How Long Can A Dog Stay Outside In The Cold?

How Long Can A Dog Stay Outside In The Cold?

Winter is something that we all enjoy. The snowfall calls us outside to play and have fun despite how cold it is. We are doing all the games outside while bundled up in layers and layers of clothing.

But our dogs may just have their fur coat to keep them warm. Even if you put a dog jacket and boots on your fluffy, how long can a dog stay outside in the cold? And we are going to find out the answers to that. 

So, How long can a dog stay outside in the cold? The recommended time for a dog to stay outside during winter is 15 to 45 minutes, depending on dogs’ coat, age, size, etc. It is wise to let him out when the temperature drops only for a short walk to relieve themselves. 

Even though we have access to a wide array of winter clothing, our dogs may not have the same privilege. The only thing that will protect them from the stinging cold will be their fur coats.

Even though you try to put a jacket and a scarf on them, they may refuse. So, try to train the pet from puppy age to wear clothes.

How Long Can A Dog Stay Outside In The Cold?

As I have repeatedly stated in many previous articles, how a dog feels cold depends on a few factors. The dog’s breed, age, size, fur type, health level, etc., are some of them.

But many dogs start to feel the drop in the surrounding temperature when the thermometers go below 45⁰ Fahrenheit. 

Dog breeds that are immune and adapted to colder climates can stay outside even when the temperature is negative. But other breeds will not be able to go out once the temperature drops below 32⁰ Fahrenheit.

Especially smaller dogs will not be able to regulate their body temperature and will freeze after a couple of minutes. 

Now let’s get to the primary question you asked us; How long can a dog stay outside in the cold? 

No matter how cold it is, a dog must do what it has to do. So when the temperature is still above 32 degrees, you can take the pets out for a quick walk to relieve themselves and play games for 15 to 45 minutes.

After that, take the pup inside, and let them warm up for about half an hour before letting them outside again. 

Throughout the time you spend outside with the pet, you must also keep a close eye on him. Take note of whether they are slowing down or showing any type of discomfort. If so, taking the pet inside, drying them up, and bundling them in a warm blanket will be the best thing to do. 

If you have a canine with short hair and a small body, you may have to limit the walk to 20 minutes max. But if he’s a big boy with a thick fur coat, going up to 45 minutes will not be a problem. Either way, you must keep a very close eye on the dog. 

Another thing you must consider is the temperature. You may not be able to take the doggo out for a 45-minute-long walk if the temperature is as low as 15 degrees. If so you must keep the walk short for around 5 to 10 minutes and bring the fluffy back home.

What Happens To Dogs If They Are Outside In Cold Temperatures For Too Long?

Just like in humans, dogs feel cold too. They might be able to tolerate up to a few degrees more than what humans feel uncomfortable in.

Yet, when they are feeling discomfort, the repercussions may be fatal. Dogs develop a few conditions due to exposure to a severe cold or being in the cold for too long. 

When researching how long a dog can stay outside in the cold, you must also know about these conditions. 

The first condition is called hyperthermia. It is where the canine’s core body temperature drops below what it should be. You can categorize the fatality of this condition into three levels.

Also, keep in mind that the core temperature of a fluffy is around 101.0 to 102.5°F. Although we call this fever in humans, this temperature is perfectly average in dogs. 

  • Mild hyperthermia – the dog’s core temperature is between 90 – 99°F
  • Moderate hypothermia – the dog’s core temperature is between 82 – 90°F
  • Severe hypothermia – the dog’s core temperature is less than 82°F

Some of the common symptoms of a hyperthermic dog are dilated pupils, delay in reflexes, being lazy, increased breathing, and abnormal heart rates. 

The next question is how to treat a hypothermic dog. 

If you could bring in the doggo before things get any severe, mild hyperthermia can be relieved with some warm blankets, bundle up the fluffy in a blanket and some added insulation. And the pet will return to normal within a few minutes. 

You will need some external heat source when the situation is moderate hyperthermia. You can use a small portable heater or a radiator. Bundle the dog in some blankets or a jacket and switch on the radiator to warm up the dog. 

But severe hyperthermia needs much more complex methods to save the dog from losing his life. You may have to rush to the pet care and get the dog some warm fluids in his body. It will increase the pet’s core temperature. 

Next is frostbite. It generally damages the fluffy’s skin and tissues. Blisters, body cold to the touch, swelling, blackened skin, pain, etc., are some of the common signs of frostbite.

Many dogs with severe hyperthermia may also have frostbite. You must first treat hyperthermia before treating this. 

So, here’s the complete answer to your question; How long can a dog stay outside in the cold? If you have any more questions about any area we didn’t cover in this article, feel free to comment your concerns below.

Stay tuned with Jack Russell Owner for more interesting posts about your favorite dog breed.


  • Dominic Parker

    Dominic P. is a dog behavioral researcher who graduated from the University of Surrey and holds BVMsi (Hons) in Veterinary Medicine and Science. He has been around dogs since childhood and has unconditional love for dogs. It makes him become a researcher instead of practicing as a veterinarian. Dominic enjoys his work and likes to share his findings with dog parents to give them a better understanding of dogs’ behaviors.

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