Are you uncertain about your dog’s tolerance to cold weather conditions? Do you want to enjoy winter sports with your furry friend but aren’t aware of the potential risks? Is your dog’s breed well-equipped to go out in chilly temperatures?

Scroll down and find answers to all your questions.

Understanding the vitals of dogs in winter

Sensitivity to cold weather varies from dog to dog. Some dogs prefer indoor games with human families, while others are fond of outdoor adventures.

Now, cold months don’t cancel out dogs’ exercise subscriptions. Your furry friend needs to stay active in order to stay healthy, no matter what the weather.

You just need to give special attention (dogs love attention of every kind) and extra care during chilly temperatures.

Here are some things to keep in mind when going out with your dog in cold weather:

Protect their paws

Going on a play date with your chum is cute and all, but in winter, it comes with extra precautions. When going out in freezing temperatures, moisture on your dog’s paws becomes susceptible to ice buildup.

Dog booties are a great choice in this regard. But they might not be the ideal option for every dog. Firstly, it’s very probable that your dog won’t prefer wearing that. Secondly, many dogs feel uncomfortable walking or playing with booties on (you don’t want to be a party pooper, do you?).

Don’t worry, though; there are other ways to protect their paws too. For instance, you can use professional paw wax to prevent ice buildup, as it acts as a protective barrier.

Plus, make sure to trim your furry friend’s nails and overhanging fur from the paw area to prevent any kind of discomfort.

Keep them dry

The moment you come back from your outdoor exercise spree, take a towel and dry your dog right away.

Because if your dog gets drenched in cold rainy, or snowy weather, they can catch a cold. And if the exposure was extended, the canine’s respiratory tract can get inflamed, resulting in mild respiratory infections to more serious conditions like pneumonia.

It’s better to avoid going out on wet days and keep them entertained indoors with fun activities.

Provide adequate shelter

If you intend on staying outdoors for long periods, like hiking or camping with your dog, you need to go fully prepared.

In that case, you can opt for portable, water-resistant, insulated dog houses/shelters, preferably with slopped roofs. Make them cozy, use space heaters, and put their favourite toys in, so they feel warm and comfortable.

Keep them as close to you as you can, as separation anxiety can escalate in dogs during the depressing, cold weather.

Limit exposure time

Wandering outside in freezing cold weather for too long is neither good for your doggo friend nor for yourself. Therefore, it’s better to minimize the dog’s time outdoors.

Nothing is better than spending quality time indoors and enjoying fun games. Keep your dogs busy by getting them engaged with new toys. If you happen to have a long hallway, make the most out of it. Spread hula hoops for obstacle course training, or play hide-and-seek and fetch.

Watch for signs of hypothermia

Hypothermia refers to abnormally low body temperature in dogs due to being exposed to chilly weather for extended periods.

Mild to moderate hypothermia marks the temperature between 99°F to 82°F. In severe hypothermia, the normal temperature drops significantly and reaches less than 82°F.

Hypothermia directly impacts cardiac and respiratory health and induces brain damage, leading to coma and eventual death (if left untreated).

The symptoms of hypothermia in dogs include rapid breathing that progressively turns shallower, listless behavioural patterns, delayed responses to reflexes, pupil dilation, and loss of consciousness.

By limiting outdoor exposure of your doggo friend in harsh weather, you can prevent this.

Keep an eye on their health

The thing about dogs is that they don’t care about the weather or their health (not even yours). They will get up in the blink of an eye to go play. It’s you who will have to keep a check on their health profile.

Stick to indoor activities if you see your dog shivering excessively, observe a hunched posture with a tucked tail, a lack of enthusiasm about going outside, muscle stiffening, or reduced heartbeat. It is highly possible that your dog’s health is compromised by the cold temperature.

Provide your dog warmth and protection against cold, and seek a vet right away if you notice anything unusual related to your dog’s vital signs.

Proper nutrition

Remember, a malnutrition dog won’t be able to accompany you and enjoy winter adventures/sports. Therefore, make sure you’re feeding them well-balanced, nutritionally rich dog food.

Besides, experts suggest feeding a few extra calories to your dog, especially if they are outdoor dogs or spend a significant amount of time outdoors in winter weather. The more calories they burn, the more efficiently their body temperature is maintained.

Pour fresh water, and avoid giving them freezing cold water.

Layer their clothing

Does your dog need a winter coat? If your dog is a short breed, linear-bodied, sits low to the ground, or suffers from a certain health condition, then, yes, layering your dog will be the right thing to do.

You don’t essentially need to turn your dog into a burrito. A dog-skin-friendly jacket that fits nicely, neither too tight nor too loose, will do just fine. Note down your canine’s measurements and order the size accordingly.

Consider the breed

Some dogs are more vulnerable than other dogs when it comes to sensitivity to cold. For instance, breeds like Dobermans, Boxers, or Grey Hounds, with thin fur coats, require extra care in the chilly weather. They aren’t big fans of winter, and would rather play nicely indoors.

Active dog breeds, like German Shepherds, Siberian Huskies, or Bernese Mountain dogs, benefit greatly from their thick coats and love to tag along with their owners for winter adventures.

Check for frostbite

In extremely low temperatures, your dog can develop frost bites. If you see any discoloration (pale, bluish, gray), stiffening, coldness, swelling, or painful blistery appearance on your dog’s paws or another body part; that’s frostbite.

In some cases, they heal naturally, while some require immediate attention.

Be aware of hazards

As a pet parent, you ought to stay vigilant. Make sure your dog doesn’t run away and get lost in unwelcoming chilly surroundings. Also, choose smooth pathways to ensure safe winter walks, as slippery or sloppy surfaces can make them slip and get injured.

Keep them active

Winter weather blues aren’t only confined to humans. Dogs can also be a victim of this terrible state. Getting your dog enough exercise will burn calories and energy; providing warmth and comfort against the harsh cold.

Besides, whatever the weather, keeping your furry friend active is essential for their physical and mental well-being. And if you can’t take your dog outside for a walk, make use of your creative instincts, and think of a source of entertainment inside the house.

There’s another option you can go for; an indoor dog park. Indoor dog parks are basically like playdium for dogs, especially beneficial if you have a small apartment. Not only will your pup stay safe from cold temperatures outside, but will also make new doggo friends.

No matter what way you find suitable, keeping the goofy creatures worked up is a must.

If a dog gets wet and it is minus degrees out

  • Prevent hypothermia and other cold-related health problems
    It is possible that your furry friend gets wet while out in cold weather. What you need to make sure of is to minimize the exposure as much as you can. The longer your dog stays wet, the more dangerous it can be.
  • Dry the dog off immediately
    Your dog got wet during a thrilling winter escapade? Don’t panic. Head straight to your house or the nearest shelter you can find. Dry them off thoroughly using a towel. A hair drier will get it done quickly.
  • Provide warmth
    Once you’re done drying their coat. Wrap your dog up in warm blankets. Turn on the heater. Feed them hot beverages like chicken soup. It will energize them and provide strength and warmth. They will also love it and get better in no time!
  • Monitor their temperature
    Keep checking their temperature constantly. If their temperature goes up after all the efforts to keep them warm, that’ll be great. But if the temperature is still low and doesn’t seem to fluctuate, it might be an indication of something serious.
  • Seek veterinary care if necessary
    If your dog’s health seems adverse and nothing seems to raise the body temperature, consult the vet right away. Because of the possibility of hypothermia, you can’t just wait. If left untreated, it can sadly lead to death.


It’s important to keep your dog moving, irrespective of the breed and weather. During cold months, make the walks shorter and also minimize outdoor exposure. You don’t want your dog to get sick.

Take care of your pet’s paws, feed them a nutritional diet, and keep them warm and cozy!

Hopefully, this article helped. Have a blast with your furry best friend!

More Articles Like This

Swim Guide
is supported by
* The RBC Foundation

Swim Guide shares the best information we have at the moment you ask for it. Always obey signs at the beach or advisories from official government agencies. Stay alert and check for other swimming hazards such as dangerous currents and tides. Please report your pollution concerns so Affiliates can help keep other beach-goers safe.

Swim Guide, "Swim Drink Fish icons," and associated trademarks are owned by SWIM DRINK FISH CANADA.| See Legal.