When Is It Too Cold To Walk Your Dog

Before we dive into when it’s too cold to walk your dog, it’s important to understand how cold weather can affect your furry friend. Just like humans, dogs can suffer from frostbite and hypothermia if they’re exposed to cold temperatures for too long.

Frostbite occurs when the tissue in a dog’s extremities, such as their ears, tail, and paws, freeze and become damaged. Hypothermia, on the other hand, occurs when a dog’s body temperature drops below normal, which can lead to a number of serious health problems.

In addition to these risks, cold weather can also exacerbate existing health issues in dogs. For example, dogs with arthritis may experience increased pain and stiffness in cold weather.


One of the biggest factors that determines how well a dog can handle cold weather is their breed. Dogs with thick, double coats, such as huskies and samoyeds, are well-suited to cold temperatures and can often tolerate longer walks in cold weather. On the other hand, dogs with thin coats, such as greyhounds and chihuahuas, are more susceptible to the cold and may need to be limited to shorter walks in cold weather.


Another factor to consider is your dog’s age. Puppies and senior dogs are more vulnerable to the cold, as they have a harder time regulating their body temperature. If you have a puppy or a senior dog, it’s important to limit their exposure to cold temperatures and keep a close eye on them for signs of discomfort.

Overall Health

A dog’s overall health can also play a role in how well they tolerate cold weather. Dogs with health issues such as arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease may have a harder time in cold weather, as their bodies may have a harder time regulating their temperature. If your dog has a health condition, it’s important to talk to your vet about how to keep them safe in cold weather.

Signs That It’s Too Cold for Your Dog

Now that we’ve explored some of the factors that determine how well a dog can handle cold weather, let’s talk about the signs that it’s too cold for your dog to be outside.

Visible Discomfort

One of the most obvious signs that it’s too cold for your dog is if they show visible signs of discomfort. This could include shivering, trembling, or hunching their back. If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to bring your dog inside.

Reluctance to Move

Another sign that it’s too cold for your dog is if they’re reluctant to move or walk. If your dog is normally energetic and playful, but suddenly becomes lethargic and uninterested in playing, it could be a sign that they’re too cold.

Whining or Barking

Dogs may also whine or bark if they’re cold. If your dog starts to make these noises while you’re outside, it’s a good idea to bring them inside and warm them up.

How to Keep Your Dog Safe in Cold Weather

Now that we’ve talked about the signs that it’s too cold for your dog, let’s discuss some steps you can take to keep your dog safe in cold weather.

Limit Exposure to Cold Temperatures

One of the best ways to keep your dog safe in cold weather is to limit their exposure to cold temperatures. This could mean shortening your walks or only taking your dog outside for brief bathroom breaks.

Dress Your Dog Appropriately

Another way to keep your dog warm in cold weather is to dress them appropriately. This could include a dog coat or sweater, as well as booties to protect their paws from the cold ground.

Wipe Your Dog’s Paws

It’s also important to wipe your dog’s paws after they’ve been outside in cold weather. This will help remove any ice, salt, or chemicals that they may have picked up while walking.

Provide a Warm Place to Sleep

Finally, make sure your dog has a warm place to sleep. This could be a dog bed with a warm blanket or a heated dog bed.

Looking to keep your furry friend safe and comfortable during the winter months? Check out our articles on why dogs shed in winter, keeping dogs warm in winter, protecting dog paws in winter, keeping a dog house warm in winter, and exercising dogs in winter for helpful tips and advice!


Walking your dog in cold weather can be a enjoyable experience, but it’s important to make sure your furry friend is safe and comfortable. By considering your dog’s breed, age, and overall health, and by looking out for signs of discomfort, you can help ensure that your dog stays warm and happy in cold weather. Remember to limit their exposure to cold temperatures, dress them appropriately, wipe their paws, and provide a warm place for them to sleep. With these precautions, you and your dog can enjoy the benefits of a winter walk while staying safe and comfortable.

Britta Thygesen

Britta Thygesen

A passionate dog owner and a full-time certified dog trainer. Aspires to make DogCareHacks a go-to place for all the doggo info. Shares personal experience and professional knowledge.

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