Is It too Cold To Walk With Your Dog?

Med. vet. Fulya Şafak

You’ve looked at the weather and can’t decide if it’s cold to go out with your dog. Don’t worry, you are definitely not alone. First of all, if the weather is cold for you, it may not be that cold for your dog.

However, there are some tips to keep in mind when deciding for your dog’s outdoor activities in cold weather.

Is it too cold to walk with your dog?

In addition to the temperature, it is necessary to make a decision by considering the wind. You should not forget that the effect of the wind will be much more than the low temperature in a still air.

  • Walking a dog in the snow isn’t always a good idea. Especially the snow that has started to melt can be super uncomfortable for dogs. In addition, dogs’ body temperature will drop faster due to humidity. It is necessary to shorten the walking times when it is snowing or in a snowy environment.
  • Large and medium breed dogs are more resistant to cold weather.
  • It is important to keep your puppy or senior dogs warm. Since dogs will have very little resistance to cold in both life stages, they should be taken out for exercise with special precautions during the winter months and the exercise periods should be kept short.
  • Some large breeds are particularly resistant to cold weather. German Shepherd, Akita, St. Bernard breeds are very resistant to cold weather. However, small breeds (for example: Pomeranian, Chihuahua) or short-haired dogs (for example Italian Greyhounds) are less resistant to cold weather. For this reason, you should definitely consider your dog’s breed and size when planning a walk in cold weather. On days when the air temperature is below 0 degrees, it will be a better choice to exercise at home.
  • If your dog has an arthrosis, it can be extra painful for them to walk in cold weather.

How cold is too cold for your dog?

How cold is too cold for my dog?

Precautions You Can Take While Walking With Your Dog in Cold Weather

Walking with your dog in the winter is an activity that must be carefully planned. It is very important to consider some risks and take precautions.

1- You can use dog coats

Taking small breed dogs outside with clothes is a good preventive measure as they have lower cold weather resistance. Water-resistant clothing will be the right choice for cold weather, especially for dogs that are sensitive to cold weather, short-haired or low-fat dogs.

2- Take care of your paws

Both cold and chemical factors can damage your dog’s paw. For this reason, you can choose protective wax creams to protect their paws. You need to cover the paws with these creams before the walk and clean the paws on the way home.

3- Use Leash while Walking with your dog

During the winter months, the walking of the dogs should be more controlled. It is important to be careful, especially as walking a dog in the snow is an activity performed in an environment where unseen dangers may exist for our pawed friends. Make sure to use a leash on walks to ensure that your dog does not enter a snow that you do not know what is inside. Be careful to walk on previously walked sidewalks to reduce risk.

Dog walking in the winter is much safer with a leash. Although using a leash “while walking” the dog outside is a must-do behavior regardless of the season, you can remove the leash in dog parks and gardens, but avoid this in winter.

4- Don’t let your dog to eat snow

Antifreeze is a “very tasty” and toxic chemical for dogs, and it is much more accessible in winter. Therefore, do not allow dogs to eat snow or lick any place in cold weather.

In the snow, not only antifreeze, but also foods and chemicals that you cannot see and may be harmful to your dog may be hidden. For this reason, the use of a leash is much more important in cold weather.

5- Use a Reflector or Flashlight

Cold weather also means times when days get shorter and darker. In order to walk with your dog safely in these weathers, you must make sure that reflective products are on your dog, and you must secure yourself with a flashlight.

6- Keep your dog active

It can be difficult to keep dogs physically exercised during these dark evenings. Check “PetLEO Map of Fun” to see dog walking areas with a lightning.

If you know some safe dog places to share, go for it and add them in to PetLEO map.

7- Observe Your Dog

Don’t forget to observe your dog during walk. If your dog is lifting his paws from the ground frequently, standing in a hunched position, shaking or shivering, it means it’s time to go home.

If you have more questions about your dog’s wellbeing, you can have a “Free Online Video- Advice session with PetLEO Health Advisor.
Now book an appointment!


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