Whether you just adopted a Great Dane and live in an area with a cold climate or you need to refresh your memory on weather safety for your Great Dane, you may be wondering if Great Danes get a winter coat. While these dogs may be giant, they don’t have a particularly thick coat. So, are they able to withstand colder weather? How long can a Great Dane last outside in the cold?
Great Danes do not get a winter coat. Unlike Huskies and Shepherds which have a double coat for insulation, Great Danes have a thin single layer coat that provides little protection against cold temperatures. Additionally, their naturally low body fat makes them even less suited to handle cold conditions.
Great Danes may not do well in cold weather, but they still need their exercise in the colder months! Because of this, there are safety precautions in place for you to follow to ensure that your Dane isn’t at risk when he goes out for a walk in the winter.
There are winter coats, scarves and even shoes you can purchase to keep your Great Dane as warm as possible. That said, you’ll still need to keep a closer eye on him in the winter regardless.
Winter Coat Specifics
Technically, Great Danes do shed less in the winter months, but this doesn’t mean they necessarily get a winter coat. Great Danes have little fat on their bodies, and their fur isn’t very thick either.
This combination makes it a dangerous situation for your Great Dane to be out in the cold for an extended period of time. In particular, you should avoid leaving them alone outside in the cold.
In addition to general precautions, below are some additional safety tips to keep in mind during the winter.
Training a Great Dane puppy in the winter
While potty training can be difficult at times, it only gets tougher during the cold conditions of winter! Because Great Dane puppies are so lean, they are even less suited to spending time outside in the cold.
From freezing their tails off (literally) to not wanting to walk on ice and snow – potty training in the winter can be difficult.
While some may be tempted to make use of pee pads and other indoor means, this is the wrong approach to use in the long run. First off, it only creates confusion for your dog about where the appropriate place to relieve themselves will be.
Secondly, you’ll be spending time cleaning up Dane pee and poop inside which I can assure you accumulates more quickly than you expect!
Unless the temperatures are downright dangerous to go outside, your best bet will be to suit up in some warm clothes and head out with them. Understandably, they will be less inclined to follow instructions when you’re shouting them from the warm comfort of being inside.
Time these bathroom trips around mealtimes to ensure that your Great Dane puppy will need to go to relieve themselves and do so quickly. This is typically within the first 15 minutes after a meal, but keep a close eye on your dog to learn their habits and routines here.
If need be, take the time to dress them accordingly if it’s truly frigid outside.
Safety tips for a winter walk
In addition to needing to relieve themselves, another common reason for your dog to be outdoors in the winter will be exercise-related. Since you also need some amount of exercise as well, there’s no reason that walks have to stop!
First and foremost, make sure to continue using a leash for winter walks, especially during a snowstorm. Some Great Danes get very excited during snow and may want to run across the street or into the road.
They could also very well just slip and fall into harm’s way. Unless you’re in a fenced area or somewhere 100% safe, it’s best to keep them on the leash.
Also, when your dog returns inside after going for a walk, always make sure to thoroughly wipe off his legs and body. Any leftover salt, antifreeze or other wintery chemicals could prove dangerous if he ingests them by licking his paws.
Removing and snow, ice, or other moisture once inside will also help to prevent them from catching a chill. Think of this as the dog equivalent to you toweling off after a shower.
One last thing to consider is making sure your Great Dane has a warm place to sleep that is preferably off the floor. If you have wood or tiles floors, your Great Dane could freeze in the middle of the night and easily become ill if he doesn’t have a warm place to sleep.
Going along with this, it is important not to leave them in turned off cars for more than a few minutes with you dog left inside of it. Cars get cold very quickly, and dogs have frozen to death this way.
How Long Can a Great Dane Stay Outside in the Winter?
The winter months are notorious for being low in humidity and drying out the skin. This is true for Great Danes as well. The cold weather will quickly chap their noses, paws, and other areas. The low humidity will also weaken their fur and skin.
If your Dane is licking or biting himself more than usual, be sure to check him for chapped areas and frostbite. You will need to go to the vet immediately if he is suffering from frostbite.
It is also recommended to steer your dog away from snow and ice patches while outside. If you can shovel a patch of your yard for him to use the bathroom, it will help tremendously.
When it comes to going on walks, though, these should be kept short. It is better for him to lose a little exercise during the winter and be warm than risking his well-being.
There are ways you can keep going on walks with your dog during the freezing months and still be safe. It may seem silly or over-the-top, but your Great Dane will thank you for it later.
Dress him up! If he doesn’t love it at first, he will learn to because he will realize it’s keeping him a lot warmer.
Winter clothes for your Great Dane
If your Great Dane isn’t fond of clothes, he will be soon! That is if he wants to still go for those glorious walks during the winter. This is the only sure way to keep him warm long enough for a walk during the freezing months.
However, it is important to note that if it is really cold outside, like a wind chill below zero, for example, it may be best to skip the walks until it warms up a little more. Winter clothes will only keep him so warm.
Coats, shoes, and scarves
It may come as a surprise that there are clothes big enough to fit your Great Dane, but they are out there. A winter coat will be one of the most important purchases for your winter months. It will be worth it to invest in a more expensive one too because it’ll last.
It’ll also be made out of better-quality fabrics to keep him warmer longer. It is also a good idea to keep the coat on for a little bit after you come back inside. As shown in the picture above, these can also be homemade using materials commonly found in all craft stores.
Dog shoes are another smart purchase for your Great Dane. He is more likely to get frostbite on his paws before anywhere else. He is also losing most of his body heat through his paws on the frozen asphalt.
Purchasing these shoes aren’t necessarily a mandatory thing for the winter, but it will no doubt make him more comfortable during those potty breaks. While there are many options for boots made for small dogs, the options are pretty limited for giant breeds.
One of the few that I’ve come across and can recommend are the ones from Bark Brite (links to Amazon). Be sure to get the XXL version if your dog is full-grown.
There are also dog scarves on the market today to keep him extra toasty. Great Danes being as big as they are, though, he could probably wear one of your scarves, and it would fit him perfectly.
If you want to save a little money, try this first. With a combination of all three of these items, your Great Dane is sure to survive a walk as long as you can!
Conclusion on Great Dane Winter Coats
Great Danes may shed less in the winter, but they are by no means fit to withstand extreme temperatures. In order to keep him warm and healthy throughout the winter months, it is important to consider these safety precautions.
From limiting their time outside to actually dressing them for the occasion, these are just a few of the ways to ensure their safety and health.
In addition to staying warm outside, you’ll also want to invest in a good bed to help your Great Dane stay warm indoors as well. Homes can get drafty and cool at night, so keeping your pup warm and comfy can go a long way!