How Cold Is Too Cold For A Dog To Sleep Outside? A Complete Sleep Guide

Have you got a dog and you want to make sure it’s safe even when it’s outside? We all love our pups and want to ensure their safety and comfort. Letting the dog sleep outside can be a difficult decision for many considering all the confusion around the topic of perfect outdoor temperatures for dogs. If you want to know how cold is too cold for a dog to sleep outside, read on!

Love that smile that reeks pure, unconditional love from every angle? Indeed, our pets give us the great joy of knowing and feeling love in its purest, unadulterated form. Pets are amazing in many ways: they help us with depression, anxiety, loneliness, and stress.

All pets are capable of helping their owners in magical ways, but ever wonder why dogs are given preference over other animals ? Science and experience have proven dogs’ remarkable social abilities that many others in the animal kingdom lack. From special social cognition and intelligence to the ability to easily form affectionate connections with other species, dogs have been surprising us for years with remarkable abilities.

Dogs love quite ferociously and with undaunting loyalty , but they require our love and care to thrive too. It’s certainly not a one-way transaction with the owner at the receiving end. Dogs’ special cognition and intelligence make them ideal for companionship, but as an owner, you need to understand that you’ll be caring for a living being with physical and emotional needs.

Your dog is your love but it’s a DIFFERENT SPECIES.

Let this sink in. Your dog is not like you and needs to be cared for in a unique way- the dog way! Your noble thoughts aside, dogs are not humans and have different needs. So, before you go ahead with a plush bed with perhaps a spring mattress ( cuz you have it for yourself), read the article below to know how a dog needs to be put to sleep, what’s too cold for a dog, where they should sleep and a lot more related to the topic.

Dogs and temperature tolerance

Dogs may look soft and tender, but they are incredibly strong when it comes to temperature tolerance. While you may want to keep your dog warm like yourself, you should know they wouldn’t mind colder temperatures at all. In fact, they’ll like it colder than you do on a winter night.

Most dogs have a preference of preferring colder versus warmer temperatures, or vice versa. Some dogs prefer the cold and enjoy laying on cool tile floors and spending time in the snow and lower temperatures. Other dogs prefer warmth and staying inside cuddling on their cozy bed by the fireplace.

However, a dog’s tolerance for cold doesn’t mean you can throw your dog outside without checking the temperature. You’ve got to be careful when it comes to your furry friends. Not all dogs are alike and they all do not have the same level of temperature tolerance.

You might wanna check cold tolerance according to these factors:

  • Age
  • Size
  • Breed differences
  • Hair coat length
  • Medical concerns
  • Acclimation

Temperature regulation in dogs

Whether you set your thermostat higher or lower is usually a matter non-concern for your pet because animals, in general, are very good at temperature regulation. Dogs, cats, reptiles and many other animals are pretty good at adapting to the environment around them and mildly exaggerated temperatures are not much of a concern. BUT, there definitely are limits.

Like mentioned above, different breeds have different tolerance levels. As a general rule, you should know that fat and furry dogs are going to hate heat while short and less hairy dogs are likely to mind the cold more.

You can definitely expect your dog to put up with a 10 degree up and down limit, but do not go any further than this. Leaving your dog out on an extremely cold night can be dangerous and so is an overheated house.

So, temperature may not be a big issue if you are being reasonable and minding the limits, but things can quickly go the wrong way if you make a grave mistake of making the house too cold or leaving the dog out too long in extremely low temperatures.

How cold is too cold for dogs?

Given the significant difference between what humans and dogs can handle, it’s crucial for dog owners to understand what’s too cold for their pets to prevent leaving them outside in potentially fatal temperatures. Our general belief that dogs can withstand the cold may lead to dangerous decisions.

While dogs can endure the cold better than humans, they have their limits. There are occasions when dogs can be left outside without frequent checks, but there are also times when they require close monitoring.

Temperature is not the only concern when leaving your dog outside, and a dog’s tolerance to temperature depends on several factors.

The best approach is to install an outdoor thermostat to accurately monitor the temperature. This allows you to ensure your dog is safe and comfortable. Factors such as breed, acclimation, coat thickness, age, and more play a role in determining a dog’s temperature tolerance when outdoors.

Ideal indoor temperatures for dogs

Summer indoors is needed to be cooler for both dogs as well as humans so just stick to the usual 75-78 degrees. However, beware of leaving it too high while you are going out. You could be thinking of saving your money on electric bills when turning the temperature higher while you are away,but it can backfire really bad with your pet going through hell in the incinerator of a house after you are gone.

So, anything above 80 degrees is a no go regardless of the particular breed.

In the winters, you can set the temperature between 68-72, never exceeding 60 degrees. Below this temperature, there is no guarantee of the safety of your pup.

Before we set the temperature for our dog friend, let’s see if qq are doing a good thing, making him sleep outside:

Should dogs sleep outside?

Many people argue that dogs are better off outside because they get more exercise, fresh air, and can enjoy being close to nature. Some breeds may even appear suited to the harsh, natural environment. However, veterinary science disagrees with this approach.

Veterinarians emphasize that dogs are social animals that thrive on companionship and prefer to stay close to their owners. They are not happy being left alone outside and often miss their family throughout the night. If you’ve ever had a dog, you know how eagerly they greet you in the morning, having missed you terribly and looking forward to reuniting. This behavior reflects the psychology of a dog.

Emotionally, dogs do not like being left alone outside. Physically, they require comfortable temperatures and are not equipped to handle extreme cold or heat.

Where should dogs sleep?

While we are talking of the best and most suitable night temperatures for our furry friends, it wouldn’t hurt to know where dogs should sleep.

There are quite few options when it comes to where your dog should ideally be sleeping.

1- Follow the lead

You should follow your dog’s lead in this matter. Your pup may wanna sleep inside your room or prefer outside, in the lounge or somewhere. You let him or her choose. No need to force anything. They will choose a place that suits their instincts best.

Some of them might want to sleep in with you. That’s when it can get slightly complicated. There are all sorts of opinions when it comes to letting your puppy sleep in with you. If you can, you can let it sleep on top of your sheets. But do not let your dogs sleep in your bed.

2- Crate training

Crate training is awesome for many many benefits. It will not only let your dog friend snuggle up comfortably, it will also help patty train your pup. If you are a new dog owner, getting a crate for your dog is a great place to start at.

Crate lets your dog get cozy at night as well as hone in the dog if it tends to move around a lot during its sleep. You can leave a cozy, warm blanket for the dog to get comfortable sleeping.

Dogs naturally like enclosed spaces: they feel a sense of security in enclosed places and prefer them for resting at night.

Crates can help reduce anxiety and stress in dogs which means they will really be stress free.  The crate can easily become a dog’s cocoon and allow it the ultimate feeling of safety.

3- Your bed

Quite a few do owners let their dogs sleep in their beds and it’s for bonding. They do get a lot more attached to you when you’re spending most of your time with them, attached completely. However, co-sleeping won’t work for everyone.

Those who hate dog hair everywhere in bed won’t like to have FLUFFY in their beds. People with allergies won’t be able to support dogs in their own beds.

There are countless other scenarios in which co-sleeping may not suit either the dog or the owner. So, if you want to bond strongly and don’t mind dog hair, less space in bed, your bed can be a great resting place for your puppy love. But, definitely not the best option for all.

4- Dog bed

Who says dogs don’t like their own beds? Oh boy, they do. In fact, in some cases, they get too attached to their own beds, they refuse to sleep in any other place but their own designated bed. Many pet parents choose to get separate beds for their little love just like parents usually do for their small babies.

Dog beds can be fancy or just basic: a dog doesn’t have anything to do with the luxury and design of the bed. It is concerned with getting comfortable in it and adapting to the new place and feel. If you want to buy something fancy for your pooch, go ahead by all means because there’s really no harm in spending on your loved ones.

Dog beds help discipline your pet as well. They know their proper resting place, their boundary, and that means great for coexistence.

If you travel a lot and need to take your dog along, a dog accustomed to a bed is a great thing for you because you can just take the bex along and not worry about how your bud will sleep in the new place. Its bed will give it the feeling of familiarity that it needs to fall asleep easily and seamlessly.

Temperature safety for small dogs

Temperature tolerance works according to the age of the dog. The younger the dog, the more likely it is to get cold. Just like human kids, dog pups take time beefing up and being able to take a harsh hit. Puppies are at a greater risk of getting hypothermia, so here are the limits to watch out for.

  • 50-60 and higher is what we are looking for. Above this limit is comfortable for them unless it’s touching 80 and above.
  • You may have heard about 45 degrees being ok for dogs and it is true. Your dog is generally safe at 45, but we need to be extra careful with pups.
  • Between 30-40 degrees, things are potentially dangerous, so this is when you need to keep an eye on your pup. Watch out for signs of discomfort and do not ignore if you see any. When small, dogs won’t be able to handle cold effects for too long.
  • 25 and below is the time to be very vigilant. You don’t want to take it easy and at this limit. This is dangerous for your puppy and you need to be very careful while letting the little love out for walks and play.
  • Below 20 is straight fatal so negligence or unmonitored time is out of the question.

Temperature safety for medium sized dogs

Medium sized dogs behave quite a lot like their young friends. They are seen to behave and react the same way to temperature limits in general as small dogs. The only exception is that medium sized kids take 15-20 degrees much better than very small dogs.

While we are discussing these temperature limits, it’s important to keep in mind the fact that your dog can have a different level of temperature tolerance because of its own particular needs and concerns.

Temperature safety for large dogs

Although breeds matter, large dogs can tolerate low temperatures much better than smaller breeds. You can feel easy about temperature if your dog is big and furry.

  • Anything around 45 degrees is just perfect for your dog. You can let them out as much as you want, no danger of hypothermia.
  • Around 40 you gotta be careful only if you have a specific breed. Otherwise, there is no danger at this temperature.
  • 20-35 degrees is when you should not let your dogs unattended for extended periods. Keep an eye out for signs of danger, but do not completely restrict outdoors.
  • 15 degrees and lower is not ideal for dogs even if they are big ones. This is when you hit the danger zone and would want to restrict their outdoor time.

Symptoms of hypothermia

It’s great to know temperature tolerance limits in dogs pertaining to their sizes and particular breeds, but it’s also crucial to be acquainted  with symptoms of hypothermia as well so you can spot it early on and get help when it really matters.

Of course, no one wants to lose their precious pet. Here are some important signs and symptoms of hypothermia:

  • Weakness
  • Shivering
  • Inaudible or very faint heartbeat
  • Breathing issues

If your pet is showing any of these signs and you know it’s been outside,it’s time to give your vet a call. Do not delay because hypothermia and frostbite can be fatal.

In the meantime, try your best to keep your pet comfortable and warm.

Grab a blanket and or some warm sheets and wrap your pet for warmth and comfort until help reaches. Avoid using heating pads because they can do further damage by burning your precious pet’s delicate skin.

experiences any of these symptoms after being out in the cold, it’s important that you give your vet a call right away. Keep your pet in a warm area and cover them with warm blankets/towels (avoid using heating pads, as these can burn your pet). Then take your dog to the vet as soon as possible.

Tips on taking care of pets during winters

Winter is no fun for anyone, whether it’s the owners or the pets.  It’s cold, dreadful, rainy, windy,  and snowy and sometimes all of the above at the same time.

If this wasn’t enough, inversions set the stage for disasters.

Here are those extra steps to ensure your pet gets past the dangers of cold and desolation this time of the year brings:

1- The in-and-out cycle

Think you are doing your dog a favor alternating between in and out time? Letting your dog out and back several times a day isn’t a good idea by any means. It’s no fun at all for they can get dryness, irritation and flaky skins with this kind of frequent temperature fluctuation.

Winters are already pretty hard on skin with all sorts of dryness issues setting in. Continual alterations can worsen the situation. To help ease dry skin issues, the best you can do is using a humidifier to add some hydration factor to the extremely dry , warm air indoors.

It is also crucial to dry your pet with a towel when it comes back after being outside to avoid dry skin issues. Check your pet thoroughly for any snow that may have gotten into the hair. It usually gets stuck in the paws.

2- Hair cuts

Winters are not the time to give your pet love a haircut because hair is going to keep your dog warm during winters. You should however trim the very long hair of your pet that drags on the ground because those locks can lock in snow, leading to extreme dryness and skin irritation.

If you have a dog that’s got no hair cover at all and  you live in extremely cold temperatures, then get ready for some sweaters and jackets to keep the dog belly warm.

3- Pauses for paws

Cleaning your pet’s cute paws is crucial because if you don’t, you could be causing your little darling more harm than favor. After your pet’s been outside, thoroughly clean their paws with water and dry them with a towel to get any rock salt traces out.

People sprinkle salt to clear snow during peak snow and that salt can get stuck in your pet’s paws. If left untreated it can burn, itch, dryness, inflammation and kf your dog ends up licking it,  poisoning will be the end result. So, thoroughly clean Fido’s paws after a walk outdoors. Symptoms of salt poisoning, include:

  • Drooling
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • puking
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

If you’d like to prevent the whole drama of your pooch catching ice chemicals, you can rub vaseline on them before they venture outsiðe for a pleasant walk.  Better still, buy a pair of special booties for your little love. They’ll resist and hate them for restricting their paws. It’s natural for them to get irritated and resist in the beginning, but they’ll get used to them eventually.

Using ice melts becomes indispensable at a particular time of the year. Of course, you can’t get yourself the entire house buried under snow. But it doesn’t cost much to be thoughtful of pets_ your own or others’.

Here are some pet friendly ice melts brands:

  • Pestell Paw Thaw
  • Safe Paws Ice Melt
  • Safe Step
  • Road Runner Blend Ice Melt
  • And Safe Pet Ice Melt (just to name a few)

4- Winter baths

Reduce pet baths when it gets cold outside. Sure you have a hot water bath ready for the furry, but bathing frequently during winters can take away natural oils shields off  your pet and it can lead to dry and irritated skin.

Give your dog a bath when it’s absolutely indispensable and even then choose shampoos and soaps with extra moisture to help keep skin hydrated.

5- Avoid no antifreeze

Your pup may think of antifreeze as a sweet treat but keep it strictly out of its reach. It’s poison for both cats and dogs. If you use it at home, thoroughly clean the surface where antifreeze is used before letting out your precious darling. .

Some signs of antifreeze poisoning are:

  • Drunken behavior
  • Delirium or extremely happy
  • Wobbly, uncoordinated movement
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Excessive urination
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Weakness
  • Seizures, convulsions or shaking tremors
  • Fainting
  • Coma

Apart from these obvious signs, if you have a shred of doubt about your dog having taken antifreeze, call your vet instantly.

6- Increase food intake

Just like humans, winters require more energy even from dogs because our bodies are burning more calories to keep us warm and cozy. To keep up with the increased fuel burn, it’ll be a good idea to give them more food during colder days and nights to help their bodies optimize the natural heating system for them.

It’s not just about food, you need to give them plenty of fresh water as well, so their skins are not dehydrated due to heated houses.

7- Bed time

Provide a comfortable sleeping space with warm blankets and covers so your pooch doesn’t have to feel lonely, cold and abandoned during those long and dreary winter nights. For complete guidance on indoor temperatures and places to sleep in, see above. We have discussed indoor sleeping temperatures for dogs in great detail.

8- Your car

Homeless dogs and cats and even those pets that are made to sleep outside the house can find cars very attractive because of the warm, cozy and enclosed engines. It’s not a problem until the owner starts the vehicle in the morning while the animal is still resting inside.

This will end in a very bad way every time so, always honk a few times before starting the engine.

You may want to kick the hood a couple times so the unknown guests get the signal it’s time to leave.

Also, never leave your pet in the car for long. Cars can trap colds and lead to fatalities because dogs won’t be able to regulate temperature in such a small space.


Dogs are lovely companions, amazing friends and joyful company. You have one, you’ve got no time for boredom. While it’s a perfect love story with a dog as a pet, you have to care for it like a small baby who won’t be able to communicate its needs like an adult human. Leaving your dog out thinking they love it outside during harsh winters is not a good idea ever.

Dogs have good temperature tolerance abilities but they are not completely immune to colds. There are limits on what they can bear. Watch out for temperature tolerance limits in different breeds, age, and size. Read the article for complete information on how to take care of a dog during winters and what is too cold for a dog.