Nicknamed the “Apollo of dogs”, the Great Dane is known as a tough and rugged but gentle and loving companion for humans of all ages and backgrounds. Great Danes make great pets but they are not suited to live in all locations.
Great Danes are not cold weather animals. Unlike many other dogs, Great Danes lack a layer of fat under their skin protecting them from extremely hot or cold weather. This, combined with their very thin fur, makes them very susceptible to cold weather.
Generally, Great Danes do not do well in cold weather. Although, what do you consider cold? Cold in California is much different than cold in New York. There are a few things to consider if you are considering leaving your Great Dane outside in cold weather.
Is My Great Dane Weatherproof?
Great Danes are, well, great! These gentle giants love spending time with family and going on walks outdoors. Although, these animals do not do very well in the cold. They are not weatherproof!
Many dogs such as Huskies or St. Bernards have either a subcutaneous layer of fat or a thick layer of skin and fur to protect them from cold weather. Unfortunately, Great Danes lack in the fur and subcutaneous fat layer department.
Cold weather can affect Great Danes in several different ways.
A few of these effects include a chapped nose or paws, as well as weakened fur, irritated skin, or even hypothermia and frostbite! These are conditions that you certainly want to keep your dog away from.
Time of Year
Even when it’s cold, your Great Dane will need some exercise. It’s okay to let your pup run around, but it’s best to do it during the warmest part of the day and not when it’s raining or snowing.
Let’s say you want to take your dog out for a jog. Will you be jogging through snow, rain, ice, or just a cold day in general?
Cold weather varies throughout the year. Fall and spring might have some cold days, while winter might have a few warm days. For this reason, you should consider the time of year you bring your Great Dane out.
During Spring, Fall, and Summer, there is much more humidity in the air.
This makes it much less of a risk to take your Great Dane outside. During the winter months, the extreme lack of humidity can and will cause chapped noses, paws, and other areas on your dog. The lack of humidity also weakens their fur and skin.
If you live in a location that gets mildly cold, your Great Dane should be fine if exposure is limited.
Regardless of the time of year, when it is cold, make sure you keep an eye out for your Great Dane’s health.
Where You Live Matters!
The United States is a very large and diverse country both culturally and geographically.
There are deserts, mountains, beaches, cities, and everything in between! With these different geographic areas comes extremely diverse weather.
The United States contains different areas with variant weather averages.
The Northwestern United States, including states such as Washington, Oregon, is generally is very cold and wet. Winters are usually colder and wetter! If you have a Great Dane in an area with weather like this, be prepared to keep your Great Dane inside or in a weatherproof, insulated kennel.
The Midwestern United States and the Northwestern United States including states such as Michigan, New York, or North Dakota, often have a lot of snowfall and cold weather during fall and winter months.
This weather is not ideal for Great Danes, although they will love Spring and Summer! Take proper care of your Great Dane when experiencing extreme weather conditions.
Lastly, the Southern United States, including states such as California, Texas, or Florida, often have mild winters, and plenty of warmth and humidity. Caring for your Great Dane in the winter will be a breeze! It’s the hot weather that you’ll have to watch out for.
Obviously, areas all around the world vary greatly when it comes to climate.
Great Danes are wonderful but do need a bit of extra maintenance every so often. If you are unsure about whether you are able to leave your Great Dane out in the cold weather of your area, here are a few things to keep in mind!
How to Help Your Great Dane When it’s Cold
Here are a few ways you can protect your Great Dane from the cold weather.
During the winter, the street or sidewalk might contain harsh chemicals such as antifreeze or salt. It is important that whenever you bring your dog out in this weather, be sure to clean off their stomach and paws after you get back with a warm washcloth.
This way, when your Great Dane comes back inside to warm up and clean off her paws, she won’t ingest any harmful chemicals.
Another way you can protect your Great Dane from cold weather is by feeding her extra food, specifically heavy in protein. This will keep her fur and body healthy and a bit warmer during the cold months.
Lastly, limit your dog’s outdoor time!
The most dangerous risks for your Great Dane are hypothermia and frostbite.
Cleaning off your Great Dane’s stomach and paws after going outdoors can help prevent this, although there are certain precautions you should take just to be safe.
Great Danes are not meant to STAY outside in cold weather but can be brought outside in moderation. Keep her away from areas with snow, ice, or rain.
If you notice her licking her nose or paws more often than usual, or nibbling at her irritated skin, keep her inside and examine her carefully for any signs of chapping or frost bite.
Safe Ways to Keep Your Great Dane Outside!
What if you live in an area where the weather is random and spontaneous? Here, I’ve summarized the best precautions you can take if you prefer to keep your Great Dane outside in the cold.
Before I list these precautions, I do want to state once again that Great Danes are not cold weather animals. Great Danes enjoy spending time inside with people. They are sensitive to weather and should be kept away from extreme weather.
If you still feel the need to keep your Great Dane outside, follow these precautions at all costs!
First of all, like I mentioned before, be sure to care for your Great Dane’s physical wellness regularly. This includes cleaning their paws and stomach with a warm wash cloth after taking them on walks, and regularly examining their nose, skin, and paws for any chapping or irritation.
If you do spot any irritation or infections, avoid outdoor time until it improves.
Secondly, don’t be afraid to dress your Great Dane up!
One more way you can protect your Great Dane in cold weather is by dressing her up!
Clothing for dogs is a fairly controversial topic among the dog-owning community. Although regardless of what you think about dressing up your Great Dane, I guarantee it’ll keep her warm!
Lastly, if you plan on keeping your Great Dane outside in cold weather, make sure she has a warm place to stay.
This sounds obvious, but as I mentioned previously, weather is extremely diverse all over the world.
Make sure your Great Dane has an insulated kennel along with blankets and/or a comfortable bed that will keep her warm overnight.
If you are in an area prone to extreme cold weather, be sure to either provide food and water indoors or keep a heated water bowl available so her water won’t freeze.
Do not leave your Great Dane outside for prolonged periods of time. Great Danes are prone to anxiety and attachment disorder and will require lots of bonding time with their owners.
I wish you luck with your Great Dane! Give her lots of attention and care, and don’t let her freeze!