How to Keep Dogs Warm Outside- Your Winter Safety Guide

As people and pups alike across the Northern Hemisphere struggle through an icy winter, paw parents may be worried about how their canine companions will cope outside. While leaving them indoors where it’s toasty and warm for the whole of winter may be tempting, dogs do need regular exercise, and don’t do too well when cooped up for long periods. So, learning how to keep dogs warm outside in the winter is a must. Some readers, meanwhile, may be wondering if it’s safe to let their dogs sleep outside, or looking for ideas to keep outside dogs warm. Read on for all the info you need on how to keep your dog warm, whether it’s during an outing or overnight.
Stephanie Laming - Licensed Insurance Representative of 11 years & Dog Mum to 5 year old Tina
October 6, 2022
min read

How Cold is Too Cold? 

If you live somewhere particularly cold, you will need to make sure your main mutt doesn’t get exposed to dangerously low temperatures. 

There is no easy answer when it comes to working out how cold is too cold for your canine critters, as it will depend on their breed, as well as how well suited they are to cold climates, their weight, their size, their age, and their level of health.  

While some breeds thrive in the cold, others may struggle and suffer. For a list of adorable doggos who are well adapted to cold climates, check out this blog- 12 Best Snow Dog Breeds For Winter Fun. A dog that is old or struggling with their health will, of course, be more susceptible to dangerous conditions caused by cold. 

Most dogs should be fine in temperatures of as low as 45°F, but this can be misleading, as factors such as how wet and windy it is can make your hound feel much colder than the temperature would suggest. 

Temperatures of below 20°F must be avoided, even if your dog is a breed that’s well suited to the cold. Smaller, lighter dogs, as well as ones with a single coat, are less able to withstand the cold, and shouldn’t be exposed to temperatures of 30°F or less.  

If your dog seems to be suffering due to the cold or may have come down with a cold-related illness such as frostbite or hypothermia, take them to a trusted vet right away. 

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Ideas to keep outside dogs warm

You may have come here for info on how to keep your dog safe outside in the cold for short periods of time, but others may want to know if it’s safe to let their dog sleep outside during the coldest months of the year.  

If you’re wondering how to keep your dog warm outside during winter, there are many things to consider. First of all, you’ll need to make sure they are a breed that can handle cold conditions.  

Even if they are, though, you will need to make sure you are taking all the right steps to keep them safe outside overnight. The last thing you want is to have to take your hound to hospital due to a cold-related medical condition. Here are some tips for making sure your paw-pal doesn’t suffer through an unforgiving winter. 

Have Them Wear a Sweater

If your dog is going to sleep outside, a sweater is the first step. Whether you find doggy sweaters super-cute or a bit embarrassing, they are your fur-friend’s first line of defense against the cold. 

Even if you have an inside dog, you should consider getting them a sweater for when you take them out during winter, especially if they have a single rather than a double coat. 

Protect Their Paws

Sweaters aren’t the only type of clothing available to dogs. Just like how it’s very difficult for a person to keep warm if their feet are cold, a furbaby with freezing feet is going to be extremely vulnerable to the cold. 

A pair of doggy booties can go a long way towards protecting your paw-pal’s paws, especially if you plan to provide them with a shelter outside rather than letting them sleep indoors. Even if you have an inside dog and are taking them for walkies, booties are never a bad idea. 

Provide a Lifted Bed

Whether your dog sleeps inside or outside, it’s very important that they stay dry in the cold, as adding moisture to freezing temperatures is a huge health risk for humans and hounds alike. 

One way to do this would be to provide a bed that is raised, so moisture can’t reach it. If your dog sleeps outside, you could also raise their doghouse or shelter so that it’s rain, snow, and sleet proof. 

Build a Custom Dog House

If there’s a reason why your dog can’t sleep inside, you will need to work hard on making sure whatever shelter you provide them with outside is warm enough. You could insulate your dog house, install heating, and make sure there are lots and lots of warm, fuzzy blankets. If your dog has to sleep outside, you’ll need to put time, money and effort into ensuring they are comfortable and safe in the cold. 

Bring Them Inside

Of course, the safest way to make sure your dog doesn’t get too cold overnight in winter is to let them sleep inside. Exposing your furry friend to extreme cold is illegal in many countries, not to mention just plain cruel. 

Final Thoughts

In many parts of the world, Winter is no joke. There are plenty of places that can reach temperatures cold enough to severely harm your favorite furry friend. 

If you are planning to provide your doggo with an outside shelter, make sure you don’t allow them to shiver the night away by providing them with an insulated or heated shelter, making sure they have enough blankets and protecting their body and paws with sweaters and doggy boots. 

If you don’t have a solid reason for letting them sleep outside, invite your puppers in and let them sleep on a dog bed in your warm home. It’s the easiest and safest way to ensure they don’t suffer this winter. 

Even if you have an inside dog and are only worried about how to safely take them outside for walks or any other reason during winter, the tips in this post will ensure they aren’t exposed to more cold than they can handle. 

If you are worried that your canine companion has endured too much cold, visit a veterinarian as soon as you can. To get quotes on affordable health insurance for your furbaby, click here.

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GoodPaw Pet Services Inc., GoodPaw, offers free advice, product information and other editorial resources that are intended for informative purposes only, and should not be used in place of proper veterinary care. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat your pet. If your pet is experiencing any health concerns, contact a licensed veterinarian. GoodPaw assumes no responsibility for action taken based on information given from

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