Dogs in winter: when is it too cold for the four-legged friends??

The autumn was rough – but now it’s here, the winter. Finally time to unpack the warm clothes. But what does the cold weather actually mean for our four-legged friends?? When does it become too cold for dogs? The answer is here.

Leonie Griffin

A dog stands in the forest in winter

Photo: Hochgesang (symbol photo)

First of all: There is hardly a generally valid answer to this question. Temperatures, at which some dogs still feel pudelwohl, find other dogs already cold.

Take huskies or Bernese mountain dogs, for example: These breeds are used to an extremely cold environment in the Arctic Circle or on snowy mountain peaks. In addition to the dog breed, there are other factors that influence the cold sensation of the four-legged friends. Which are, we explain to you here:

How thick or thin is the coat of your dog??

Some dog breeds have a particularly thick coat and thick undercoat. These tend to handle cold temperatures well. Breeds like huskies or Newfoundlands, which have such a thick coat, were mostly bred in northern climates. Apart from the fur they can possess therefore also different characteristics in physique or behavior, whereby the dogs feel well also if it is already too cold to their kind comrades.

Husky in the snow

Often dogs with thick fur, living in northern climes, are used to cold temperatures. They cope better than dogs that live in warmer areas or mainly indoors.
Dog breeds such as Greyhounds, which have a particularly thin coat and little or no undercoat, freeze faster, explains the animal welfare association "Look".

Dark fur absorbs more sunlight

When there are no clouds blocking the winter sun, the fur of black, brown or other dark dogs absorbs more sunlight than the light fur of their peers. You probably know this effect yourself: Your legs feel warmer when you sit in the sun with a dark instead of a light pants.

Small and thin dogs freeze faster in winter

The more surface a dog has, the faster it loses heat. This is felt especially by small dogs because they have a greater surface to volume ratio. For this reason, small dogs cope less well with cold than large ones.

In addition, body fat insulates well. Thicker dogs are kept by their fat layer thus also at cold temperatures cozy warmly. Thinner dogs, on the other hand, usually freeze faster. That is nevertheless no reason to feed your quadruped winter fat – overweight can have for dogs namely health disadvantages.

Older dogs are cold faster

If your dog is very young, old or sick, he can probably regulate his body temperature less well than adult or healthy quadrupeds. That’s why you should take good care of him when it’s cold.

Then dogs get cold – the rule of thumb

If you’re looking for a general guide to temperature ratings at which most dogs freeze, here’s a rule of thumb. "According to The Natural Pet Doctor, temperatures above seven degrees Celsius not too cold for most dogs. It becomes more uncomfortable for many quadrupeds with colder temperatures.

As soon as these under the Freezing point fall, you shouldn’t let small, young, old or sick dogs, as well as breeds with very thin coats, outside for too long. And at temperatures of minus six degrees and below, most dogs are at risk of health problems like hypothermia or frostbite.

Other external circumstances

Besides the number of degrees on the thermometer, other factors also influence whether your dog will freeze. Among them wind, humidity, activity and whether it is cloudy or not. For example, keeping your dog outside exercising in the winter can help. This is how he generates body heat and stays warm even when the outside temperature is low. Against wind you can protect sensitive dogs with a dog coat.

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