How Cold Is Too Cold for Dogs | Travel With Doggie

How Cold Is Too Cold For Dogs

I have always wondered how cold is too cold for a dog. I have seen dogs out in the snow and having tons of fun when it was really freezing on those afternoons. Yet, they do not have any sort of winter clothing to protect them against the cold. They were just bare naked. Do they even need protection?

Turns out it depends. A major factor that determines the how resistant to cold a dog is is its size. Above 45 degrees Fahrenheit is still manageable for the general population of dogs. Between 20 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit, various factors start coming into play and have a substantial impact on the danger level. Anything below 25 degrees will be too cold for your dogs, especially for small sized ones.

Small Dog

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Small size dogs are the most vulnerable against the cold. These dogs have smaller bodies which do not generate a lot of heat as compared to their larger counterparts. These dogs also tend to have relatively shorter fur that reduces the insulation capabilities of their coats. Hence, they tend to suffer from cold very easily.

Between 50°F to 60°F

This temperature range is comfortable for your dogs and pose no threats whatsoever. Your dog can go ahead and have fun, and so can you. It should be the least of your worry to have to watch out for your dog for any symptoms of cold.

However, if wet weather is present, like after a downpour or snow, you should pay some attention to your dogs. Wet weather can reduce the perceived temperature greatly and is often much lower than what the weather forecast might report.

Between 20°F to 45°F

This temperature range require some precautions. You should definitely pay more attention when the temperature falls within this range. In the lower spectrum, do consider getting some winter clothing for your dog. There are also [many ways to keep your dog warm during winter that you can consider.

If wet weather is present, do not let your dog outdoors at all. The increased moisture in the air can conduct heat away from their small bodies rapidly and pose a significant threat subtly

Less Than 20°F

At this temperature, it is just too dangerous for your small dogs to be outdoors. Keep them indoors in the warmth of your house.

Medium Dog

Medium dog have a larger body size than smaller dogs, which will generate more heat than the small dogs and keep themselves warmer. In this size range, the dog’s biological features play a more significant role in determining how vulnerable the dogs are in cold weather. If they are mountain breeds or have heavy coats of fur, they can become much more resistant to the cold during winter.

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However, hairless dogs, like the Xoloitzcuintli, will not fare any better than small dogs even though they are bigger in size. These dogs thrive in the hot climates and they have biologically evolved to survive in the cold. Without hair on their body, it makes them the perfect dogs to live in the deserts. But in cold weather, they will suffer as they have no layer of defense against the cold at all due to the lack of hair.

Therefore, this factor on dog size, although it greatly influences the ability of a dog to survive in the cold, is also dependent, to a certain extent, on the dog breed and its biological features. The figures here should thus be taken as only a rough guide.

Between 50°F to 60°F

This temperature range is considered the safe zone. You and your dog can have fun. This is especially so if your dogs have a thick coat of fur.

Between 20°F to 45°F

Watch out in this temperature range. If wet weather is present, no amount of fur is going to do your dog any good as the moisture in the air easily overturn any advantage their coat may offer. It may make things worse because the moisture will be trapped in the coat and not go anywhere, making your dogs feel colder than it actually is.

If your dogs have a thick coat of fur, you can worry less.

Less Than 20°F

Same thing at this temperature. Do keep your dogs indoors as much as you can. It may be ok to let them have some fun in the snow in your backyard for a short amount of time, but anything beyond that might pose dangers to your dog.

Large Dog

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These dogs have a larger body which generates great amount of heat, which is the reason they are more able to survive in the cold. If you head to colder regions, like Canada or the Patagonia in South America, you will observe that stray dogs in those places tend to be larger in size, as compared to those in the countries near the equator like Mexico and Colombia.

Between 35°F to 60°F

There will be no problem for your large dog for a wider temperature range in the upper spectrum. Their sheer size makes them better able to combat the cold.

Between 10°F to 35°F

Many of the cold weather dog breeds like the mountain breeds with thick coats are large dogs in general. If your dog happen to be one of them, they are going to be able to thrive even  in the lower spectrum without much problem.

However, it makes no difference that wet weather will affect their survivability at this temperature range. Take more precautions should that be the case.

Between 50°F to 60°F

Large dogs should not have too much of a problem at these temperatures. Although that is the case, It is still advisable to use caution. It will definitely be helpful if your dog has a thick coat of fur and is acclimatized to the cold.

Final Thoughts

These conclusions are drawn from Dr. Kim Smyth, a staff veterinarian at Petplan Pet Insurance. She has made a guide on the different temperature range that dogs of different sizes can properly survive in as shown below.

how cold is too cold?

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