How Cold is too Cold to Walk your Dog

Sparky Steps - How Cold is too Cold to Walk your Dog

How Cold is too Cold to Walk your Dog

Winter is here! With temperatures consistently falling below freezing and a few too many days below 0℉, you may be wondering: How cold is too cold to walk your canine companion? Here at Sparky Steps, our policy is to limit walks to 15 minutes when the temperature dips below 20℉. We do this because our main concern is the safety of your pup in these extreme temperatures -- while keeping in mind their need to do their business and stretch their paws. Here are some things to consider when assessing whether it’s too cold outside to walk your dog: How cold is it, really? The number on the thermometer isn’t the only factor that affects how cold it actually feels outside. Wind chill, especially here in Chicago, brings down the temperature and makes the cold air flow through your pup’s coat. Overcast skies also reduce the amount of warmth carried down by the sun’s rays. And let’s not forget how moisture drastically brings down body temperatures -- this means snow, heavy fog, wet sidewalks, and the like.

 

How comfortable is your dog?

Dogs, just like their humans, are unique in how they tolerate winter weather. What type of coat does your pup have? Double layered coats fare the best in colder climates. Does your pup belong to a breed that has adapted features to be more cold-tolerant? Certain breeds, like Siberian Huskies or Samoyeds, are more comfortable in the cold. How large is your pup? Smaller dogs lose their body heat much quicker than larger dogs. How much does your pup weigh? Heavier dogs tend to have more insulation than their thinner counterparts. Is your pup very young, very old, or sick? These categories of dogs need a little care to keep warm.

 

Know your dog’s limits.

Most dogs should be okay with temperatures above 32℉. Healthy, larger dogs should be comfortable in temperatures between 20℉ to 32℉ -- but keep an eye on dogs that are young, old, sick, have thin coats, and/or small in size. For temperatures below 20℉, you should limit the time your pup spends outside to an efficient potty break. And once temperatures dip below 0℉, your pup shouldn’t be outside any longer than it takes for to do his/her business. In the end, it’s important to listen to the signs your dog gives you -- like shivering, whining, and slowing down. Do your best to keep your pup comfortable during your winter walks, and we’re sure your four-legged friend will be grateful for your efforts. And, remember, if you’re too cold to take your pup for a short walk to take care of business, your local dog walking service is always a click away!

 

Written by Saarah Monawvil

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