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What Temperature Is Too Cold for Dogs? Tips to Keep Your Pup Safe

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Author: Tilly Walker

As we prepare for winter by buying extra sweaters and woollen clothes, it’s also important to think about how much cold weather will affect our dog. No matter what the weather is, dogs love to go out for a walk or a play session. However, during winter it can get risky for a few dogs if the temperature is below a certain point.

Through this article, we will discuss certain factors that determine how well a dog can tolerate a cold climate, steps that can be taken to ensure that your dog feels warm during harsh conditions, and conclude with what temperature is too cold for dogs.

Factors Affecting Cold Tolerance in Dogs

Cold tolerance varies from dog to dog, which is also true for humans. Some of the tolerance factors according to petmd include:

Dog playing in snow
dezy – Shutter Stock

1. Size

In comparison to large dogs, little dogs have a higher surface area to volume ratio, which, in a relative sense, indicates that they have a larger surface to lose heat via and a smaller space “within” to retain heat. As a result, given all other factors being equal, tiny dogs become colder more quickly than large canines.

2. Coat Weight

A dog’s coat thickness also plays an important factor to provide heat. Dogs with thin coats may not be able to produce much heat under cold circumstances.

3. Age

Much older dogs with underlying health issues may not be able to regulate their body when compared to younger and healthier dogs.

4. Coat Color

Dark-coated dogs will be able to absorb more heat than dogs with light colour coats, thus they will be able to keep themselves warmer under cold surroundings.

How Cold Is Too Cold?

Some dogs can thrive in cold weather and may even prefer it, while others may get cold very easily and cannot withstand it for long periods of time.

A dog’s ability to tolerate the cold depends on various factors, including their breed, size, age, coat type, health, and activity level, as well as whether they are primarily an indoor or outdoor dog.

However, as a general rule of thumb, veterinarians and dog owners tend to follow specific guidelines to determine what temperature is too cold for dogs to be outside:

  • At 45°F (7°C) – dogs will start to feel the chills and may need some layer of clothing
  • At 32°F (0°C) – older dogs and young puppies may not be allowed to go outside the house as the climate is now very harsh
  • At 20°F (-7°C) – dogs are now very vulnerable to hypothermia

As we know, humans sweat to regulate body temperature. But do dogs sweat in the same way? To know more check our guide on, “can dogs sweat?”.

Signs That Your Dog Is Feeling Cold

Dog feeling cold

There are multiple signs that you need to keep an eye out for. Some and most obvious signs that your dog is feeling cold are:

  • Shivering
  • Holding up a paw
  • Walking very slowly
  • Hiding behind beds and sofas
  • Whining
  • Anxious

Hypothermia in Dogs

If a dog is exposed to temperatures below 0°C for an extended period, it can be susceptible to hypothermia, a potentially life-threatening condition. Knowing what temperature is too cold for dogs is essential to keep your furry friend safe.

Symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, dilated pupils, pale skin, low heart and breathing rates, and overall body weakness.

If you suspect your dog has hypothermia, it’s best to provide a blanket and create warm surroundings around your dog and seek immediate veterinary care.

How to Keep Your Dog Warm in Cold?

When it comes to keeping dogs warm in winter, there are a few measures that need to be taken to ensure your dog stays comfortable when temperatures drop.

Following are a few measures that need to be taken to ensure that your dog feels warm in cold:

  • If your dog is sensitive to cold, keep him indoors for more time
  • Restrict the time your dog spends outdoors
  • Regular exercise will keep your dog warm
  • Make your dog wear warm woollen clothes


Do dogs feel cold at night?

Yes, dogs can get cold at night if temperatures drop below their tolerance level. Dog owners should always provide warm and comfy beds and bed sheets to dogs, especially at night to avoid any complications

How do I know if it’s too cold for my dog?

If your dog starts to feel chills during winter, it may exhibit the following symptoms – Shaking, Whining, feeling anxious and uncomfortable, hiding behind warm items of furniture, and reduced activity.

Do dogs cry if they feel cold?

Dogs start to whine, bark and cry when they start feeling really cold. Dogs do this to inform you that they are feeling cold and seek warmth.

Which dog breeds are sensitive to cold?

Great Dane


I hope through this article, “What temperature is too cold for dogs?” has been answered. It is recommended to avoid letting your dog out in cold for longer periods of time, as they can be vulnerable to hypothermia. Depending on your dog’s cold tolerance you should set timings for the number of hours allowed outdoors. It is also best to create warm surroundings where your dog usually sleeps to avoid cold, for example – Wollen clothes, and a warm bed.


  1. How Cold is Too Cold: Keep Pets Safe In Winter Weather. (2022, March 11). VMBS News. Retrieved January 20, 2023, from
  2. Shmerling, R. H., MD. (2018, January 26). 10 things you can do for your pet when it’s cold outside. Harvard Health. Retrieved January 20, 2023, from
  3. Newby, J. (2022, January 25). How Cold is too Cold for your Pet? A Healthier Michigan. Retrieved January 20, 2023, from

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Tilly Walker
Tilly Walker is an avid animal lover and dog owner for several years. She owns a mix breed Cockapoo named Rio. She, along with her group of friends who wanted to help others learn more about the proper ways to take care of their pets, founded this website.

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