The temperature as it registers on a thermometer isn’t the only environmental factor that affects how dogs feel the cold.
Wind chill – A brisk breeze can quickly cut through a dog’s coat and greatly decreases its ability to insulate and protect against cold temperatures.
Dampness – Rain, wet snow, heavy fog, going for a swim… any form of dampness that soaks through the fur can quickly chill a dog even if the air temperature is not all that cold.
Cloud cover – Cloudy days tend to feel colder than do sunny days since dogs can’t soak up the sun and warm themselves.
Activity – If dogs are going to be very active while outside, they may generate enough extra body heat to keep them comfortable even if the temperature is quite low.
Cold Temperature Guidelines for Dogs
In general, cold temperatures should not become a problem for most dogs until they fall below 7°C, at which point some cold-averse dogs might begin to feel uncomfortable. When temperatures fall below 0°C, owners of small breed dogs, dogs with thin coats, and/or very young, old, or sick dogs should pay close attention to their pet’s well-being. Once temperatures drop under -6°C, all owners need to be aware that their dogs could potentially develop cold-associated health problems like hypothermia and frostbite.
The best way to monitor dogs when it’s cold is to keep a close eye on their behavior. If you notice your dog shivering, acting anxious, whining, slowing down, searching out warm locations, or holding up one or more paws, it’s time to head inside.