When is it too cold to give my dog a bath outside?

Your dog gets dirty, no matter what time of year it is. Outdoor dogs need more frequent baths than indoor dogs, which can leave you wondering, when is it too cold to give your dog a bath outside. 

When is it too cold to give my dog a bath outside?

Dogs do some self grooming, but they aren’t as fastidious as their feline counterparts. This means that they do require an occasional bath. Many owners prefer to give their dogs a bath outside, to prevent their bathroom from getting dirty. Some dogs also prefer to bathe outdoors. 

How Cold is too Cold? 

The answer varies depending on the source. Some sources say that any temperature below 90 degrees is too cold to give your dog a bath outside. I disagree with this. Dogs will happily jump into a lake when it’s much colder than 90 degrees!

Other sources, and my personal opinion, is that 75 degrees is the cut off. If it’s cooler than 75, you’ll need to bathe your dog indoors. You’ll also need a few days of it being at least 75 degrees, if you plan to use a hose pipe. 

If it’s been 60 degrees for the last few days, the water from the hose will be much colder than 75. If the days haven’t been relatively warm, your only option is to bring warm water from inside. 

Dog Water Temperature

Many dogs love to swim. However, just because the air is warm, doesn’t mean the water is. In fact, water can be 40 to 50 degrees in the springtime and fall, even when the weather is relatively warm. 

If the water is too cold, it puts your dog at risk of hypothermia. However, it’s not just the water temperature itself you should consider. The length of the time in the water, the wind chill, and the amount of sun are also important. 

A cloudy day with the wind blowing will feel much colder than a sunny still day with the same temperature. 

Can I give my dog a bath in the winter?

Yes, you can give your dog a bath in winter. In fact, you should. However, you should bath them inside, and follow steps to keep them warm during and after their bath. 

How Often Do Dogs Need a Bath?

How often your dog will need a bath depends on several factors. It is important to bathe your pooch often enough, but not too often.  A general rule of thumb is to bathe your dog between once a week and once every 3 months. 

Short haired dogs don’t need to be bathed as often as long or double-coated breeds. Breeds with a long or double coat must be bathed at least once every 4-6 weeks. You’ll also need to groom their coat between baths. 

Outdoor dogs need to be bathed more often than indoor dogs, because they get dirtier. Hairless breeds need to be bathed at least once a week. 

The best indication of how often to bathe your dog is the dog itself. If they begin to smell, or are no longer, “huggable”, it’s time for a bath. 

If you notice any skin issues, like frequent itching or licking, this is also a sign they need to be bathed more often. 

However, never bathe a dog more than once a week. This can strip their natural oils, and cause skin issues. 

Warm Environment

When you bathe your dog in the winter, you’ll want to begin with a warm environment. It’s helpful to add a small heater to the bathroom, or turn up the thermostat. You’ll want the inside temperature to be at least 75 degrees when you give your dog a bath. 

After the bath, they will need to stay inside until they are dry. This can take several hours, depending on your dog’s coat. You can use a hair dryer, or just wait it out. 

Bath Water

When it comes to the water temperature, dogs have their own preferences. Anywhere between 75-90 degrees is safe for your pooch. The water should feel lukewarm to you. 

Don’t make the mistake of running it as you would your own bath. Humans typically bath in water 90-105 degrees. Water cooler than your body temperature won’t feel warm. If you enjoy a nice hot bath, it’s probably about 105. This is too hot for your pooch. 

Of course, you don’t want the water to be too cold either. This is another advantage  of keeping the bathroom warm. The warmth will help keep the water temperature comfortable as well. 

Wrap It Up

After your dog’s bath, you’ll need to wrap them in a warm towel. Place a few towels into the dryer before you begin giving them a bath. Once you are finished, grab the warm towels from the dryer. 

Use one for the initial drying. Once you’ve gotten most of the water off your pooch, wrap them up with the fresh towel. This will keep them warm as they continue to dry. 

Drying Your Dog

You can use your own hairdryer in a pinch. Turn the heat on low. Using it on hot can burn your dog’s skin. 

You can also purchase a dog hair dryer. Simple models function by using a high speed fan. This uses air instead of heat to dry your dog’s coat. Some models feature heat settings as well, which can get your dog dry faster. 

Is it OK to bathe a dog when it’s cold outside?

It’s perfectly OK to bathe a dog when it’s cold outside, but you’ll need to do so inside. It’s important to keep them warm during their bath. 

Do not let them outside until they are dry. You can allow them to air dry, or use a hair dryer. 

How to keep a dog clean in the winter?

Bathing your dog in the winter can be more work than it is in the summertime. It’s natural to want to bathe them less in the cold months, for their comfort and your convenience. You can bathe your dog less often in the winter if you take some steps to keep them clean. 

Plan Your Route

Your dog needs some outdoor time, even in the colder months. In many areas, there’s also lots of precipitation in the winter. The colder temps allows water to stick around longer, creating mud and puddles that dogs seem to be drawn to. 

One way to keep your dog clean in winter is to carefully plan your walking route. Generally, paved areas allow you to avoid mud, which can be hard to remove from your dog’s fur. Less dirt equals less frequent bathing, so it’s important to keep them away from muddy areas. 

You can also consider the weather when walking your dog. If you can, plan to walk them at a time of the day when it’s dry. 

Use Dog Wipes

Dog wipes are one of the best ways to keep your pooch clean all year round. However, they are particularly useful in the winter time. They are similar to baby wipes, but they are specially formulated for your dog’s fur and skin. 

Use these wipes in between baths to remove surface dirt and grime from their fur. Be sure to wipe their paws and legs after a walk, to avoid them carrying dirt and bacteria around the home. 

Dog wipes can safely be used every day to keep your pooch clean between baths. 

Dog Boots

Another way to keep their paws clean in inclement weather is dog boots. Just like your own shoes, the boots will keep the dirt on the shoes, and off your dog’s feet. They have the added advantage of providing protection from the cold and moisture that winter brings. 

Dog booties are not always welcomed by dogs, at least at first. To get your pooch used to boots, begin in the house. Put on one boot for a few minutes. Give your dog a treat once it’s on. 

Do this for all four feet, one at a time. Then put on two boots at once, before finally working up to your dog wearing all four boots. It may take a few sessions to get your dog comfortable with the footwear. Each time you place a boot on, give them a treat. Once they are comfortable with the boots, you can stop giving them treats. 

Brush Regularly

Brushing your dog can also keep them clean. In fact, it’s surprising just how much brushing does for your pooch. Brushing removes dirt, dead skin, and shed hair. It also stimulates your dog’s skin. Lastly, it distributes the oils in your dog’s coat, which helps keep it healthy and manageable. 

Get a Raincoat 

If you get a lot of precipitation in the winter, you may want to invest in a doggie rain coat. When you and your pooch are walking in the rain, the raincoat will keep their fur from getting wet. 

This is particularly helpful if your dog tends to get that wet dog smell. The rain keeps the rain off their coat, so they don’t smell like dirty socks, also known as wet dog. 

Dry Shampoo

Dry shampoo for dogs is a way to keep your dog’s coat clean between baths. It isn’t a replacement for a bath, and shouldn’t be used too often. 

It contains clays and powders that absorb the excess oil from your dog’s coat. This can make them look and smell cleaner. However, if it’s used too often, the dry shampoo can build up on your dog’s coat. 

This can cause skin issues. Brushing your dog after applying dry shampoo can also help prevent build up.