How Cold Is Too Cold for Pit Bulls? A Guide to Keeping Pitties Warm

Winter is coming, and many owners wonder if Pit Bulls are winter dogs or summer dogs. Everyone has their preferences, but bodies also have limitations. When it comes to your Pit Bull, their physic is a major player during the cold weather.

How Cold Is Too Cold for Pit Bulls? Any temperature lower than 40-45 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4°C to 7°C) is too cold for Pit Bulls. They have very short coats that provide little protection from the cold, which puts them at risk of developing health problems such as Hypothermia. When the temperature drops so low, it’s best to keep your dog inside.

So, does this mean your Pit Bull can never go outside in winter or play in the snow? Keep reading to learn more about why Pit Bulls are more prone to cold and how to keep them warm.

How Cold Is Too Cold for Pit Bulls?

a photo of a pit bull in the snow to show how cold is too cold for pit bulls

Pit Bulls are not fans of the cold weather and any temperature lower than 40 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit 4.4°C to 7°C) is too cold for them to endure.

Staying for a long time in such low temperatures can cause your Pit Bull to develop frostbite or in worse cases hypothermia.

Not all Pit Bulls have the same endurance for the cold weather. Many factors including their age and health condition play a major role in how much freezing air they can be okay with.

Factors That Determine How Much Cold Can Your Pit Bull Bear

  1. Age and Health – Senior Pit Bulls are prone to many health issues, and their bodies are generally weaker than younger Pit Bulls, so they are less likely to be able to tolerate cold weather. This also applies to puppies and injured dogs.
  2. Size – Even though Pit Bulls are muscular and strong looking, they have very small bodies compared to other dogs. Their small bodies are more prone to cold temperatures, and their close proximity to surfaces makes it easier for them to catch colds and other winter diseases.
  3. Coat Color – The density of a Pit Bull’s hair coat isn’t the only thing that affects its ability to stay warm. Darker-colored coats have a better ability to absorb heat and warm a Pit Bull’s body than lighter-colored coats. 

Can Pit Bulls Sleep In The Cold?

Pit Bulls cannot tolerate the cold weather due to their short coat and small bodies; therefore, they cannot sleep in the cold.

Pit Bulls are also muscular dogs and have less fat on them than other dog breeds, which makes them more vulnerable to heat loss and poorly equipped to handle lower temperatures as fat helps keep the body’s temperature and prevents heat loss.

They require a heated space or at least a warm blanket in order to be able to sleep in cold weather.

You definitely should never leave your Pit Bull to sleep outside during the winter as they might develop Hypothermia.

Can Pit Bulls Play In The Snow?

Pit Bulls can play in the snow as long as you take the necessary precautions to keep them warm, such as putting them in a warm coat and winter boots.

It’s also a good idea to keep them moving as their high energy will help keep their bodies warm as they play in the snow.

Just don’t keep them out for too long, and make sure you keep an eye on them in case they show any sign of Hypothermia.

One thing you must keep in mind is that you need to clean them, especially their paws, thoroughly after you come from outside. That’s because the chemicals used by cities to melt the ice on roads can get to their paws and may hurt their paws.

You can simply wash their paws in the bath, although it’s not recommended as they will get snow everywhere, or you can use a paw cleaner.

A portable cleaner like the Dexas MudBuster Portable Dog Paw Cleaner is affordable, very easy to use, and gets the job done.

5 Factors That Make Your Pit Bull More Prone To Cold

There are many factors that make Pit Bulls more prone to cold than other dogs. Knowing the reason why your Pit Bull can’t withstand low temperatures will help you find the best ways to protect them from the chilly weather.

Short Coat

Pit Bulls have very short coats that do not act as very reliable protection from the cold weather. In addition, their short hair makes them more vulnerable to both extreme heat and cold.

Single Coat

Most dogs that can handle winter well, like Huskies, don’t just have a thick coat on their bodies, but they also have a softer layer of hair underneath the outer coat that keeps them extra warm and fuzzy during winter. 

Unfortunately for Pit Bulls, they do not have that second coat. And with their single light cold, the cold weather is not their best friend.

Some people believe that Pit Bulls can have long coats, and you can learn about long-haired Pit Bulls here.

Low Body Fat 

Pit Bulls are muscular dogs with lean bodies and low body fat. And even though this makes them very athletic and energetic, fat keeps dogs -and other creatures- warm in the cold weather.

So burning the fat in your body during winter is what keeps your body’s temperature high enough to combat the cold outside weather.

Small Size

Compared to many dogs, Pit Bulls are considered small in size. Even though they are quite heavy, it comes from the high percentage of muscle mass in their body rather than the overall body mass. 

Pit Bulls’ small bodies produce less heat than larger dogs, and the heat tends to escape the body quickly during winter, which leaves these small dogs more prone to cold.

Large Ears

Large dog ears act like radiators. During the summer, a Pit Bull’s large ears will help cool them off and keep them refreshed, but during the winter, it’s a disadvantage that makes it harder for them to stay warm. 

Most dogs who have to deal with one or two of these factors can be more adaptable to winter than Pit Bulls. But having to deal with all these factors at once makes winter a bit harder for Pit Bulls to bear than other dog breeds.

5 Ways To Keep Your Pit Bull Warm During Winter

Luckily, there are many ways for you to keep your Pit Bull warm and cozy during winter. Choose the methods that work best for you and your dog depending on the severity of the cold weather where you live.

Provide them with a good diet

Make sure to provide your dog with well-balanced meals that contain a lot of carbs and fat.

Don’t worry too much about them gaining weight because Pit Bulls have very high energy, and as long as they exercise enough, they will burn it all, and that will keep them warm.

Take them for walks in the sun

Whenever it’s sunny outside, take your Pit Bull out for a walk. The sun will help your dog thermoregulate better and will provide them with warm natural energy.

Pit Bulls hate being cooped up, and since it’s usually much colder in the nighttime, midday is the best time to exercise and walk.

Get them a warm dog coat

Consider buying your Pit Bull a winter coat for their walks and park visits during the cold season. A nice and cozy winter coat will be a good compensation for their natural short hair and single coat.

There are many options of suitable dog coats for each dog size. Do your research and buy one that will give your friend an extra layer of protection.

Wrap them in a blanket

Just like you, dogs love blankets. Pit Bulls are very cuddly dogs, and a soft, warm blanket will become their favorite object during winter.

You can add a soft blanket on their bed to make it toastier and another one to drape over them when they sleep or when they cuddle with you on the couch.

Invest in a heated dog shed

If you don’t usually keep your dog inside for whatever reason, you need to invest in a heated dog house/shed.

This might be a bit more expensive than keeping them inside with a blanket, but it’s a choice that you must make. 

What You Must Know About Hypothermia In Dogs 

Hypothermia is a dangerous condition that can happen to both humans and dogs when the body temperature drops too low. For dogs, if their body temperature drops below 99 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius), they can develop Hypothermia which in turn can result in cardiac arrests, respiratory failure, brain damage, and in extreme cases, death.

Here is a simple table to detect the severity of Hypothermia:

Mild Hypothermia90 – 99°F (32 – 37°C)
Moderate Hypothermia82 – 90°F (27 – 32°C)
Severe HypothermiaLess than 82°F ( 27°C)

The Symptoms Of Hypothermia In Dogs

According to PetMD, the signs of moderate Hypothermia include:

  1. Shivering
  2. Muscle stiffness
  3. Lethargy and delayed reflexes
  4. Paleness
  5. Cold body surface

In more severe cases of Hypothermia, these symptoms will appear:

  1. Irregular heartbeat
  2. Shallow breathing
  3. Dilated pupils
  4. Loss of conscious
  5. Going into coma

What To Do If Your Dog Gets Hypothermia?

If your dog shows signs of Hypothermia, the first thing you need to do is check its temperature. If their temperature is still higher than 82°F, you can treat them at home.

  1. Bring your dog inside a warm room
  2. Wrap your dog in a heavy blanket 
  3. Heat a bottle of water, wrap it in a blanket and place it near your dog’s abdomen
  4. Monitor their temperature every 10 minutes to make sure they’re getting better

If your dog’s temperature doesn’t get lower, or you catch Hypothermia after the dog’s temperature drops below 82°F, you need to immediately contact a veterinarian.

Make sure you keep your dog warm by putting them in a sweater or wrapping them tightly in a blanket as you take them to the vet. Severe Hypothermia is usually treated with warm IV fluids.

As for sweaters or coats, there are many options to choose from, but here is my quick pick:

Chilly Dog Boyfriend Dog Sweater

The Chilly Dog brand stays up with the latest fashion trends to make its canines fashionable while also keeping them warm. Their dimensions range from a teacup poodle to a Great Dane.

These are the most warm and high-quality pullovers available! Don’t let your dog freeze outside!

How To Prevent Hypothermia In The Future?

During the cold weather, you should always keep the possibility of Hypothermia in mind. Especially if your dog can’t thermoregulate or has a short coat like Pit Bulls.

  1. Never let your dog out while wet or damp. Make sure you dry your dog’s coat very well before you let them go outside. 
  2. Make sure you do bath time during the day. Daytime is considerably warmer during winter and will allow your dog to warm up after a bath faster.
  3. Provide your dog with a warm coat and dog boots. If your dog has short hair like Pit Bulls, an extra layer of clothing is essential to keep them warm.
  4. Avoid long walks during winter and limit time outside. Even if your dog begs to go outside, only do it in the morning for a short amount of time to keep them safe.
  5. Keep an eye out for early signs of Hypothermia and seek warmth immediately. Early detection can save your dog a lot of pain and be the saver of their life.

Related Questions 

How Long Can Pit Bulls Be In The Cold?

Pit Bulls can stay in the cold as long as the temperature does not drop below 40°F. If it’s raining or foggy outside, your Pit Bull might get colder faster even if the weather isn’t below 40°F. Keep an eye on the dog to determine if it’s too cold to stay outside.

Can Pit Bulls Be Outside Dogs?

Pit Bulls cannot be outside dogs for many reasons. Their short-haired coats cannot protect them from extreme weather. They cannot adapt to cold weather, and even high temperatures aren’t good for their health. 

Do Pit Bulls Need Sweaters?

Pit Bulls need sweaters and extra layers of clothes during cold winter weather to protect themselves. Their natural short coat is not made for extreme weather, and it provides poor protection in the cold. If you’re taking your Pit Bull outside in winter, make sure it has a sweater on.

How Long Can Dogs Walk In The Snow Bare Feet?

Large dogs can walk up to 30 minutes in the snow without boots, while smaller dogs such as Pit Bulls cannot withstand the cold for longer than 15-20 minutes. Boots help keep the dog’s feet warm and safe from frostbite and other dangerous conditions.

How Does Hypothermia Differ From Frostbite?

Hypothermia in dogs is much more dangerous than frostbite. Frostbite is a form of tissue damage and is not fatal, but it can be an early sign of Hypothermia which can be fatal. The symptoms can include shivering, body stiffness, and lethargy. 

Helpful Resources 

Hypothermia in Dogs: How Cold is Too Cold?

PitbullsHome Personally-Tested Picks for Pitties:

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