what temperature is too cold for dogs outside

what temperature is too cold for dogs outside


What Temperature is Too Cold for Dogs Outside

Understanding Your Dog’s Coat

In order to understand what temperature might be too cold for your beloved pet, you first need to understand their coat. Dogs, like humans, are individuals and their tolerance to cold weather can vary based on their coat, age, health, and activity level.

  • Double-coated dogs: Breeds like Huskies and Malamutes have a dense undercoat that provides insulation from both extreme heat and cold. These dogs are typically more comfortable in colder temperatures.
  • Single-coated dogs: Dogs with thin coats or those that are hairless will be more susceptible to the cold. Breeds like Greyhounds or Chihuahuas are examples of dogs that fall into this category.
  • Puppies, elderly dogs, and dogs with health conditions: These dogs may have a harder time regulating their body temperature and therefore, may be more susceptible to the cold.

The General Temperature Guide

While individual tolerances will vary, a general guide is as follows:

Temperature Range (°F) Dog’s Reaction
70 and above Most dogs are okay
60 – 70 Some dogs may feel discomfort
50 – 60 Small, thin-coated dogs may feel cold
Below 20 Most dogs at risk

Things to Monitor in Cold Weather

When your dog is out in cold weather, watch for these signs of hypothermia:

  1. Shivering
  2. Lethargy
  3. Frostbite on ears, tail or paws
  4. Difficulty breathing

If your dog shows any of these symptoms, bring them inside immediately and consult with a vet.

How to Protect Your Dog in Cold Weather

Even in cold weather, your dog needs exercise. Here are some ways to protect them:

  • Limit time outdoors
  • Provide a warm, dry shelter
  • Use dog booties to protect paws
  • Dress them in a doggy sweater
  • Keep them hydrated

When to Consult with a Vet

If you’re unsure whether it’s too cold for your dog to be outside, it’s always best to consult with your vet. They can provide guidance based on your dog’s breed, age, health, and coat type.


Q: What temperature is too cold for puppies?
A: Puppies may struggle in temperatures below 20°F.

Q: Are certain breeds more resistant to cold?
A: Yes, breeds like Huskies and Malamutes tolerate cold better.

Q: How can I tell if my dog is too cold?
A: Watch for signs like shivering, lethargy, or difficulty breathing.

Q: Is it okay for my dog to sleep outside in the cold?
A: No, always provide a warm, dry shelter.