A dog covered in a blanket during dog training

How Cold Is Too Cold For Your Dog?

Mental stimulation and lots of exercise is the key to keeping your dog happy and healthy, but depending on where you live, the weather might not be the best for your furry friend to play in. At some point, do the risks outweigh all of the benefits of playing outdoors in the cold for your dog? Here’s all you need to know about facing the winter cold with your dog:

Guidelines for cold temperatures

Most dogs are generally okay with colder temperatures until they go below 45° F, where some might begin to feel uncomfortable. Owners of dogs with thinner coats, very old or young dogs, sick dogs, or small breed dogs, in general, should pay closer attention to their pet and its well-being once temperatures fall to 32° F. At 20° F, you need to be aware that your dog is at the risk of developing cold-associated health issues such as frostbite or hypothermia.

Keep an eye on your dog’s behavior, and make sure to head back indoors if it’s shivering, whining, acting anxious, or slowing down.

Every dog is different

Dogs aren’t created equal—An outdoor chill that might leave one dog whining for shelter might make another feel downright balmy. Some variables that can affect a dog’s response to the cold include:

Coat type

Dogs that have double-layered, thick coats are incredibly tolerant to the cold, such as Samoyeds and Siberian Huskies. These breeds are usually developed in the North and its frigid climate and may have different behavioral, physiological, or anatomical attributes that help them thrive in the extreme cold.

Dogs such as Xoloitzcuintli and Greyhounds have an exceptionally thin coat and tend to suffer in cold weather the most.

Coat color

On clear days, brown, black, or any other dark-colored dogs absorb a lot of heat from the sunlight. This keeps them significantly warmer compared to their light-coated companions.

Age and health

The sick, very old, and very young don’t have much control over the regulation of their body temperature compared to healthy dogs who are in their prime. This means that they often need more protection in low temperatures compared to others.

A dog covered in snow

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