January is here and if you’re anything like us you’re starting your new year with a few winter dog walks, however you may be wondering whether it’s too cold to walk your dog. You’ll have all the essentials with a coat, hat, gloves and a scarf, to wrap yourself up warm but what about your dog? They have fur to help keep them warm, some dog breeds coats are better for this than others, and you can always get them a snuggly coat or jumper, but when is it too cold to walk your dog?
Can I walk my dog in winter?
You definitely should walk your dog in winter. Along with dinner time, walks are most dog’s favourite time of the day, they are a great way for them to exercise whilst experiencing all the sights and smells of the world around them. Walks are when most dogs get to socialise with their four legged friends, bond with your their owner and work off excess energy before settling down for a cosy nap in front of the fire.
Pictured: Woodlands Collection Cozy & Calming Puppy Cage Bed
Before making the decision whether to take your dog out or not, it’s worth looking at the weather. If it’s a beautiful crisp but sunny winters day, with little breeze, then definitely take your dog out. However, if it’s stormy and windy, maybe keep your dog in. Walks should be enjoyable and it’s unlikely either of you will enjoy your walks in the pouring rain - you know your pup best at the end of the day so we recommend making the call based on if you think they’ll enjoy it or not. However, in less favourable conditions such as low fog, mist and hail, it may be safer to skip the walk. If you do decide to go out in rain or snow take a route that’s well paved and lit to keep you and your dog safe!
Can I walk my dog in the cold?
Dropping temperatures shouldn’t be a reason to stop giving your dogs their mailing exercise, dogs definitely can be walked in the cold so as long as they’re happy to go you should be okay to take them.
Top 5 Winter Dog Walk Tips
We know there's a lot to consider so here our top five winter dog walk tips and tricks:
- Try to walk during the day - the start and end of the day is when it’s coldest. Mid-mornings and early afternoons will be a little bit warmer, if possible try to keep your walks between 10am-2pm.
- Watch out for salt - many people will have put salt or grit down on the pavements and roads. This can cause irritation on the pads of their paws which can become painful. We recommend giving their paws a rinse after a walk if you think they will have likely walked through some salt on the way to keep irritation to a minimum
- Wrap up warm - A dog coat will help to keep your dog warm on those chilly winter walks. Puppies and older dogs can struggle to regulate their own body temperatures so a coat can be key. Also if your dog is a little bit anxious about the rain or cold weather a coat can help them to feel a bit more at ease
- Well lit paths - as already mentioned stick to well lit paths and routes you know well in bad weather conditions - your safety is key
- Listen to your pup - if your dog is refusing to walk, shivering, standing in a hunched position or shivering then take them home! There’s no harm in missing a walk or too, especially if your dog isn’t enjoying themselves
How to burn off energy if my dog won’t walk
If weather conditions are too bad or your dog doesn’t fancy going out then indoor enrichment activities will be your best friend! 15 minutes of sniffing is equivalent to an hours dog walk when it comes to burning energy, so things like a snuffle mat or a stuffed KONG are perfect for helping burn off some of that excess energy. Alternatively hiding some treats in a blanket or their bed is a great free enrichment activity!
What temperature is too cold for a dog to walk outside?
Now you know how to prepare for a chilly walk, you may be wondering how do you know when it’s just TOO cold. We’ve created a guide below to help you work it out.
Small dogs are more vulnerable in the cold than bigger dogs, so keep this in mind when taking your dog out. We recommend avoiding walking any dog when temperatures are below 50°F, even if they’re wearing a coat. And if you’re at all unsure, it’s probably best to keep them inside!
How long should you walk your dog in cold weather?
Short and sweet is our advise for super cold walks. Naturally the longer your dog is in the cold, the lower their body temperature will get. Sometimes a couple of shorter walks will be better for them than one long walk.
If it’s above 70°F, we recommend around a half an hour walk for medium to large dogs and around 20 minutes for smaller dogs. However, factors such a strong wind can make it feel much colder outside than it actually is, taking what is a mild day to a freezing day. Snowy walks on a bright day can be a lot of fun, but once it starts to melt and becomes sludgy your dog’s body temperature can drop quite quickly. Watch out for your dog eating snow, this can bring their body temperature down too.
If your dog gets wet on their walk we recommend drying them off once they're back to help warm them up, why not try our new bamboo drying range? It's super soft and makes drying your dog easy.
We hope this guide has helped, we'd love to see you and your four-legged friends out and about on your winter adventures so be sure to tag us on Instagram and use #PawsomeLandL!