Cold weather during the winter months causes a range of challenges for pet owners. As humans, many of us don’t enjoy spending time outdoors, and too much time in the cold can be dangerous for both us and our little furry friends. Today we’re going to discover the dangers of cold weather for dogs and what you can do to ensure you keep your pet warm and safe during the upcoming winter months.
Do Dogs Feel the Cold?
Just like humans, dogs certainly feel a change in the temperature during the winter. However, the amount that your dog struggles with the cold weather will be dependent on their breed, age, and health. The breed of your dog will impact how much they feel the cold due to the thickness and length of their coat, which is why there isn’t one simple answer to the question of do dogs get cold outside. Short-haired dogs and smaller breeds are much more likely to struggle with the cold weather, as they have less protection to keep them warm when spending time outdoors. On the other hand, breeds that originated in cold-weather climates will find the winter easier to deal with and will likely still want to go for daily walks outdoors.
Both younger and older dogs will also be more sensitive to the cold weather. When you have a puppy or an elderly dog, make sure you encourage them to wear a coat or sweater in the winter when heading outdoors. This can offer them an extra layer of protection and keep them warm when the temperature drops. Finally, if your dog has any medical conditions, such as a heart condition, then you need to be extra careful during this time of the year. You’ll want to make sure you do all you can to regulate their temperature and keep them safe and comfortable during this colder period.
What Outside Temperature is Too Cold for Dogs?
As far as the temperature that you need to be more aware of taking your dog outside in when looking at the question of do dogs feel the cold, we recommend taking extra care if the temperature goes below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. At this point, we notice the cold becomes more of a problem for many breeds of dog, however, some cold-weather breeds will still find this to be a safe outdoor temperature for dogs. A good rule to follow is that when you are wrapped up and still find it cold outside, then likely your dog is struggling with the weather as well. Above 45 degrees Fahrenheit and you’ll find most dogs are okay outside, but the thickness of their coat, their size and age will all impact how they feel.
When the temperature drops as low as 32°F, then you really need to be careful with smaller breed dogs. Those with short and thin coats, young and old dogs, and dogs who are suffering with any health conditions need to receive extra attention in order to avoid further issues or illness. Finally, if the temperature goes below 20°F where you live, then no matter what type of dog you have, you need to take extra care and consider what temperature can dogs stay outside. At this temperature, the chance of frostbite and hypothermic increases significantly, so never leave your dog outside when it gets this cold. Even your dog’s potty breaks need to be quick at this type of temperature, as they can’t risk spending too much time outdoors.
Best Dog Breeds for Cold Weather?
For individuals that live in places with cold temperatures throughout the winter or all year round, you need to think carefully about the dangers of cold weather for dogs. The good news is that there are some cold weather dog breeds, who are much more tolerant of the cold weather. The best dog breeds for cold weather include the Siberian Husky, which is typically the best known dog breed for tolerating the cold weather. The Alaskan Malamute is another good example of dogs and cold weather working well together, as this dog is large and well-equipped to deal with cold temperatures. When discussing the question of do dogs get cold in winter, you’ll also find the American Eskimo Dog, Saint Bernard, Samoyed, and Bernese Mountain Dog all have good tolerance to cold weather and will be happy to spend time outdoors in the winter.
All of the breeds of dog that are equipped to spend time outdoors in the winter usually are large in size and have a thick and dense coat of fur. These dogs usually originated in parts of the world that have cold weather for an extended period of time over the winter. For people who live in places such as Alaska, you need a dog that will be able to still walk outdoors in the winter and live an enjoyable life all year round. That’s why it’s so important to find a breed of dog that’s well-suited to your home country or region and learn what is too cold for a dog when doing your initial research about which breed of dog you should buy or adopt.
While there are many dangers of cold weather for dogs, your dog can still enjoy a good quality of life during the winter months. It’s important not to leave your dog outside in the cold for an extended period of time during the winter, as this can lead to hypothermia or frostbite. Keep walks and potty breaks shorter when the weather drops to a low temperature, so that you reduce the risk of your dog getting too cold or sick. The breed and age of your dog will have a huge impact on how they feel in the winter, so make sure you offer them a coat or sweater if they feel the cold more than before. With a little care and attention, you can ensure your dog stays healthy and safe this winter while still enjoying their usual daily routine.