How Cold is Too Cold for a Dog to Hike?


Have you ever ever wondered how cold is just too cold to your dog?

I like winter mountaineering with my dog. The scenery changes, there are fewer people, and we will participate in numerous activities, like snowshoeing and cross country skiing.

Winter outdoor adventures mean colder temperatures. Some dogs can handle cold higher than others, depending on numerous aspects, like age, breed, coat, and size.

Learn tips on how to keep your dog warmer through the colder months so that you would be able to enjoy outdoor adventures all 12 months long.

How Cold is Too Cold for a Dog? It Is dependent upon the Dog

Identical to some people wear long sleeves through the summer or sleep in shorts and a tank top with the window open within the winter (it me!), dogs can vary with their temperature tolerance. Also like humans, dogs can acclimate to cold or hot weather in the event that they are exposed to it with regularity.

Further, a dog’s tolerance to weather depends upon numerous aspects, including their age, weight, breed, and more. 

Listed below are a number of aspects that may determine whether your dog will enjoy winter hikes.

Coat Type

Dogs with thick, double coats may have a much higher tolerance than single-coated dogs. 

A double-coat simply signifies that the dog has two layers of fur: a dense undercoat consisting of shorter hair and a top coat of longer hairs. Double-coated dogs typically include Northern breeds, many shepherds, and retrievers, similar to Malamutes, Huskies, German Shepherds, Australian Shepherds, Samoyeds, Bernese Mountain Dogs, and more.

Dogs with a single coat won’t have as much insulation and can likely feel colder more easily. A great dog jacket can add some additional warmth.


Smaller dogs are inclined to lose body heat faster than larger dogs because they’ve a bigger surface area to volume ratio. 

Plus, they’re closer to the bottom, which suggests that they’re more directly exposed to any snow and ice on the bottom.


Thin dogs, like sighthounds or high energy juvenile dogs that burn a ton of calories shall be more prone to colder temperatures in comparison with dogs with more body weight. 

Dogs with a better percentage of body fat may have more insulation, and despite the glorification of “cute” “chonky” dogs, obesity in dogs is a serious health condition that should be addressed appropriately.

Age & Health

Young dogs, seniors, and people with some medical conditions cannot regulate their body temperature in addition to healthy or adult dogs. Jackets will help add a layer of heat in some cases, but make sure to keep a vigilant eye for signs of discomfort.

Conditioning to the Cold

That first 50-degree fall day will feel cold after a summer’s price of temperatures above 80°, but after a number of days or perhaps weeks, our bodies will acclimate to the colder weather. Dogs can acclimate to temperatures just the identical as humans can. 

That first winter hike may be somewhat more uncomfortable to your dog, but for those who hike outdoors repeatedly throughout the winter, then your dog will get used to the cold steadily.

Weather Considerations 

Most recommendations will suggest that owners should take cold into consideration when the temperature drops below 45°, nonetheless, different weather conditions could make it feel colder than what the number on the thermometer reads.

Listed below are some weather variables to consider before heading out into cold weather along with your dog:

Wind chill – The wind just isn’t only unpleasant if it’s strong enough, but it may make the temperatures feel much colder than they really are. If it’s windy otherwise you’re heading to an exposed mountain top, pack a jacket to your dog to chop the wind.

Cloud Cover – A cloudy day can are inclined to feel colder than a sunny day, so it’s idea to bring an additional layer to your dog.

Damp Conditions – Rain, snow, fog or other wet conditions could make a dog feel cold. Being wet is what can result in more severe health problems like hypothermia. If the weather is wet, then bring a water-resistant jacket to your dog and keep a towel and dry blanket within the automobile. 

Signs that It’s too Cold for Your Dog

Using the temperature as a gauge to find out if it’s too cold to your dog is start line, but as I’ve discussed, different dogs are more perceptible to the cold over others.

Knowing your dog’s tolerance and monitoring their symptoms and behavior is the perfect solution to determine if the weather is just too cold.

Listed below are some signs to observe out for:

  • Shivering
  • Lack of coordination
  • Excessive panting
  • Lethargy
  • Whining
  • Low heart rate

Hypothermia is some of the serious conditions that may affect a dog within the cold. Knowing what to search for while you’re on the trail is very important to stop it from happening. In case your dog is exhibiting any of the signs listed above, it’s best to get them into warmer temperatures as soon as possible.

Frostbite in Dogs

A dog can get frostbite once they are exposed to extreme cold for long periods of time. Probably the most frostbite-prone areas of the body include the paws, tail, nose, and ears.

Signs include:

  • Pale, gray or bluish discoloration of the affected area
  • Pain to the touch
  • Necrosis (blackened dead skin)
  • Swelling
  • Blisters or ulcers

Left untreated, frostbite can result in amputation of the damaged area.

Winter Gear for Dogs

The precise winter gear will help keep your dog more comfortable. This includes a water-resistant jacket in wet conditions, just like the Ruffwear Vert Jacket, a fleece layer for dry days just like the Tummy Warmer from Voyagers K9 or the Climate Changer Fleece Pullover from Ruffwear. 

Paw wax could be helpful because some dog’s paws crack within the snow or painful snowballs can accumulate in between their paws in the event that they have longer fur. Booties are an alternative choice for dogs whose paws crack within the snow. The Grip Trex Dog Boots from Ruffwear are a solid alternative for year-round adventures.

How do you retain your dog warm during winter adventures?

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