How cold is too cold for dogs?

If you’re on social media for any length of time in the winter you will see a variety of posts about “bring your pets inside” and yes, you probably should bring your pets inside. But, what happens if your pet doesn’t want to come inside?

Exhibit A:


Sneaux very excited to see his namesake on the ground!


Meet Sneaux; he is a fluffy, fuzzy and always shedding dog. As we entered the bomb cyclone that brought the cold weather into the southeast, Sneaux became a very happy dog. Pippin and Lu Dog are not made for the cold like Sneaux but, they are well covered in hair. If your curious, we vacuum about every other day.

Now, don’t get me wrong, every doggo is different. Our neighbors little Jack Russell terrier was not even planning to leave the house the entire week of the frigid cold. So what does this mean for us dog parents? How does the cold affect our fur children and how do we help them?

Our friends at PetMD indicated that at 45°F most dogs are tolerant unless they are extremely cold adverse. In this case, your whippet or greyhound type breeds may be happier if you put one of those cute sweaters on them before they went outside. After 32°F it’s safe to say that if your pet isn’t built for cold weather (i.e. huskies, malamutes and other dual haired breeds) they are probably uncomfortable. What happened last week was the danger zone; temperatures under 20°F and all dogs could potentially become susceptible to frostbite and hyperthermia.

So as the temperatures crept below 20°F, Sneaux kept creeping outside too! So as responsible pet owners we did allow him to stay outside for about 10-20 minutes, after that, we would have to bring him in. Now, bringing him in could be an undertaking. Try telling an 11-year-old, stubborn and sly dog that he needs to come inside! But as you can see, Sneaux was made for that cold type of weather BUT, that didn’t mean he needed to be out for extended periods of time.


How cold is too cold
Our friends at Petplan created a neat graphic that can help you determine the proper levels of cold for your individual dogs.

A few other things to think of other than the temperature:


  1. Salt and deicing chemicals on the roads: If you and Fido are going for a walk you may want to consider using booties in the winter. This will protect your pup from the ice and the chemicals that could get on their feet during their exercise. Also, if they’ve never worn them before make sure you get on video those first few steps. It’s pretty priceless.
  2. Water, water, and more water: When we are cold we don’t think of water the same way we do in the hot summers. Don’t forget your pup needs just as much water as they do all year around. In fact, using warm water after a jaunt outside may entice Fido to drink more too!
  3. Dry skin: The winter is always more and dry and it can cause the skin to get dry too! Some things you can do to help Fido keep their skin looking great during the cold months is to limit baths, give a supplement like fish oil and use petroleum jelly on paws and noses if they are cracking.

The first part of the winter freeze has come and gone but we know more is on the way! Keep in mind these winter tips for the next few months and if you’re already thinking about summer you can check out our dog days of summer tips too!


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