Do Dogs Get Cold in Winter? 5 Tips for Prepping Your Fur Baby for Cold Weather

on December 16, 2021

Do Dogs Get Cold in Winter

Dogs do not experience cold the same way as each other, but they can definitely get too cold in winter weather. There doesn’t even have to be snow on the ground for your dog to get a chill! 

Fortunately, there are things you can do to keep your fur baby toasty in cold weather.

Here’s how to keep dogs warm in winter.

Cold Weather Guidelines

There’s a big difference between a little chilly for your pet, and dangerously cold weather. So first, a few temperature guidelines before we launch into some cold weather tips:

For most dogs, anything above 45℉ (7.2℃) will not cause a problem. 

When temperatures drop below freezing (32℉ or 0℃) many dogs will start to experience the effects of cold temperatures. 

Below about 20℉ (-6.7℃) all dogs run the risk of experiencing hypothermia, frostbite, or other dangerous effects from the cold

Those are just some general guidelines. In our tips section we will look at some specific points to consider for your dog.

1. Consider Your Dog’s Needs

Your dog’s individual needs may differ. So the first tip in prepping for that cold weather, is to consider the factors which may impact the way your beloved fur ball experiences cold. These factors include:

  • Age: young pups and older dogs are more likely to get cold.
  • Health: dogs with other health conditions might feel cold more easily.
  • Size: smaller breeds have less mass and thus tend to maintain internal body temperature less easily.
  • Weight: a little extra fat is actually a good insulator! But doggy obesity can have a negative health impact which also causes your dog to get cold. 
  • Coat type: some dogs have double coats or longer hair, so they tend to stay a little warmer. 
  • Coat color: darker colors absorb more light from the sun. Believe it or not, that might just be enough to make darker-coated dogs a little warmer.
  • Conditioning: dogs bred for colder climates, or accustomed to colder weather, may have an easier time with the chill. 

Look at the temperature and consider the list above when determining how your dog might experience cold.

2. Check More than Temperature

The temperature on the thermometer isn’t the only thing that impacts how we (and our dogs) experience cold weather. Some colds feel colder than others.

The biggest factor to consider is wind chill. When the wind blows, the cold cuts through our layers (and your dog's fur!) more easily. 

Dampness is another factor which can also make it feel much colder outside. A damp day that is overcast will be even colder. Remember in the section above how a darker coat color absorbs more sunlight, and thus might help keep your pet warmer? That effect is canceled out if the sun is hiding behind the clouds.

So consider the weather overall, not just the temperature, before deciding to bundle up for cold.

3. Dress for the Occasion

Sure, most dogs have a fur coat to help keep them warm, but that’s not the only layer our pets might need. Even a double-coat of fur might not keep out the wind and/or the rain. Fortunately, there are lots of cute ways to dress a dog to protect them from wind, rain and snow. 

Most importantly: help keep your pet dry. If it’s cold and rainy, they may need a rain slicker more than they need a sweater. If there’s snow, they may need paw booties to protect their paws from frostbite. 

Some dogs hate those cute little outfits! Getting your pet to wear clothes is often about acclimating them. Even before they go outside, reward them for wearing a little sweater or booties. 

The cold itself may also be motivating! If your dog hates the rain slicker, but then steps outside and gets wet, they may feel encouraged to bundle up!

How Can You Tell If Your Dog is Cold?

Even if you check the temperature, other weather conditions, your dog’s presumed needs and dress warmly, your dog might be too cold. How can you tell that your pet is cold? 

Most dogs will exhibit signs of a chill, such as shivering. You should also monitor your dog for whining, slowing down, acting anxious, or seeking out warm spaces (including hiding spaces). Any of these behaviors may be a sign that it’s too cold for your pet.

4. Stay Active to Stave Off Chill

You can help your pet warm back up by moving more rapidly. Activity helps produce heat!

When dogs run they produce more body heat, which may help keep them comfortable. If you also have them in some sort of weather-protectant clothing, that little rain slicker pulls double-duty: layers help trap body heat against your dog's body when they’re active.

5. Find Other Forms of Play

Fresh air and exercise are vital to our dog’s health and happiness! Being outside is an important daily activity. 

However, if the risks of being out at a certain time outweigh the benefits, it’s important to find other forms of play for our fur ball. 

At Bad Dog we know CBD and pets go together. Reward your fur ball with CBD gifts during this winter weather.

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