The weather outside is frightful and my Siberian huskies thrive in cold weather. But how cold is too cold for your dog? In my area, it didn’t snow yet, but the temperatures are below zero. Siberian huskies enjoy going for a walk and exercise outside during winter. They wear all that fur all year round and now this keeps them warm. And they want to make the most of it. I don’t advise shaving huskies not even during summer days. Their fur serves a purpose. Proper grooming a husky at home it’s enough to keep him healthy and happy.
Don’t be surprised if your husky wants to go outside during cold days and not stay with you in the comfy and heated house. My huskies want to play more outside and they come inside for taking naps and chew on theirs treats.
How cold is too cold for a Siberian husky
You might wonder how cold is too cold for a Siberian husky? Well, you’ll find answers such as they can withstand temperatures as cold as -51 °C (-60 degrees F) or -30 °C. These temperatures are not a general rule, dogs can withstand cold temperature only if they have tolerance. Obviously, “can withstand” doesn’t mean they don’t feel the cold.
The environment in which the dog was born and raised, influences the maximum or minimum temperature he can withstand. If your living in a warm climate zone, then your Siberian husky isn’t adapted at really cold and harsh weather. For example, if your dog is used to the Florida climate, he won’t be able to stay and sleep outside in Norway during winter. This is why some huskies feel the cold more than others. We’ll talk more about how you can understand when it’s too cold for your furry Siberian husky in this article.
How about the sled races and huskies?
Siberian dogs that are chosen for sled races are bred and trained for that. Not every northern breed dog is chosen for sled racing. Musher chooses dogs that can tolerate cold weather. The tolerance to the low temperatures depends on the health, age, coat density, nutritional status and the ability of the dog to hold their heat.
Also, even sled dogs have extra protection during the race and warm and dry environment at checkpoints. During the race, Siberian huskies may wear some booties and even some fleece coats during windy weather. The booties will avoid the formation of ice balls between the paw pads but they don’t add warmth. Dog’s boots only have the role to protect the dog’s paws. At checkpoints, the mushers have beds made of fresh bales of hay and coats for dogs.
When northern dogs are not racing, they are kept in well-insulated dog houses. The dog houses are small enough to allow them to be warmed with body heat and big enough to allow them to move inside. Bedding of fresh hay is made almost every day. The hay must be dry in order to insulate.
You can also read: Siberian Husky breed characteristics – how do you know you got a Husky?
Should huskies be kept outside?
Siberian huskies are active dogs that need to run and play outside too. They have plenty of energy to burn even during winter. Keep their minds sharp with some training sessions and try to teach them new commands outside.
No matter where you live, your dog should enjoy the freedom of running outside, in a safe place, or in a leash with you. You can go jogging, running, biking or skateboarding with your dog. You have to make sure your dog will not overheat outside during summer or getting too cold during winter. Just look for the signs. You’ll able to see if your dog is not doing too well outside at too high or too low temperatures. Don’t let your dog outside if he isn’t comfortable. Offer him shelter from the sun during the hot summer days or the windy and freezing winter nights.
My huskies are inside and outside dogs. They can play as much as they want in the yard, but I’m keeping them inside all night. During summer, my huskies will rather stay inside and avoid the sun during the day and play outside more in the morning and after the sunset. I also walk my puppies only early in the morning and after the sunset during summer. Now, when the winter is here, my huskies schedule is almost the same. After the morning walk, my dogs play and run in the yard. When they played enough, they come in the house for a proper nap. They don’t sleep outside but this is the way they are used too.
I taught my huskies to potty outside and to ask to be left out if it’s the time for that. It really helps me during the winter when they spend more time in the house. You can learn here about how to potty train your puppy.
Can Huskies sleep outside in the winter?
How cold is too cold for a Siberian husky to sleep outside? As I said earlier, you have to know your dog’s tolerance to cold. Keep in mind, that the temperature from the thermometer is not the only factor that has an impact on your dog. Other factors such as wind, fog, snow or freezing rain will make your dog feel colder. Elderly dogs, puppies, and dogs with health conditions will also feel the cold quickly. These dog categories shouldn’t be let to sleep outside during winter cold nights. Also, if you have a dog that isn’t accustomed to the below zero temperatures, you shouldn’t let him sleep outside all night.
If you want to let your dog sleep outside, you should have a dog house for him in which he will also sleep. Make sure that he will sleep in the dog house. Many dogs will ignore the dog house and wait at the door for a chance to get in. Give him some treats and train him to stay in the dog house. Use hay to make a bed for him and add some blankets. If the hay or the clothing is wet, then it isn’t properly insulated and it should be changed.
Your dog needs water during the night too, even during cold winter nights. If you’re letting to stay outside then you should have a heated water bowl. By using a heated water bowl, the water will not turn into a big chunk of ice and your furry friend will have water during the night.
How do Siberian huskies survive the cold?
Huskies have stand-off double coat of fur and fat
Your husky’s body retains heat by increasing its insulation with fat and fur. I don’t mean that it’s ok to have a chubby husky. I’m referring here to the normal and healthy layer of fat. The double coat plays a major role. Those two furry layers will keep your husky warm during winter. The long hairs are almost water-resistant and they will prevent snow from seeping into the undercoat. The undercoat made of small length hairs is forming a dense layer of insulation that will keep his body warm.
Perfect and protective built-in earmuffs during winter for Siberian Huskies
Every Siberian husky has dense and fine hair that protects the sensitive portion of the ear, retain heat and prevent frostbite.
Warm husky paws for running during winter
The blood circulates quickly from the dog’s pad through the legs. This way, the blood will warm back up before arriving back into the body.
Furry husky tail for cold winter days
Besides the fact that the husky’s tail is fluffy and gorgeous, it also keeps him warm during winter. You might see your dog sleeping curled up in a sphere shape and covering his nose with his tail. Doing so, your smart dog protects the moist nose but it also inhales warm air. Basically, your husky’s tail is just like a built-in scarf.
How do you know if your husky is too cold?
As we mentioned before, Siberian huskies have a number of biological characteristics that helps them survive in cold weather. Still, huskies are different from each other and they adapt differently. It also depends if the husky is acclimated to the changing seasons and how cold it is winter in your region. It’s important to know your own dog’s ability to tolerate cold. If you’re letting your dog outside for some hours during winter or you want to go for long walks you should pay attention to your furry buddy and check if there are any signs of discomfort.
Dog signs when he is too cold
- If your dog is shivering you should let him in the house to warm up.
- Your husky may start whining or barking while making eye contact with you if it is too cold form him outside. Siberian huskies are pretty vocal and they don’t hold back. Your husky will try to tell you what is not right for them.
- When you’re walking your dog and you notice that he is holding up a paw, you should check if he has ice between the pads.
- Walking slowly during walks in order to preserve heat it’s another sign that is too cold for your dog.
Watch your dog and check for any signs of discomfort during walks. If you’re letting him play in the yard during winter, don’t forget to check on him from time to time to see if he’s not too cold. Keep your dog safe.
Winter safety tips for dogs
- Don’t let the elderly dogs, puppies, and dogs with health conditions outside during harsh winter nights. Their bodies may not produce sufficient heat in order to keep them warm.
- Even if he loves playing in the snow, bring your dog inside your home from time to time so he can warm-up.
- Keep your dog hydrated during winter too. If you’re letting your dog outside for a couple of hours, he should have a heated water bowl. He needs to drink water during his stay outside too.
- More food during winter for working and active dogs. Add more food to your dog diet if you’re spending lots of hours outside running and playing in the snow with him. If you’re skipping walks during winter, then you shouldn’t increase his food portion. I wrote more about a proper diet or feeding schedule here.
- Do you live in a zone where the level of pollution is high or in a city where they use salt or chemical deicers? Then you shouldn’t let your dog eat the snow because of the risk of ingesting chemicals or salt.
- Avoid walking your dog on the roads where chemicals and salt have been used. If you have no other option then you could get him used to wear boots or wash his feet after you came back from the walk. You can clean your buddy’s paws with a warm washcloth too. Doing so, your dog will not lick and ingest salt or chemical deicers. On the market, there are pet-friendly ice melters, but unfortunately, it’s not used often in the city area. It is a bit more expensive, but it doesn’t affect your dog. You can use pet-safe ice melter in your garden, or where your dog can play outside. Also, boots can prevent the formation of little ice balls between the paw pads.
- Your dog doesn’t want to wear boots during walks? Use a spray or a cream that protects your husky’s paws. Wipe your dog’s paws when you arrive home to remove any remaining street salt.
I hope this article can help you understand how to tell what is your Husky’s cold tolerance, or when it just too cold for him outside. You can also read about how to improve your dog’s immune system.