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How Cold Is Too Cold for Your Dog?

Being outside is great for a dog's physical and mental health. Activities like walking, running, and sniffing help keep dogs happy and healthy. But when the temperatures drop, it's important to know when the risks of cold weather outweigh the benefits of outdoor time for your dog.

How Cold Is Too Cold for Dogs To Be Outside?

A temperature that feels comfortable to one dog might make another shiver. Various factors affect how dogs respond to the cold:

Dog Coat Type:Dogs with thick, double-layered coats, such as Siberian Huskies, Newfoundlands, and Samoyeds, are more tolerant of cold weather. Conversely, breeds with thin coats, like Basenjis and Xoloitzcuintlis, may struggle in colder temperatures and benefit from wearing dog sweaters.

Dog Coat Color:On sunny days, dark-coated dogs can absorb more heat from sunlight, keeping them warmer than light-coated dogs.

Dog Size:Smaller dogs get colder faster than larger dogs because they lose heat more quickly due to their larger surface area relative to their volume.

Dog Weight:Body fat acts as insulation, so thinner dogs tend to get cold faster than heavier dogs. However, maintaining a healthy weight is crucial, as the health risks of obesity outweigh the benefits of extra insulation.

Dog Conditioning:Dogs accustomed to cold weather handle it better than those used to warmer temperatures.

Dog Age and Health:Puppies, senior dogs, and dogs with health issues cannot regulate their body temperature as well as healthy adult dogs. Ensure these dogs are properly protected with dog sweaters or coats and limit their time outside in cold weather.

Other environmental factors also play a role:

Wind Chill:A brisk breeze can cut through a dog's coat, reducing its insulating ability.

Dampness:Rain, snow, and heavy fog can soak through a dog's fur and chill them quickly, even if the air temperature is mild.

Cloud Cover:Cloudy days feel colder than sunny days because dogs can't soak up the sun's warmth.

Activity Level:Active dogs generate more body heat, which helps keep them comfortable in colder temperatures.

How To Keep Dogs Warm in the Cold

Dog Coats and Sweaters:Most dogs don't need extra warmth indoors or in mild weather. However, thin-coated dogs may benefit from a sweater or hoodie when it's chilly. For colder temperatures, use an insulated, windproof, and water-resistant dog coat.

Dog Booties:Protect your dog's paws from cold, snow, ice, and chemicals used on roads and sidewalks. Look for waterproof booties that provide traction and durability.

How Cold Is Too Cold for a Dog Walk?

Generally, cold should not become an issue for most dogs until temperatures fall below 45°F. At this point, some cold-averse dogs may start to feel uncomfortable. When temperatures drop below 32°F, small breed dogs, thin-coated dogs, puppies, seniors, and sick dogs could be at risk if they stay outside too long. Once temperatures fall below 20°F, all dogs are at risk of hypothermia or frostbite during extended outdoor exposure.

Most dogs still need to go outside to relieve themselves, even in cold weather. Usually, they'll take care of business quickly and want to return indoors. If snow is deep, shovel an area close to your door for your dog to use.

Supervision is Key:Always supervise your dog in extreme conditions. Watch for signs of discomfort like shivering, anxiety, whining, slowing down, seeking warm spots, or lifting paws. If you see these signs, bring your dog inside to warm up. Contact your vet if you notice signs of frostbite or hypothermia, such as sluggishness, confusion, severe shivering (which may stop as hypothermia progresses), or pale, cool body parts.

By considering these factors and taking appropriate measures, you can ensure your dog stays safe and comfortable during the winter months. For more tips and products to keep your dog warm, visit

How cold is to cold for a day chart showing how cold is to cold
How cold is to cold for a day chart showing how cold is to cold


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