Are Dogs Afraid of Cold? (Explained and Helpful Guide)


Are Dogs Afraid of Cold

Generally, dogs are quite resilient and are not afraid of cold. Breeds like the Tibetan Terrier and Siberian Husky, which have double coats, even love to play outside. However, dogs such as Boston Terriers, pugs, and greyhounds have short coats of hair and little fat which make them more vulnerable when going outside during winter.

If you are looking for a new dog to care for, it is best to get a pet that adapts well to the weather of the region that you are in. But if you already have one with a thin coat, you should know how to protect them from the coldness of the temperature.

How Cold is Too Cold for a Dog?

As long as the temperature outside the house is higher than 45 degrees Fahrenheit, your furry friend will more likely enjoy staying outside. But you still have to check your dog from time to time to make that it is still doing fine.

Your dog’s health might feel unsafe if the temperature is around 30 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. This is especially true for small to medium-sized dogs, though the bigger ones tend to do better in lower temperatures. For dogs that have thicker coats, they may still be okay to go outside.

Temperatures ranging from 15 to 20 degrees are potentially dangerous for your dog. You should keep it inside the house to protect it from the cold weather.

What Dog Breeds Like Cold Weather?

1. Tibetan Terrier

This variety of Terrier lives in its native country of Tibet. It may be small but it can hold out against extreme weather conditions because of its thick coat. It also has round feet which allow it to thread comfortably through the snow. 

The Tibetan Terrier makes great companions whether you go outside during the winter months or just want to stay comfortably on your bed.

2. Siberian Husky

A list of dog breeds that like cold weather will not be complete without the Siberian Husky. A star in numerous Hollywood movies, these worker dogs are great for sledding and point-to-point travel. Its double coat helps this dog to withstand temperatures as low as -75 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Shiba Inu

Shiba Inus are tough dogs that come from the mountains of Japan. They love the winter months and can stay outside the home to play because of their layered fur and stiff outer coat. Their skin also allows them to repel rain and snow.

4. Akita

Another breed from Japan, Akitas can survive the cold weather easily. You might have heard of this breed from a particular Japanese story about a dog named Hachiko which waited for the arrival of its owner, who died, in front of the train station for nine years.

Akitas have double coat hair to protect themselves from the snow and webbed toes for easy maneuverability. 

5. American Eskimo Dog

This cute dog is best known to bark all the time when left to its own. But this breed can be properly trained to develop good behavior. Falling under the Spitz breed, the American Eskimo Dog has a dense and thick coat that protects itself from the cold weather.

6. Alaskan Malamute

The Alaskan Malamute is a strong and smart dog. Its thick coat gives protection to this breed. This animal is full of energy that loves to play and run. It is also a prolific shedder. Remember that this dog loves being with its human companions so you should allow the dog to stay both inside or outside the home.

7. Tibetan Mastiff

A huge breed of dog, the Tibetan Mastiff is gifted with strength and athletism. It has a heavy and thick coat that covers its whole body but more particularly, its neck and shoulders. It also has a dense undercoat that develops during the cold season.

8. Chow Chow

Chow Chows were known in history as working dogs. Just like the Siberian Husky, they were experts in pulling sleds. They have very thick fur. But you have to take note, though, that modern Chow Chows may not be able to withstand cold weather.

9. German Shepherd

German Shepherds have long been the best friend of most families in many areas of the world. They have durable bodies that hold against cold temperatures. They also have amazing paws that keep the blood warm as it is pumped all over the body.

10. Saint Bernard

You may have seen Saint Bernards that accompanied rescuers to locate travelers in the Swiss Alps. Their hair is dense and tough. Even though this breed enjoys cold weather, you should allow them to go inside the house once in a while to keep warm.

What Dog Breeds Hate Cold Weather?

1. Boston Terrier

Boston Terriers have short coats which do not provide warmth, especially during cold climates. They are extremely sensitive to the outside environment because of their flat face and short snout. They may get hypothermia if left outside.

2. Pug

Pugs do not like to go out on temperatures ranging from 10 degrees Fahrenheit and below. Although they have dense coats, they still do not like cold weather and even freezing rains and winds. Freezing surfaces can cause their paws to dry up. Their noses may also be adversely affected by the harsh elements.

3. Great Dane

Great Danes are generally not cold weather pets. They may be tough and strong but they are not equipped to withstand the extreme weather because of the lack of fat. They also do not have the thick fur to add insulation to protect their bodies.

4. Dachshund

Dachshunds get cold very easily. They are small and they have less body fat compared to breeds that thrive in the cold climate. Their round bodies also allow for a larger area of exposure to the freezing wind. Because their bodies are closer to the ground, they also feel the low temperature of the surface.

5. Miniature Pinscher

Miniature Pinschers have a short coat of hair which does not give much insulation during the winter months. They start shivering as soon as they feel the cold wind from the outside. You would have to get additional clothes to keep your Miniature Pinscher warm.

6. Chihuahua

Chihuahuas have a brachycephalic head which translates to smaller skull cavities that can block the cavity. They do not respond well to the winter, meaning some get various illnesses like sneezing, hypothermia, and pneumonia. Difficulty in breathing may also occur so you have to keep watch of their health status constantly.

7. Greyhound

Just like most dogs in this list which hate the cold weather, greyhounds have a little layer of body fat. This may be effective to cool their bodies but it does not protect them from the cold weather. Greyhounds that are exposed to low temperatures experience shivering, hypothermia, and injuries in the dog’s muscles.

8. Whippet

These dogs are quite similar to the greyhound but smaller in size. “Snap” dogs, as they are fondly called, are known for their quickness. But if you put them in a cold environment, expect them to get chilled very fast. They have low body fat which means that they have fewer layers to provide insulation against the cold weather.

9. Pit Bull

Pit bulls do not like low-temperature climates because of their short hair. They may generate body heat if they move constantly but they easily get cold if they stay put. They also only have a single coat which can only do so much to protect the dog against freezing elements.

10. French Bulldog

Same as the Chihuahua, the French Bulldog belongs to a brachycephalic breed. Their face is flat and their nasal cartilages and tongues are disproportionate. These can give them difficulty in breathing once brought to a cold environment. French bulldogs are generally indoor pets.

Risks Of The Cold For Dogs

Like humans, too much exposure to the outside environment during the cold weather can cause hypothermia to the dogs. Hypothermia causes the bodies of the dogs to lose heat quickly compared to its production of warmth. If not relieved, hypothermia can cause the body temperature to drop and the internal organs to stop working.

Another effect of being outside in the cold climate for long periods is frostbite. This is tissue damage to the paws of the dog. This occurs because the blood that normally goes to the extremities of the body is redirected to the more important organs when there is a drop in temperature.

How Do You Know When a Dog is Cold?

Quick signs that your dog is getting cold because of the weather include:

  • The dog starts shivering or shaking too much
  • The tail of the dog is tucked
  • It keeps on whining and barking to alarm the owner of its present condition
  • The dog becomes very anxious.
  • The dog starts looking for warm places to shield itself from the coldness of the weather
  • The movement of the dog starts to slow down.

How to Keep Your Dog Warm?

The best way to keep your dog warm is to let him inside the house. Even dogs that love the cold weather would want to have a break from the low temperature and take some time to normalize their body heat.

Let the dog sleep with extra bedding for warmth. Blankets can give added insulation to dogs especially those that only have a single coat of protection.

If the dog shelter is outside the house, you should get him off the ground by several inches.  A heater or heat lamp can also help the dog stabilize its temperature.

Should Dogs Sleep Outside?

During the cold winter months, it is always recommended for dogs to stay inside the house. The heater of the ventilation unit, the warmth of the bed, and the additional hug from the owner can keep the dog protected from the freezing temperature.

But if they must stay outside, just make sure that the dogs are kept safe from the harsh elements like the snow, and wind.

What Dogs Feel the Cold the Most?

Dogs that have single coats without any added layers of thick fur feel the cold the most. They are susceptible to uneasiness after being exposed to harsh conditions for a long time. Brachycephalic breeds should also be kept away from the outside to protect them from illnesses brought by cold weather.

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