wipe them down with a warm washcloth after being outside to get any de-icing chemicals off."

"Bigger dogs should be fine in terms of body warmth," affirmed another. "Small dogs might need a jacket type thing. Any size dog could get cold paws, especially if ice chunks get stuck between their toes. You might as well try the boots."

"Best advice I've got is to make sure they are active and get warm," advised another. "Dogs don't sweat through their skin so they don't get wet and colder working hard outside. Once they're warmed up they should be fine for a while. Just keep an eye on em and bring em in when they're doing the cold dance."

"Nah, totally look into boots. And warm towels, maybe even a hair dryer," suggested another.

According to PetMD, every dog is different, with factors like coat type, size, weight, conditioning, age and health all playing roles in how well he or she does outside. Weather conditions like wind chill, dampness and cloud cover also play a factor. In general, most dogs should be find with temperatures above 45; by 32 degrees owners of small, young, sick or old dogs should be attentive to their dogs; and when temperatures are below 20 all dog owners should be aware of their dog's response and activity to the cold.

"The best way to monitor dogs when it’s cold is to keep a close eye on their behavior. If you notice your dog shivering, acting anxious, whining, slowing down, searching out warm locations or holding up one or more paws, it’s time to head inside."

If you have a dog or dogs, what advice or words would you offer about keeping or letting them outside?

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