UK arctic blast: when is it too cold to walk your dog - expert advice explains when it’s unsafe to go walkies

As the Troll of Trondheim makes its way to the United Kingdom, dog owners may be unsure if it’s safe to take their beloved pooches for walkies.

As the United Kingdom prepares for “the troll of Trondheim” as arctic blasts are set to sweep across the country, dog owners may be concerned about walking their beloved pooches during the incredibly cold weather. Should dog owners even be taking their dogs out walking as the Met Office continues to issue yellow and amber weather warnings across parts of the country?

The short answer is yes, but with a few caveats involved ahead of walkies. “You absolutely should walk your dog in winter” writes Lords and Labradors regarding the query. “Walking is an excellent source of exercise for your dog, but also a way for them to experience the wonderful smells of the world around them. They get to socialise with other dogs, have some bonding time with their owner and wear themselves out ready for a cosy night by the fire.”

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But they do recommend however certain conditions are preferred during the sub-zero temperatures. A crisp, sunny day with very little breeze despite the temperature is ideal compared to a wet, windy or stormy day. Weather conditions including hail, low fog or mist which provide hazardous conditions in the first place might warrant hanging up the dog lead and staying indoors instead.

As for dogs feeling the effects of Jack Frost this year, the website also states that dropping temperatures should not deter people from walking their dogs. “A walk is likely one of the highlights of your dog’s day (besides dinner time) so if they’re happy to go out in the cold, you should be happy to take them,” they remind dog owners.

However those looking to walk their dogs during the arctic blast may want to consider walking in the mid-morning or early afternoon when temperatures are not at their lowest. It also allows for any salt that has been spread to grit roads and footpaths to be “swept aside” and prevent irritating dog paws.

They also suggested smaller dogs may benefit from wearing a coat as they are more likely to experience the cold compared to bigger breeds and if it is particularly treacherous conditions to skip the marathon walks and instead take shorter walks - around 20 minutes for smaller breeds up to 30 minutes for medium to larger sized dogs.

“Small dogs are more vulnerable in the cold, whereas bigger dogs can withstand lower temperatures. Do keep this in mind when taking your furry friend for a walk, and avoid walking any dog when temperatures drop below -10℃, even if they’re wearing a coat” Lords and Labradors recommend.

“For puppies and older dogs, it’s better to exercise a little bit more caution, as they could be more vulnerable to the cold too. If you’re at all unsure, it’s probably best to keep them in,” they conclude.

A woman walks a dog through the snow in Glasgow in 2021. (Photo by Andy Buchanan / AFP) (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)