Guide To keeping Dogs Warm Outside: 5 Useful Tips

As winter approaches, you can’t help but wonder if there are effective ways for keeping dogs warm outside during winter.

It doesn’t matter what breed you have, all dogs get cold in winter although some breeds can withstand colder climates than others. That is however not an excuse to let your dog freeze in the cold. This guide will provide you with ways for keeping dogs warm outside.

How To Tell If Your Dog Is Cold?

A dog’s cold-weather tolerance will vary based on their physical makeup, activity level, and health. And, if that doesn’t make it hard enough to figure out if your dog is feeling comfortable, they’re also unable to talk to us like we can.

Luckily, there are a few signs that are a good indication that your pup is feeling the chill, so keep an eye out for shivering or trembling and a hunched posture with a tucked tail.

Dog owners who live in a region with cold winters should pay close attention to their dogs’ behavior. If your dog is feeling the cold, it might be a good idea to put her inside or ensure that her stay outside is more comfortable.

What's a good outside dog?

5 Tips For Keeping Dogs Warm Outside

1. Provide a warm, insulated, cozy sleeping environment

During the winter, make sure your dog has a nice bed and a big blanket to stay toasty warm. Consider obtaining a self-warming pet mat, which preserves your dog’s body heat, or a mat with a removable microwavable heating pad if your dog sleeps in a particularly drafty or chilly portion of the house.

Just keep in mind that your dog should be able to get out of bed on his or her own. If you have any queries about heated pet beds, talk to your veterinarian.

2. Use a warming dog harness

If you have a dog and live in an area that gets lots of snow and regular sub-zero temperatures, this is a very wise investment. It will keep your dog warm and cozy while she walks through deep snow.

Most of the warming dog harnesses are made with a gel pack that sits against the chest and belly area where your pup generates the most heat. This helps the harness keep your dog warm as it is warmed by its own body.

You’ll even find a few packs that have a special pouch that you can warm up in the microwave and then put back into the harness. Just be careful with these as they can easily get too hot and cause burns.

Read more about Do Belly Bands Work For Dogs? Things You Need To Know

3. Don’t cut the fur

It’s easy to cut down on costly trips to a professional groomer when you have a good grooming kit in the cupboard. In the colder months though, it’s important to let your dog’s coat grow a bit longer.

According to Dr. Jessica Romine, a board-certified internal medicine vet at BluePearl Pet Hospital in Southfield, Michigan, fur is a natural insulator and can help protect your dog from the elements. “Dog hair is a wonderful insulator, and many breeds have a double coat, with an outer layer of guard hairs to protect from the elements and a downy underlayer to contain heat.”

Ideally, dogs should be let to grow their full coats so that they can stay warm in cold weather. They don’t have to be covered in fur, but if you have a thick coat, it can be a lot warmer for you and your dog.

4. Go for shorter walks

When it’s extremely cold outside, it’s helpful to shorten your walks to make sure that your dog isn’t exposed to chilly temperatures for long periods. If the weather is over 20 degrees F, a reasonable rule of thumb for healthy medium to large dogs is to walk them for 30 minutes.

Smaller dogs should only be out for 20 minutes at a time. If the temperature is below 20 degrees, we recommend against walking your dog at all. Instead, play a few of our favorite indoor games for dogs. These will still give your pup a great mental and physical workout, but they will be performed in a warm, dry, and safe environment.

5. Get them a cozy jacket

Breeds such as huskies and malamutes have thick coats that are more suited to cold weather than breeds with little or no hair. If you have a breed like greyhounds, miniature pinschers, Chihuahuas, or whippets, get your dog a doggie jacket or sweater to wear outside with you.

To ensure a proper fit, measure your dog’s size around the neck, over the shoulders, and across the chest. Look for styles that are snug but not too tight, and that don’t have any choking hazards like zippers or embellishments.

Understandably, not all dogs will tolerate wearing a sweater or jacket. If they don’t want to wear one, simply limit the length of time they spend outside.

How long should dogs stay outside?

Final Thoughts

If you are feeling cold, chances are high that your dog is also feeling cold. Frostbite and hypothermia are the most serious concerns for dogs exposed to extremely cold temperatures, but other, less serious reasons extended exposure to the cold can make your dog’s life difficult.

Joint stiffness is more likely in cold temperatures, worsening already severe disorders like arthritis. Sick or elderly dogs (as well as puppies) often have trouble regulating their body temperature, and a low body temperature can impair their heart and oxygen flow throughout their body.

In addition, really cold dogs are more likely to become disoriented, and cold weather can create cracked and dry skin, which can be painful for your dog.

If you implement the above tips for keeping dogs warm outside, you will reduce the likelihood of your dog falling ill.

Read more about How To Keep A Dog Off Your Couch In 3 Effective Ways.


What temperature is too cold for dogs to be outside?

Small breeds, puppies, senior dogs, or thin haired breeds can't handle anything below 32°F. Other breeds that are cold-averse can't handle anything below 45°F.

Is it cruel to keep a dog outside?

No, But when it is cold ensure that the dogs have somewhere warm and comfortable t stay. Just like us, they also feel cold.

How long should dogs stay outside?

This differs according to breed. Some are able to withstand the cold for longer than others. Remember, if you are feeling cold, the dog is likely feeling cold too.

What's a good outside dog?

Breeds that where breed to stand outdoor conditions such as Siberian Husky, Mastiff, Irish Wolfhound and Rottweiler are good outside dogs.