dog that is cold

Is it Too Cold for My Dog? How to Protect Your Pet from Cold Weather

Medical Contributor:

Dr. Courtney Hughes

Jan 31, 2024

Call & Speak with a doctor Open 24/7, Even Holidays!

Walk in today for:




Point-of-Care Ultrasound


Urgent Care




Diagnostics + Testing


End-of-Life Care




Treatment + Hospitalization

Winter is here, and you might be wondering, “Is it too cold for my dog to go outside?” Well, you’re not alone. Let’s dive into how to keep your four-legged family member safe and comfy during the chillier months.

Recognizing the Signs: When is it Too Cold for Your Dog?

First off, it’s important to know that not all dogs are created equal when it comes to tolerating cold weather. Some breeds, like Huskies and Malamutes, thrive in colder climates, while others—like Greyhounds and Chihuahuas—prefer the warmer lap of luxury.

The Shiver Factor: What It Means

If your dog is shivering, that’s usually a clear signal they’re feeling the cold. It’s nature’s way of raising the body temperature, but it’s also a sign to you that your pup is uncomfortably cold.

Smaller canines and breeds with shorter coats are generally more susceptible to the cold. If you have a senior dog or a puppy, be extra cautious when the temperature drops and keep an eye out for shivering. In short, the only thing that should shake is a tail!

Weather-Proofing Your Walks: Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe in Cold Weather

Avoiding exercise in the winter isn’t practical or healthy. While we should not leave our pets outside unattended in colder temps, a supervised walk outside is still essential for your dog’s well being all year round. Here are some tips to keep your pet safe during cold weather walks:

  • Paw Protection: Imagine walking barefoot in the snow—yikes! Dog boots or paw balms can protect your pet’s feet from ice, snow, and the salts and chemicals used to treat icy roads.
  • Dressing for the Weather: Dog sweaters or jackets can be more than just a fashion statement. For breeds that lack a heavy, natural coat, a little extra insulation can make all the difference.

When to Seek Professional Help: VEG is Here for You

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, things can go wrong. If you notice that your dog is lethargic, whining, or showing signs of frostbite like skin discoloration, pain or local swelling, get to VEG or your nearest emergency vet.

Warning Signs That It’s More Than Just Cold

If your dog is acting out of sorts, and you’re seeing symptoms like uncontrolled shivering, weakness, or shallow breathing, it’s crucial to seek immediate veterinary assistance.

Your dog’s health and well-being are our top priorities at Veterinary Emergency Group. VEG is open 24/7 and is equipped to handle all kinds of pet emergencies and are available when you need us the most. No need to book an appointment, simply call any of our locations to talk with a vet.

Remember, winter can be a wonderland, but it’s best enjoyed when everyone is warm and safe.

Got questions or concerns about how the cold weather might be affecting your dog? Please call Veterinary Emergency Group today. We’re here to help!