Pet Dog World contains affiliate links. If you click one of these links I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you, thank you! Please see my Disclosure Policy for further information.

As temperatures begin to plummet, dog owners often wonder, ‘At what temperature is it too cold to take my dog for a walk?’ This is an important question as we want to make sure our pets are safe and comfortable during their winter walks.

Deciphering Your Dog’s Cold Tolerance

The exact temperature that is considered too cold for a dog walk can vary greatly depending on your dog’s breed, size, age, and health. Smaller breeds or dogs with short coats may start to feel the chill at temperatures below 7 degrees Celsius.

Extra caution should be taken when temperatures drop below -6 degrees Celsius. A good rule of thumb suggested by vets is that if it’s too cold for you to stay outside comfortably, it’s probably too cold for your dog as well.

Recognising Hypothermia in Dogs

If dogs become too cold, they may exhibit signs of hypothermia. These signs include shivering, lethargy, and a decrease in body temperature. If not addressed, hypothermia can lead to serious complications such as heart problems and kidney failure, and in severe cases, it can even be life-threatening.

Here are some signs that your dog might be cold during a walk:

  • Shivering or Trembling
  • Slow Movements or Stopping
  • Whining or Anxiety
  • Seeking Shelter
  • Cold Ears and Body

Dog Walking Temperature Guide

Different dogs may have different tolerances to cold based on factors like coat type, breed, age, and overall health. Here’s a basic guide to dog walking temperatures to help you decide when it’s safe to take your dog out:

Temp (°C) Small Dog* Medium/Large Dog Risk
Above 7 Comfortable Comfortable Low
0 – 7 Potential Discomfort Comfortable Moderate for Small Dogs
-6 – 0 High Risk Potential Discomfort High for Small Dogs, Moderate for Large Dogs
Below -6 Extreme Risk High Risk Extreme Risk for All Dogs

*Small dogs are generally considered under 7 kilograms, while medium/large dogs are over 7 kilograms.

Tips for Cold Weather Dog Walks

If you decide to walk your dog when it’s cold outside, there are several measures you can take to ensure they stay warm and safe. Try to walk during the warmest part of the day, typically between 10 am and 2 pm.

Low temperatures can be uncomfortable and potentially unsafe for some dog breeds, so consider using a well-fitted coat to keep them warm. The temperature at which a coat is needed will vary from dog to dog. Smaller dogs, dogs with short hair, and puppies will get colder more quickly than bigger dogs and long-haired breeds.

I’d advise against taking any dog out when temperatures are very low, even with a coat. If your dog is uncomfortable wearing a coat, don’t force them. Always pay attention to your dog’s behaviour. If they’re refusing to walk, shivering, standing in a hunched position or whining, then it’s time to head home.

Remember, your pet’s safety and comfort should always be your top priority. Always keep an eye on your dog for signs of cold stress and consult with your vet if you have any concerns.

Find out when it's too cold for your dog's winter walk! Learn signs of hypothermia, get tips for safe outings, and discover recommended dog jackets.
Share with your friends!