When is it too cold to walk your dog?


Dog Winter Clothing


  • Why does my dog not want to walk?
  • When is it too cold to walk your dog?
  • Indoor activities while you wait
It’s freezing cold out, you have the heating blasting and the mere thought of going out and braving the cold probably isn’t the most attractive idea. Still, your pooch needs a walk, right? So you get your thickest coat on and slip into some wellies but when you get outside you’re suddenly not the only one that’s hesitant about walking in the cold.
You might be guilting yourself into going out and braving the weather but sometimes our canine companions are the ones who don’t want to go on their daily walk!

Why does my dog not want to walk?

Dogs can get cold too and when they get cold they might decide they don’t want to walk. It’s always important to allow your pup the option to decide from time to time. There are certain things they can’t control like going to the vet or how early you can get home from work to feed them their dinner. In situations where you can, it’s nice to give them options. If they don’t want to walk it’s no good forcing them to do something they won’t enjoy but you can try to make some changes to see if it encourages them to go for a stroll with you.
There’s always a chance that your pooch could be refusing to walk because they’re not feeling well. A sore foot or even a bad stomach can make them want to cuddle up indoors instead. Missing the occasional walk won’t hurt but if you suspect it’s the temperatures that are putting them off, you can try to help them out a little.

Bundle up from the cold!

Any time we go for a walk in the Winter, we don’t leave home without our thickest coat and while some pups do a great job at growing them themselves, others don’t. For our canine companions who don’t grow a nice thick winter coat, we might have to help them bundle up to make their walks in Winter much more pleasant. The degree of bundling they’ll need will depend on how much coat they already have and what the weather is like. A longer coated pooch might just need some protection from the worst of the elements from a coat like the Joules Red Raincoat Large. The lightweight raincoat will protect against rain, splashes and wind while not weighing your pooch down.
image of dog with scarf on in the snow
For shorter coats, you may want a little more warmth like the Rufus & Rosie Padded Jacket offers. The padded design gives an extra layer of warmth and the easy velcro fastening makes it easy to put on and take off. The padded jacket doesn’t restrict movement like some coats with sleeves might so while it doesn’t offer as much coverage, it’s great for pups who are only starting to get used to wearing clothes to keep them nice and warm.
If there’s no chance of rain and you don’t need waterproof protection, the Rufus & Rosie Fleece Jumper Medium is the perfect cosy sweater. The high end material is lightweight and great for short coated dogs like Italian Greyhounds who would appreciate the super soft sweater. Putting on a coat or jumper before you leave the house with your pup will stop them feeling the immediate temperature change quite so strongly and they’ll be more likely to want to go on a stroll with you.

When is it too cold to walk your dog?

There is no one temperature that tells you it’s too cold to walk your pup in general, but there are in fact several factors that need to be taken into account. First, the breed of your pooch. If you have a husky or an Alaskan malamute, these breeds were specifically bred to withstand the cold. They have thick double layered coats to help prevent them from catching a chill. A breed like a greyhound is going to feel a lot more of the cold as they’re built purely for speed which means they have a very thin coat to make them more streamlined. There’s also a big difference when it comes to the size of your dog.
Smaller dogs easily lose heat and are prone to getting cold more easily. If you consider their skin to be the thing that keeps them warm, smaller dogs have a larger surface to lose heat through in comparison to their relative volume. Bigger dogs are better at retaining heat. A smaller dog can start to struggle on walks at around 5°C. If the ground is frozen on a walk they are often much closer to it and so feel the cold a lot more than taller pups. For a large breed dog, they may only start to take notice and start to struggle when it drops below -5°C. No dog should be outside for long periods in temperatures of below -12°C, at that temperature getting too cold can be life threatening. Temperatures like this aren’t common but in December of 2022, Aberdeenshire did drop down to -17.3°C in December.

There’s too much ice and snow

When there’s snow and ice on the ground, it can become much trickier to contemplate going for a walk. Many dogs are hesitant to walk in the snow and while you should limit the time they are outside in this weather, it doesn’t mean you have to cancel all walks. If there is snow and ice on the ground, you just have to be a little more careful about where you walk and take extra time to keep both you and your pooch safe.

Alter your walking route

When you’re walking in the snow and the ice, it’s probably not the time to think about letting your pooch have a run around off lead. They might slip or run too far out. Roads can be dangerous during these periods, along with any areas of water like lakes so keeping your pup on lead will make sure you all stay safe. It’s also a good time to consider where you’re walking. If your canine companion doesn’t do well on the ice, you can direct your walks to more grass covered areas where they’re less likely to be anxious about slipping.
If there’s heavy snow, your walking route might be a short lap around the block to keep warm but with the right dog coat, you can still stretch your legs.

It’s too wet out and won’t stop raining

Winter can feel like the rain is never ending in the UK. This January, there was a whopping 125.7mm of rainfall. You might want to wait for a break in the rain but if it’s relentless and you still need to take your pooch for a walk and a toilet break, you can cover up. A raincoat like the Rufus & Rosie, Protect-A-Suit is about as protective as you can get. Not only is it waterproof but it covers their back and all the way down their legs as well. If your pooch doesn’t like the feeling of getting their coat soaked when you go for a wet walk, this might help coax them out with you.

A pamper session when you get home

image of dog next to a fire
Another way to get your pup out for a walk on the wettest of days this winter is to give them something to look forward to. You’re going to probably need to dry their mucky paws off anyway so why not turn it into a whole pamper session? You can warm them up with a nice bath with a luxurious shampoo. The Rufus and Rosie Quick Dry Towel is great for getting all the moisture out of their coat and then they can finish trying under a nice warm blanket or by the fire. They’ll love the spa treatment so much, they’ll be excited to go on their next rainy walk! 

Indoor activities while you wait

This year we have had 21 storms that have all been powerful enough to earn their very own name. There are always going to be occasions where you might feel the wind is too strong or the rain just won’t ease up enough to get your pooch out for their regular walk. You might have to plan to go out later or postpone it entirely. When you are stuck inside with your canine companion, it’s important to give them things to do to prevent them from getting bored. Stimulation toys are a great way to get them focussed on something like a stuffed Kong can keep them busy for a good while.
When it really gets cold out, you might just need to get creative with ways to lure your pooch out for a walk. However, if they’re really insistent they don’t want to go, it could be a better idea to keep nice and warm indoors until the weather improves. Every dog is an individual and their threshold will be a little different. For everything you need for those cold wintery walks and all the indoor activities you could want, visit us in store and online.