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I see a bunch of dogs outside every day when I drive home from work - I have no idea how long they’ve been outside, but I feel so bad for them, especially on weeks like this where temps are barely above 0.

If you have an outdoor dog you should really limit their time outdoors when the weather is this bad, and when your dog is outside you should make sure it has adequate shelter. Minnesota actually has a law on the books that explains what dog houses need in order to be up to code.

Minnesota Statute 343.40 says, “The shelter shall include a moisture-proof and windproof structure of suitable size to accommodate the dog and allow retention of body heat. It shall be made of durable material with a solid, moisture-proof floor or a floor raised at least two inches from the ground. Between November 1 and March 31, the structure must have a windbreak at the entrance. The structure shall be provided with a sufficient quantity of suitable bedding material consisting of hay, straw, cedar shavings, blankets, or the equivalent, to provide insulation and protection against cold and dampness and promote retention of body heat.”

Beth Malinich, a doctor of veterinary medicine at the Animal Hospital of Fairview Park, told, “In 10-degree weather a large dog (50-80 pounds) can be outside for five minutes, medium dogs (25-50 pounds) for two to three minutes” Any dogs smaller than that should only go out for as long as it takes them to go to the bathroom.

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