How Cold Is Too Cold? (Dogs)


For those wanting a reminder about keeping your pets safe during the festive season, with all the seasonal treats and decor, you can find last year’s December website post here.

Due to the businesses of this month, especially having recently moved into our own place, and having two large breed, young dogs (teenagers essentially), this post will be short and sweet.

In the summer, there is plenty going round social media to warn us of the dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars, our pets without water or outside in the sun for too long. I’ve noticed there’s not as much that goes around when the weather is cold – I guess we’re all a little more agreeable to staying indoors when it’s cold outside as opposed to when it’s nice out!

However, just as it can be too hot to safely walk your dog or have them outside for too long, it can also be too cold to safely walk your dog or have them outside.

There seems to be a bit of a debate about the exact temperatures, but from what I’ve gathered the general consensus is that small-medium sized dog breeds shouldn’t be out for too long when it’s below -4°C (24.8°F) and larger breeds shouldn’t be out for too long when it’s below -6°C (21.2°F).

Remember, it’s not just the low temperatures that can be dangerous for your dog – snow and ice pose their own problems. Ensure your dog is sufficiently warm and protected from the elements, given their size, age and breed. Make sure to take it slow in icy conditions and take extra measures to make walkies safe!

Barney (my previous doggo) in his warm coat in the snow – 2009

Brina and Rollo were walked separately when I was on my own (I usually walk them together) when we had ice and snow last week due to me being able to be more in control and aware of our surroundings. Both got more treats than usual on walkies to ensure they walked well and close to me, and didn’t get distracted and pull me over (mind you, I went over twice of my own accord)!

Taking dogs out later in the morning and earlier in the evening may be easier as the temperature may be warmer and it will be lighter. Walking in the dark poses its own challenges – add low temperatures or ice and snow into the mix and it can be daunting for some people.

If you can’t get your dog out as much as you’d like, make sure you’ve got plenty of indoor activities to keep them occupied – but do be sure to let your dog out for regular toilet breaks!

With the weather outside being cold, it can often be cold inside too (especially with the cost of heating at the moment); be sure to give your pet a warm space to get cosy in, whilst indoors, so you can keep warm together.

Barney cosy in his fleecy bed – 2017

The Dogs Trust also have some tips for keeping your pets safe and warm in cold weather, if you want to check them out.

Finally, I wish you all a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year for 2023! Thank you to everyone who reads my posts – I hope you’ve enjoyed them this year!