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How Well Does Your Dog Handle the Cold?

December 1, 2020

It won’t be long before the coldest part of the year is upon us. And that means that we ought to be thinking about our canine friends’ comfort and safety just as much as our own. Some dogs are well-equipped to handle cold weather, and some aren’t—do you know where your pooch falls? Learn more below as your Tipp City, OH vet discusses a few factors that affect your dog in cold weather. 

Type of Coat

What kind of coat your dog has makes a big difference when it comes to how they fare in the cold. Siberian Huskies, for example, have a thick, double-layered coat that is designed to protect them against the elements. But a breed like a Greyhound has a thin, single-layered coat that doesn’t keep them very warm. You’ll want to put a coat on your Greyhound when it’s cold outside, but doing so on a Siberian Husky could actually cause them to get too hot! 

Age and Health

As you might imagine, the dogs who are best equipped for dealing with cold, wet weather are healthy adults. Elderly dogs and young puppies aren’t as prepared to deal with cold temperatures. And keep in mind that any dog suffering from a compromised immune system or dealing with an illness of some kind will need extra protection in the winter months. 


Body fat is a good insulator for heat. So, dogs with a little fat on them will probably stay a bit warmer as compared to a dog who is too skinny. Still, it’s not recommended that you try to “fatten up” your dog for the winter—this could cause more problems that it solves. Your best bet is to keep your dog at a healthy weight via proper diet and exercise. If they need a little help staying warm in the winter, try out a doggy parka, jacket, or sweater. 


As a general rule, a smaller dog will get cold far more easily than a large dog. This is because of the scientific fact that a small dog has a greater surface-area to volume ratio. This means that a small dog has more skin in relation to their internal organs than a large dog does, so they have more skin through which they can lose heat. Who knew? 

Is your dog prepared for the cold? Talk to your Tipp City, OH veterinarian for more advice.