What temperature is too cold for dogs?

How long can dogs be in cold weather?


Dog outside cold

Winter is here and the temperatures are dropping more and more. We go below 0 degrees and you wonder about being able to let your dog spend his days and nights outside. Do you see neighborhood dogs outside whether it’s raining, snowing, or windy and it shocks you? Are you wondering about respect for animals? We try to answer all your questions.

What temperature is too cold for dogs?
What temperature is too cold for dogs?

Apply common sense first and foremost

From 5 degrees Celsius, it is necessary to pay particular attention to your dog. Your dog is likely to get sick from the cold and dampness. Several factors must be taken into account:

1- Outdoor life will depend on your dog’s breed and age 

First of all, each breed is not genetically equal when it comes to the cold. A dog with long hair and thick fur like Huskies, Saint Bernards, Pyrenean Shepherds… resists the cold better than a Dalmatian or a greyhound with short hair and a slim build, for example.

A large dog will also be more resistant than a small dog like a Bichon or a Chihuahua! However, this factor alone is not enough to guarantee that your dog is not in danger in extreme cold. For example, with age, your dog, even accustomed to the outdoors, will become more fragile. It will therefore be necessary to readapt to its needs by letting it return in very cold weather.

2- Gradually get your dog used to living outside

Beyond its breed or its size, the dog must have been accustomed to living outside. You cannot adopt a dog that has always been indoors and propel it outdoors overnight. Nor change his habits for personal convenience without worrying about past habits.

To leave your dog outside in winter, it must have spent spring and summer outside. Thus his coat will be quite thick at the approach of winter.

3- Watch your dog’s attitude

Pay attention to your dog’s attitude! If he remains prostrate, asks to come in, shivers, he is not well outside. Don’t wait for him to get sick. Shelter it at least in the garage (with a suitable layer to insulate it from the cold) where it will be protected from wind, humidity, bad weather, and excessive temperature variations.

4- Be sure to offer him a habitat adapted to the outside temperatures!

Even if your dog is used to living outside, it is imperative to make him a shelter! Choose a doghouse appropriate to its size. That is to say big enough for him to turn inside out and not too big to be able to maintain a certain temperature by the release of his body heat. It is important that it can be protected from wind and rain! Put the doghouse as sheltered as possible and in the south and add blankets when the temperatures drop. Finally, remember to choose a niche with feet so that it is isolated from the ground. Do not hesitate to take advice from a pet store to choose the most suitable doghouse for your dog.

5- Offer him a richer diet to resist the cold

Like humans, the dog will have to see its caloric intake increased to cope with the cold. So if he lives outside increase his rations by 10 to 20%! Also, remember to check with your veterinarian on the health and physical and physiological condition of your dog before letting him spend the winter outside.

When the temperatures are negative, avoid taking risks! Open the garage to him temporarily, at least for the coldest nights and periods, to avoid the risk of hypothermia.


Is leaving your dog outside all winter abuse?

If you have respected ALL the points mentioned above, it is because you are concerned about your animal. However, it is important to remember other criteria to take into account beyond the health of your dog! As we said the attitude of your dog is to be taken into consideration. If the latter seems unhappy outside, it should not be left constantly regardless of the temperatures.

Your dog’s basic needs 

Even if he lives outside, your dog needs attention, regular walks, and contact with his peers!

To find out more, read also:  Walking your dog: an essential ritual for its balance

A dog lives for his master and can’t stand loneliness! So yes! Not giving your dog time is a form of abuse. You would not leave your child 8 hours a day in front of the TV without giving him a moment and well it’s the same with his dog. It is therefore important to let your dog go home so that he can have human company and have his place in the home.

Can you leave your dog permanently attached?

The answer is no! Leaving your dog tied outside is also a form of abuse and above all, it is very dangerous! Many dogs have been found hanging or strangled to their leashes or chains. You are depriving your dog of his freedom and putting him in danger. If he is a runaway and he manages to escape despite the fences, opt for an electric wire with a collar that you set to low intensity. The dog will approach the fence, receive a shock and then not even try again. This method does not necessarily please all masters, but it is preferable to leaving your dog attached! At least he will be able to run and move around the garden. 

Your dog is not sterilized? Know that this operation also avoids the worries of running away!

The position of animal protection associations

If you adopt a dog from an animal protection association, it is common for it to specify in the adoption contract that you agree not to let the dog live outside and that it will have a shelter in your house. the night.

For all the reasons explained above, the associations which have saved a dog from the street, from abandonment or abuse, will take all the necessary precautions so that it finds a new loving home and that its life is not in jeopardy. hazard.

Dogs waiting for a family


Do you see a dog outside all the time that seems prostrate and in danger? Don’t look away! Before talking about abuse, several things need to be checked:

See if he has access to a niche or shelter that protects him from the rain, wind, and cold.

Access to a bowl of water and food 

Check the attitude of the dog (dog shivering, prostrate, moaning,…)

If it is attached, check that the length of the chain allows it to properly access these bowls and its shelter

If the dog seems hypothermic or in imminent danger to you, do not waste time. Try to get in touch with the owner without aggressiveness. You can also notify animal protection associations and the gendarmerie to make a report.


What do you think?

Written by Amma

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