How Cold is Too Cold to Walk a Dog?
The answer to this is partially going to depend on your dog’s own ability to stay warm as well as the severity of the winter weather. If you own a Husky or a dog breed that has a very thick coat, you will find that they are going to be much happier playing outside in the snow or the rain in winter than a dog that has a thin coat.
Time of day matters as well, and night walks during winter will always be colder than daytime ones.
The temperature at night could drop relatively low when compared to walking during the day. Your pet might love the snow, but walking later in the day could lead to an unsafe or dangerous health situation for your dog. Always try to keep cold-weather walks to the earlier parts of the day to keep your pet safe when they are out in the snow.
Greyhounds and other thin-coated dogs are not likely to stay warm when it is very cold outside, especially if they are not active. Some dog breeds could get hypothermia quickly when exposed to colder temperatures or a drop in temperatures due to wind chill. Smaller dogs might think it is fun to be outside until they start to get frostbite.
You should also consider that the pads of your dog’s feet are hard to protect from winter weather, and they lose a lot of their body heat through their feet since they cannot regulate their temperature any other way with ease. You do not want your pet to get frostbite on the tips of their ears or the pads of their feet.
How do I Protect my Dog From the Cold Weather?
Even armed with the right gear to keep your dog warm, some weather situations should be avoided, no matter how much your dog loves to go for a walk. Small dogs are affected by the cold differently than large dogs. What is too cold for your dog might be fine for other dogs.
It is a good rule of thumb to stay indoors as much as possible with your dog if it is below 20 degrees Fahrenheit out. You can let them out to go to the bathroom, but you should bring them back in once they are done. The wind chill can make it unsafe for your dog to be outside for too long. This is particularly true for small dogs.
Once temperatures are well below freezing and the windchill is causing additional cold, extended time out of doors can harm your dog’s lungs as well as injuring the sensitive pads of their feet. Some breeds of dogs will be more comfortable at these temperatures, but you should still make sure not to allow them to get too cold or breathe in cold air for too long.