All Dogs Are Different.
Lately, every time I reach for the leash, I often find myself asking, “Is my dog going to be cold?” There’s no simple yes or no answer except that it just depends on your dog. Here’s an example. During the winter months, my husband and I argue so much over the blankets. At the end of it, I always end up using two blankets, wearing flannel pajamas and the thickest pair of socks, while he’s in t-shirt and boxers with his legs sticking out from under the covers. I’m the Chihuahua and he’s the Husky.
The point here is that like humans, dogs have different comfort levels of temperature due to their own individual traits. Here is a list of questions you should consider before taking that jump into the snow pile with your dog.
⇓⇓ Don’t miss out on the cold safety chart for your dog at the end of this post. ⇓⇓
Ask Yourself These Qs
1. Is my dog small/big/skinny/fat?
Smaller dogs have more surface area to lose heat from in ratio to their insides and don’t generate enough body heat, thus they get colder faster in comparison to larger breeds. When it comes to body weight, an overweight dog has one advantage over a skinny dog. It has extra fat, a great natural insulator. But don’t fatten up your dog just for the winter, it’s not worth the health risk!
2. What is my dog’s coat type?
Short or thin-haired dogs like greyhounds will need a cozy sweater or jacket to help keep them warm, whereas a breed with a thick double coat (i.e., Huskies + Samoyeds) can handle even lower temperatures for longer. But only to a certain point. Much of this depends on your dog’s breed. Think about whether your dog is conditioned or bred for the cold outdoors.
3. Age + health?
Provide extra care for the young and vulnerable and to the weak and elderly. You may have a wee little puppy who needs to be bundled up or a senior dog who isn’t as hearty and strong as they used to be. Also, consider if your dog is sick or has an illness. For these kinds of sensitive dogs, their immune systems aren’t strong enough or already weakened and can’t compete against the cold.
“It’s raining and really windy outside but my phone says its 50F, so my dog should be ok.”
Not exactly! The temperature that you read on your phone may be very different to how the temperature feels when you’re actually outside. Therefore, adjust outdoor time and protection accordingly. It’s not good enough to just see the temperature on your phone. Take into consideration these other natural forces at work.
Windchill – If its super windy, it tends to feel 10x colder! That wind will cut through the thickest of furs.
Dampness – If its raining or wet outside, it can really soak through the fur and quickly turn your dog into a pupsicle.
Cloud cover – No sun, no fun. It will feel colder due to its lack of warm rays.
Activity – How much is your dog moving? Moving enough to generate enough body heat? Or just standing still until it turns into a snowdog?
General temperature guideline
- 45F and below, it’s uncomfortable, may need that warm jacket
- 32F and below, beware for small dogs, thin coats, very young old and the sick
- 20F and below, hypothermia and frostbite can set in.
To the dog moms and dog dads, you understand best what your fur babies are trying to tell you. Shivering, acting anxious, lifting up more than one paw at a time? It’s time to head inside.
If it’s still a little confusing to put it all together, refer to this chart from Petplan. I actually printed it out keep it next to Luna’s leash and coat for quick reference.
Pick the column similar to the size of your dog and drag your finger down to the current temperature on the left. Add or deduct points to that number if the factors in the blue boxes apply. Read the information on the right to your corresponding number.
I hope that helped! Seoul has some brutal winters I hear and getting Luna a coat is a must. I used to scoff at dogs in clothes but now that it’s a necessity, I’m going to find her the prettiest jacket!