Great Danes are a descendant of mastiff-like dogs but were mainly bred to protect country estates and hunt boards in the 18th century.
Today, Great Danes are primarily kept as indoor dogs and companion dogs. With admirers of the breed worldwide, it’s good for owners to know that Great Danes tolerate cold weather that well.
The Great Dane will be too cold in temperatures lower than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Some Great Danes experience worsening symptoms at 45 degrees Fahrenheit, as each dog is different. Other factors such as body fat, health conditions, and age also determine what temperature will be too cold.
How Cold of Temperatures Can a Great Dane Handle?
Despite Great Danes being large dogs, they can only handle temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything below that, and the dog will end up freezing. Some owners have even monitored their dogs outdoors and said their Great Dane couldn’t tolerate anything below 45 degrees Fahrenheit!
Each dog is different, but the consensus is that anything below 40 degrees Fahrenheit is too cold. You should limit your dog’s outdoor time to 30 minutes and monitor them. Other underlining health conditions can also cause your dog to feel cold quicker.
Why Are Great Danes Susceptible to the Cold?
Great Danes are susceptible to the cold for several factors. This can include their health, biology, and genetics. Below, we’ve taken the time to explain why Great Danes are more susceptible to the cold than other dog breeds.
Lack of Insulated Fat
Other dogs have a more sturdy build, as a Great Dane does not. The breed lacks an insulating layer of fat, which can help prevent the dog from becoming cold.
Other breeds tend to have this fat layer, which is why they are suitable for cold weather. Some breeds even have a double-coat which includes extra fat, making them tolerable for cold weather but not hot weather.
A Thin Coat/Fur
Not only that, but Great Danes also lack a thick layer of fur. The lack of a thick coat makes them more susceptible to feeling cold. So, they will only be able to handle cool temperatures.
How to Keep Your Great Dane Warm Outdoors
The outdoors is where your Great Dane will struggle the most with cold temperatures. Their bodies aren’t designed to be in the cold. So, you can implement a few tips and tricks to help them feel at ease in cold temperatures.
1. Reduce Exposure to Outdoors
If your Great Dane is going outdoors, you’ll want to limit its exposure. At most, they can be outdoors for up to 30 minutes as long as they are prepped for the cold. This means having insulated clothing and booties.
Don’t leave your dog outdoors unattended. If you must leave your car in the winter when your Great Dane is in it, we recommend leaving the heat on. Also, please don’t leave your Great Dane outdoors while they are going to potty, as they can get frostbite in too cold temperatures.
2. Get a Dog Sweater & Booties
Great Danes are notorious for not being able to handle the cold, so companies have designed outdoor wear that can keep them warm. This includes insulated dog vests and sweaters that your Great Dane can utilize indoors and outdoors.
The outdoor clothing is weather-resistant and insulated. What this does is help prevent wind-chill and rain from getting on your pup’s fur. Additionally, the insulation traps heat from the dog’s body inside the vest, keeping them feeling cozy.
Booties also prevent water and other harmful chemicals from damaging their paws. Some people use anti-ice or other chemicals to help remove snow from their driveways and sidewalks. Utilizing booties can help prevent contact with your dog’s paws and prevent them from slipping.
3. Don’t Take Your Dog Out in Cold Weather
A Great Dane can do well up until 45 degrees when it starts to feel cold. With proper attire, a Great Dane can be outdoors for some time. However, that doesn’t mean that they should be.
Monitoring the weather and properly taking precautions is the only way to prevent your pup from getting frostbite. Anything below a 40-degree threshold should be considered “too cold .” You will want to use outdoor gear and limit their exposure to 30 minutes or less.
How to Keep Your Great Dane Warm Indoors
Some may believe that the outdoors is all you’ll have to worry about with your Great Dane. However, you’ll also need to keep your Great Dane warm indoors, depending on where you live. Below we have a list of tips you can implement in your home to keep them warm year-round.
1. Dane-Proof Indoors
When the temperature drops outdoors, it’s good to warm up indoors for your dog. Using dog-safe space heaters, fireplaces, or radiators is an excellent way to help keep your dog warm. If you can’t find dog-friendly versions, ensuring secure barriers can help prevent your dog from injuring itself on a heating element.
2. Provide an Insulated Bed
A Great Dane will need a warm place to sleep. The best thing you can do as an owner is to ensure that your dog’s bed is raised off the floor and inside a kennel. Getting a thick padded dog bed is also recommended.
If you have a decent dog bed, line the kennel with a comfortable, warm blanket. This way, the blanket will act as an insulator, trapping the dog’s heat and keeping it warm.
3. Supplement Extra Food
When a Great Dane is cold, it expends more calories to warm itself up. One way to ensure that it has enough energy is to add extra food to its diet so that the dog has enough energy. Consider adding more than usual to your dog’s food, which should be enough to keep them warmer.
If your Great Dane enjoys playing around in the cold, you must supplement those calories. Active dogs need more food to help not only to energize them throughout the day but also to add a protective fat layer. Great Danes struggle to put on fat, so adding a bit of extra food can help with that.
What Else Should You Know?
Aside from the tips we’ve listed above, you should also be aware of scenarios where your pup may become colder due to health, etc. We want to ensure that your Great Dane is protected. So, below we’ve listed some other considerations.
Health Conditions Lower Temperature Tolerance
Health conditions such as diabetes and heart or kidney diseases will make your dog feel more susceptible to the cold.
Additionally, arthritis can also be a significant cause of stiff joints and soreness when the temperature drops. Dogs with these conditions must get checked up regularly at the vet and put on proper treatment plans.
Leaving Dogs Outdoors is Considered Neglect
Leaving a dog outdoors for more than 30 minutes in freezing temperatures is considered neglect. If you accidentally leave your Great Dane outdoors, you may not be in as much trouble. However, legally, you could be held in contempt for animal cruelty or abuse.
That’s why you must limit outdoor play time to half-hour intervals. Otherwise, you could be punished by the law. Plus, you’ll be preventing your dog from frostbite or hypothermia.
Is 45 degrees too cold for a Great Dane?
A Great Dane can handle 45-degree weather, but you will still want to monitor them. Any temperatures below 30-40 degrees can be too cold for your Great Dane. However, if they are a Northern breed and have a heavy coat, they may be able to do okay in cooler temperatures.
Can I take my Great Dane to the snow?
Unfortunately, the Great Danes aren’t built to handle cold weather, including snow. Aside from that, Great Danes aren’t meant to be outdoors often. The breed lacks a subcutaneous fat layer and skin that helps them handle cold and hot temperatures.
How can I keep my Great Dane warm outside?
There are a handful of methods to keep your Great Dane warm while they are outdoors. Below, we’ve listed a few tricks you can use to keep them warm:
- Put them in a sweater
- Provide weathertight shelter
- Place a padded bed outdoors
- Shelter your dog from wet and cold weather
- Make them a shelter that’s insulated
The Bottom Line
An excellent Great Dane owner will monitor their dog’s outdoor time when it gets too hot or cold. Great Danes are magnificent dogs but require the proper care to prevent injuries. Hopefully, you’ve learned a few tips to help keep your Great Dane feeling warm and comfortable for the upcoming winter.