Ontario has finally made it into a true Canadian winter with daily highs not always reaching above -20° Celsius. This leaves many dog owners wondering, “When is it too cold to take my dog out for a walk?”

 

So how does an owner decide if taking their dog out for a walk in this cold weather is a good idea or not? Some dogs will pretty well go out in any weather, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be mindful.

So how cold is too cold?

This depends on your dog! Small dogs, dogs with short hair, chronic illness or senior dogs, will have less tolerance for the cold. Keep an eye on what your dog is telling you! Do you see signs that they are too cold or are overheating in what you dressed them in? Take action! Check our the infographic below for signs they are too cold.

Does my dog need a coat?

Maybe! Again, the threshold is going to be different for different breeds. A huskie may never really have need for a coat on a walk that their human can tolerate going on, while a chihuahua might need one just as the temperature dips below freezing.

Our threshold for Maggie (60lb yellow lab) is anything colder than -10 degrees Celsius, she wears her coat for walks.

What about boots?

It’s unlikely your dog needs boots to keep their feet warm. Rather consider boots to protect their pads from cuts or burns from ice melt and salt. It may take your dog some time to get used to wearing boots, so be sure to provide lots of positive reinforcement (i.e. treats and praise!). My personal favourites are Pawz booties because a dog can still feel the ground under their feet! (They are waterproof so they do need to be removed indoors to allow the feet to breath!) But if you are doing more walking on rugged terrain, a thicker soled boot, like Muttluks, would be appropriate.

Signs of dog too coold
A Final Word on the Cold

So there is no one exact answer for every dog about when it’s too cold to head out. Like people, different dogs have different tolerances to the cold. Keep an eye on them for signs they are too cold, and if in doubt, spend time indoors doing some brain games, training, physical exercises or enjoy a snuggle by the fire until it warms up!

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