Do Pitbulls get cold in the winter?


Do Pitbulls get cold in the winter?

Do you have a Pitbull who loves to play in the yard? You probably wonder if he can stay outside when it is cold – in the winter or in the snow. Do these dogs get cold easily? How long is too long for them to stay outside?

The quick answer is yes, they do get cold in the winter and should not be left outside unsupervised without shelter. Of course, how susceptible your Pitbull is to the weather will depend on just how cold and snowy it is, as well as your dog’s age and physical shape.

Let’s look in detail at how Pitbulls do in the cold!

Table of Contents

Do Pitbulls get cold easily?

Some dog breeds have a thick coat to keep them warm – but Pitbulls do not! Yes, these dogs can get cold easily, especially if they are not moving.

Your Pitbull is probably fine while he is romping around in the snow or going on a walk with you. The heat his body generates during exercise will keep him warm and comfortable.

If your Pitbull is not moving however, he can very quickly cool out. His body heat is not trapped by a thick fut and basically escapes instantly. This is especially true if it is windy as well!

Any temperature below 40-45F is too low to leave your Pitbull outside for longer periods of time without checking on him. If it is wet (rainy or foggy), he will be especially cold.

Young Pitbull puppies get cold even quicker – you should not leave them outside if it is below 50F or wet and windy.

pitbull in the snow

Can Pitbulls be in the snow?

As long as your Pitbull is moving around he can be in the snow. You can take him on walks or throw the ball in the yard. The body heat he generates while running around will keep him warm.

However, you should not leave your Pitbull in the snow outside for longer periods of time. If you absolutely cannot keep your Pitbull indoors, you should invest into a heated dog house.

If you want to go on longer winter hikes with your Pittie, invest into a dog coat to keep him warm. Because his coat does not provide much insulation, he will love the added warmth from his clothes.

Senior dogs & cold

You need to be extra careful with senior dogs. Their metabolism slows down and they cannot withstand cold temperatures. While younger Pitbulls can romp around and keep warm when it is cool outside, senior dogs cannot move that fast anymore.

You should not leave your senior dog outside if the temperature is below 50F, especially if the weather is also wet and windy.

blue nose pittie outside

How can I keep my Pitbull warm outside?

If you are outside with your Pitbull, keep him warm by encouraging him to move. You can:

  • Throw a ball for him to fetch
  • Go jogging with him
  • Teach him some dynamic tricks, such as spinning in a circle or jumping over your legs
  • Race away and call your dog (this will not only make him move – but also strengthen his recall skills!)
  • Have him play with another dog
  • Play with a flirtpole, frisbee or tug toy with him

If your Pitbull is outside by himself, you will need some more preparations to make sure he stays warm enough.

  • Set up a sheltered area in your yard
  • Put up a heated dog house
  • Invest into a heated dog bed
  • Make sure he has access to water that does not freeze

Even with these precautions you should not leave your dog outside for long hours.

It is not advisable to have your Pitbull wear a sweater while you cannot supervise him. He could get it caught somewhere and then be stuck, or he could tear it with in an attempt to take it off.

(For that same reason, you should remove the collar from your Pitbull if you cannot supervise him for longer periods.)

What is the coldest temperature a Pitbull can withstand?

If you leave your Pitbull outside unsupervised without shelter, he could already become hypothermic at temperatures around 45F. Young puppies – especially if it has rained – can become too cold even earlier. You should not leave your dog outside in these temperatures for hours!

On the other hand, if you want to take your Pittie on a vigorous 30 minute walk in 25F weather, you can absolutely do that. It again comes down to how active your Pitbull is. Motion creates heat – just like in humans!

Think of yourself: You might get cold standing in a line when it is 50F, but you may sweat when skiing in 20F weather!

It is important to not believe that your Pitbull will be ok in the cold simply because he has a dark coat color (such as blue fawn or black and white Pitbulls) that will absorb the heat from the sun. No Pitbull should be left in the cold, regardless of color!

Can Pitbulls sleep in the cold?

Pitbulls are not the right choice of dog if you want one that will sleep outside in the cold. Their thin coat does not provide nearly enough insulation.

Pitbulls in fact even enjoy to wear pajamas inside while sleeping! Your Pittie should have a warm and dry spot with a comfortable bed to rest. Do not make him sleep outside in the cold – his body is not made for this!

If you are looking for a watch dog who stays outside on your property, other breeds such as Great Pyrenees will be a better fit.

The Bottom Line

Pitties do not have a lot of cold resistance. Their coat does not provide enough insulation to stay outside without moving when it is chilly or snowy. The color of your Pitbull’s coat does not make a difference – dark dogs get just as cold as lighter-colored ones.

If you want to exercise your Pitbull in the snow, that is a different story: As long as your dog is moving, he will generate enough body heat (and perhaps even pant!). He will probably enjoy having you take him for a run in the snow or even go cross-country skiing with you.

You should not leave your Pittie outside overnight if it is chilly. This is especially true for puppies and senior dogs whose ability to generate body heat is decreased.

A Pitbull needs a warm, dry and comfortable sleeping spot and is not a good choice if you want a dog who lives outside!

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