How Cold Is Too Cold To Walk Your Dog Outside?

If you're a dog person, you're more than aware that, if the weather is too hot, the sidewalks will be even hotter. According to the Madison Animal Care Hospital, it's considered risky to take your pooch out in temperatures over 77 degrees Fahrenheit. This is especially true if you can't keep the back of your hand on the pavement for more than five seconds as a test of its warmth. If it's too hot for your hand, your dog's paws will definitely get burned.

High temperatures can also cause heatstroke in dogs, so it's recommended that you take them on shorter, less intense walks to prevent this, as well as dehydration, from occurring. As Memphis Veterinary Specialists & Emergency notes, certain dog breeds are more susceptible to heatstroke than others, particularly those with thick fur and short noses, or any dog that has a medical condition that makes them more prone to heat-related complications.

Obviously, there's a lot to consider when it's hot outside. But what about when it's freezing cold? We never want to make mistakes with our dogs, but there might be temperature thresholds after which it's too cold to walk your dog outside.

Dogs can suffer from hypothermia and frostbite like humans

Walking dogs is a little more confusing when it comes to cold weather. Thankfully, Mental Floss shared a handy infographic made by pet insurance company Petplan based on a model developed by Tufts University to determine how dogs respond to weather conditions depending on their breed and build. The scale gives the current temperature a rating out of 5, with 1 being no risk and 5 being "potentially life-threatening cold" for the dog. It also offers modifiers for extraneous circumstances. For example, you add 2 to the score if it's wet outside, and you subtract 1 point if your dog has a "heavy coat" or is used to cold weather.

Beginning at 40 degrees Fahrenheit, you should keep an eye on your dog, and not let it stay outside too long. For small dogs, the risk of life-threatening coldness begins around 20 degrees Fahrenheit, while it begins around 10 degrees for larger dogs. As Mental Floss explains, just as boiling temperatures can cause heatstroke, freezing temperatures can pose risks of frostbite and hypothermia in dogs just as in humans.

Basically, once your thermometer goes below 30 degrees Fahrenheit, you should keep your walks brief. You can also protect your dog from the cold by bundling your pooch up with fluffy coats and jackets, as well as water-resistant booties (via The Dogington Post). These paw protectors not only protect from icy, snowy ground, but also prevent toxic chemicals from products like de-icer from clinging between their toes.