Just like humans, each dog has a different level of tolerance for cold weather.Some pups won’t deign to step outdoors in the winter, while others are perfectly content to roll through the snow. But is it safe for your dog to spend hours at time frolicking through your backyard’s winter wonderland alone? The answer, as usual, is that it depends.
The Breed MattersYour dog’s breed will go a long way in determining how well they adapt to cold weather. As you can probably imagine, shorthaired dogs like Chihuahua’s don’t adapt well to freezing temperatures. They simply don’t have enough fur to protect them. Other breeds, like Alaskan Malamutes, seem to thrive in the dead of winter. That’s because they have an added layer of protection hiding beneath their outer coats. The thick undercoat found in breeds like Huskies, Malamutes, and Akitas helps to insulate them from the cold. A good indicator of whether or not your dog is naturally prepped for the snow is to watch how it collects on their fur. If you notice your dog lying idle in the snow, and it doesn’t seem to be melting as it piles on top of them, that’s because their undercoat is doing its job. However, if you notice that the snowfall is melting and your pup is getting wet, it’s time to bring them inside.
Exceptions to the RuleWhile most northern, heavy-coated breeds will do just fine in the snow, there are exceptions to the rule. Huskies living down in Florida, for instance, probably won’t adapt to the cold the way they are typically bred to, due to such an extreme difference in climate. Healthy, young dogs are also able to stand the cold better than older dogs with compromised immune systems. One glaring exception to keep in mind is that under no circumstances should puppies under eight weeks of age be left out in snowy or cold weather, no matter the breed. Their immune system hasn’t developed enough at this point for it to be safe for them to withstand frigid temperatures, and their undercoats have not fully grown in.