Our Veterinary Blog
Cold Weather and Dogs: Can My Dog Go Outside?
Cold weather can be brutal for humans and their pets. A dog’s ability to endure colder temperatures depends on various factors.
Your dog may feel cold when it is below 45 degrees, but they can still go outside. However, when the temperature goes below 32 degrees, it may not be safe for them. If it is below 20 degrees, it is too cold for any breed to be outside for too long.
Temperatures below 20 degrees put dogs at risk for cold weather-related issues like hypothermia or frostbite. Check out this article if you want to know how cold is too cold for dogs.
How Cold is Too Cold for Dogs?
Cold weather tends to affect some pups more than others. Chances are, if the weather is unbearable to you, it is also intolerable for your dog. All dogs are different, and certain breeds tolerate the cold better than others. Even the color of your pup’s coat can affect their ability to withstand the cold. Dogs with darker colored coats have an easier time in the cold because their coat absorbs the sunlight better.
When determining whether it is too cold for your dog, you must consider the thickness of their coat. Certain breeds have thicker coats and can tolerate the cold because they are better insulated. Just like how humans tend to feel more comfortable when they put on their winter coat, it is no different for dogs with a thick coat of fur.
Another factor is that some dogs are more used to the cold than others, which can differ for each dog. For some breeds, their ancestry goes back to them being working dogs in colder weather, like the Siberian Husky. These dogs were initially bred to be sled dogs. Naturally, they will feel more at ease in the cold.
For the most part, cold temperatures should not be an issue for pups until it falls below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. At that point, many dogs may begin to feel uncomfortable. Once temperatures drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, it begins to affect certain dogs adversely. Dogs that fall into the following categories tend to be affected first:
- Very young dogs
- Very old dogs
- Small dogs
- Dogs with health issues
When the temperature plummets under 20 degrees Fahrenheit, all pups are at risk for problems like hypothermia or frostbite. Your dog’s weight is another factor that can determine how cold is too cold for them.
What Dogs Are Considered “Cold Weather Dogs?”
Some pups were made for the cold weather, as they may be wearing “bigger” coats. Many dog breeds are considered cold-weather dogs due to selective breeding. The following pups tend to fare well when the temperatures drop:
- Siberian Huskies
- Alaskan Malamutes
- Saint Bernards
- Great Pyrenees
Bernese Mountain dogs, Samoyeds, and Shiba Inus are also considered cold weather dog breeds. These pups do not require sweaters like smaller, thin-coated breeds.
What Dogs Are Cold Intolerant?
Some dog breeds are more intolerant of the cold. These dogs tend to be those with short hair. Some breeds that detest the cold weather are:
The greyhound is another breed that finds the cold to be loathsome. Toy and tiny breeds also do not do well in the cold.
What Are Signs That My Dog is Too Cold?
You may want to watch out for certain signs to figure out if your dog is too cold. Pay close attention to your pup when the weather becomes colder to see if there are any notable changes in their behavior. The following include signs that your dog is too cold:
- Searching for a warm place to go
- Walking slower than usual
- Holding up a paw
If your dog is shivering and whining, it may indicate that they suffer in cold weather. In severe cases, hypothermia can develop. Signs of hypothermia include lack of energy, muscle stiffness, weakness, and loss of consciousness. If you observe any of these warnings, get your pup out of the cold immediately and seek immediate treatment.
How Can I Keep My Dog Warm?
There are some ways you can keep your dog warm when the weather gets cold. You can dress them warmly to help them feel better in the lower temperatures. You can also snuggle up with your fur baby on your sofa with a blanket. You must make changes to get them acclimated to the cold weather. The following are different ways you can keep your pup warm:
Dogs with difficulty generating or maintaining heat on their own may benefit from wearing a cozy sweater. When it comes to your canine’s well-being and style, there is a wide range of options. The Jecikelon Knitwear Dog Sweater is made from wool for smaller dogs who want to be soft, cozy, and warm.
The Gooby Stretch Fleece Dog Sweater is super stretchy, and it is made with 90 percent polyester and 5 percent polyurethane to keep moisture out, like the snow. The sweater comes in a wide range of colors. It is also lightweight and easy to clean. Your dog will look adorable in a cozy winter sweater, keeping them nice and toasty warm in the cold!
Coats are another terrific idea to keep your pup warm. Lelepet Warm Dog Winter Coat is a very nice and warm dog vest and jacket, and it is made of high-quality waterproof fabric. ThinkPet Waterproof Windproof Reversible Jacket is ideal for all different cold weather conditions. One side is cozy, soft, and the other is polyester fabric, a windproof and waterproof material.
Winter booties protect your pup’s paws from salts and cuts and keep snowballs from collecting between their toes. Booties should be comfortable and fit well. You may also trim the fur between their toes to help limit or prevent an accumulation of ice and snow there, as it can cause their little feet to go limp. Just like with people, your dog may need to try many different booties to find the right fit for them.
PawZ Rubber Dog Booties come in packs of 12 and are great for all types of weather. They are made from natural rubber from a rubber tree. QUMY Small Dog Winter Snowshoes are perfect for the cold weather. The water-resistant boots will keep your dog’s paws dry and warm. The shoes have adjustable and reflective straps to provide a tight fit.
During wintertime, your dog’s paws can get dry and cracked. You want to protect their sweet little paws with a good paw balm. You can put it on your pup’s paws before going for a walk, creating a barrier that protects them from snow, ice, and salt. The paw balm will also soothe and moisturize your dog’s paws after winter walks.
Vets Preferred Paw Pad Protection Balm will heal, repair, and moisturize your dog’s paws, and it can even help with a cracked nose. Pet head Oatmeal Natural Paw Butter is also a great option. It is oatmeal-scented and pH-balanced. It contains a soothing blend of shea butter, oatmeal, mango, vitamin E, and more. Your pup’s paws will thank you!
When the temperature becomes too overwhelmingly cold, it could jeopardize your dog. Most dogs can tolerate cold weather when it is below 45 degrees. When it gets to 32 degrees, it may be too cold for some dogs, and below 20 degrees can be dangerous. When establishing how cold is too cold for your dog, look for any signs you may see that your pup is uncomfortable.
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