Not sure what your pet's tolerance to temperatures is? The best guideline to follow is, if you are cold, (or hot), so is your pet. Every year there are stories published of how animals suffer from exposure to extreme weather due to the fact that some owners are not aware of endurance levels of their pets.
The most notable and public cases of death by extreme weather conditions are when dogs are left in vehicles while their parents run a "quick errand". The quick errand invariably turns into a shopping marathon while poor Fido is blazing away in the enclosed sauna like conditions of a vehicle, enduring a slow torture of sky rocketing heat.
Leaving a window cracked and a dish of water in a vehicle with an animal does not cut it either. These are band aid solutions to a potentially life threatening situation.
Winter months can be just as brutal on your pet, and it is recommended that at no time during the year, summer or winter, should you bring Fido along for a car ride while you duck into the mall.
Your pooch will be just fine snoozing away at home while you run out and get your groceries, and think of the excited greeting you will receive on arriving back at your home. Better to suffer a little separation anxiety for the time you are away than the alternative of potentially harming your pet or worse.
Keeping in mind the number of stray, lost or, feral animals that are unable to find warmth indoors, you may wish to assemble a DIY shelter to help the homeless dogs and cats in your city. There are many kind citizens that place a small warming station complete with water and kibble on their properties to provide a break to permanently outdoor animals. (thank you!)
Alternatives to having a Feral B&B in your yard are donating your time, money or, materials to a local shelter or rescue that provides this type of service in your neighborhood. Rescues that service northern communities will definitely take donated items such as doghouses, beds and blankets to help keep neglected and at large animals warm in winter. A few organizations that The Pack Project is aware of providing this service are: Canine Action Project (CAP) in Alberta & Sask, Strays that Can't Pay and Norway House Animal Rescue both of which are located in Manitoba. Please feel free to contact us for assistance in locating a rescue close to you.
When taking Fido for a walk during winter, consider appropriate outerwear for your pooch. Dog booties come in many shapes and sizes, as do sweaters and jackets. For extremely cold sensitive dogs, you may consider a matching hat to go with that parka! If purchasing a jacket or hat is not in your budget, you can repurpose your own clothing to help keep pup warm. Check your closet for a sweater or hoody that might fit your pooch.
If doggy boots are not going to work for your dog, you might want to try a mushing cream or other protective balm. Remember to rinse off puppy paws to remove salt and other potentially dangerous substances. Chunks of ice have been known to form on unprotected paw pads so have a quick look for these as well.