Most dogs love spending time outside, but what about during colder times of the year? Can your dog play outside for a few hours or not? Whether it is safe for your dog to go outside depends on many factors and isn’t black and white.
Temperature is one of the critical indicators of dog safety. Most dogs will not have any issue being outside in temperatures over 45°F. As the temperatures drop below this threshold, your dog may be more affected. Owners of short-coated, senior, or ill dogs should observe their dogs if the temperatures are below 32°F. Hypothermia and frostbite can develop in temperatures below 20°F, and you shouldn’t leave your dog outside unattended in these temperatures.
Any dampness can give your dog a chill, even when the temperatures are temperate. This could include humidity, rain, snow, or getting their coat wet.
A strong wind decreases the ambient temperature. It also blows the dog’s coat and reduces the ability to insulate and protect against the cold.
Each dog and breed will be affected by the cold differently. Here are some variables that can affect how your dog feels in the cold.
Senior dogs and puppies cannot generate or retain body heat. They also have weaker immune systems. Both may need a coat or jacket to stay warm in temperatures below 45°F. Do not leave senior dogs or puppies outside unattended.
Smaller dogs and underweight will lose body heat faster than larger dogs. Body fat is an excellent natural insulator, so skinny dogs cannot retain body heat. Part of this is weight, but another part is because their bodies are lower into the snow and closer to the cold.
Certain breeds have double coats designed for better insulation, including Newfoundlands, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Huskies, and Labrador Retrievers. Dogs with short, thin coats, such as Greyhounds, Weimaraners, or Pit Bulls, don’t have the same protection.
Here are a few signs your dog might be cold: