How Boston Terriers Handle The Snow/ Cold: What Owners Say


Amy’s Boston Terrier, Nickel, in her warm sweater for a quick walk around the block.

Have you ever thought about how dogs are affected by cold weather and snow? Particularly smaller dogs with short coats like Boston Terriers?

We all hear about not leaving your dog outside during hot weather or locked in the hot car while you run into the store, but we often don’t think about the risks that cold weather has on our beloved Boston Terriers. 

Do Boston Terriers Like The Cold?

Boston Terriers are a versatile breed. While the Boston is not an outdoor dog, they, at times, can enjoy the snow. However, a majority of owners report their Boston Terrier does not like the cold weather.

Topics Covered In The Article

Boston Owner Poll On Twitter

In this poll, the Boston Terrier Society community was asked whether or not their Boston Terrier enjoys the cold weather.

An overwhelming number, 87% or the 76 votes said their Boston does not enjoy the cold weather.

Do You Own A Boston Terrier? Take A Poll

Are Boston Terriers At A Higher Risk In Cold Weather Than Other Dogs?

Boston Terriers are particularly at risk during the cold winter months because they have short hair, less body mass, and are prone to medical conditions that are worsened by cold weather and snow.

It’s very important to take precautions against the cold weather and snow for your Boston Terrier’s sake.

How Cold Is Too Cold?

We notice Nickel, during the winter months, tends to have more accidents inside, she’ll shiver, and spend more time indoors voluntarily.

We keep Nickel in a sweater most of winter and parts of fall, depending on the temperature, to counteract some of these symptoms.

Other Boston Terrier owners do the same thing, ensuring their Boston is warm by putting on clothes. Here is what some Boston owners say about clothes, as well as some cute photos.

Temperature Concerns

When looking at the temperature, consider that the Tufts Animal Condition And Care System found that small dogs, such as Boston Terriers, showed no evidence of risk in temperatures as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

40 degrees Fahrenheit was found to have “unsafe potential” for small dogs and anything below 30 degrees Fahrenheit was considered dangerous to potentially life-threatening

This scale suggests that anytime it’s cold enough to be snowing we should definitely look out for our Boston Terriers and keep them warm, as they are not “cold weather” dogs by nature. 

Nickel loves to spend a few minutes doing “zoomies” outside.

Cold Weather Reference Guide

Basically, as long as the temperature outside does not drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit or 7 degrees Celsius your Boston Terrier should be fun outdoors. 

Once the temperature drops below 45℉ or 7℃ you will need to take some extra precaution and monitor your Boston so no cold weather injuries occur.

How cold is too cold for your dog? Use this infographic from Petplan pet insurance to find out!
Source: Pet Plan

Use this chart below to help make informed decisions about your Boston Terrier in cold weather. And according to the American Kennel Club, the Boston Terrier is a small breed. 

Signs Your Boston Terrier Is Too Cold: 

  • Shivering
  • Whimpering
  • Holding up one or more of their paws
  • Sudden or unusual anxiety
  • Slowing Down
  • Suddenly not enjoying the outdoors
  • Accidents inside to avoid going outside

Snowy Hazards

The cold temperature is unfortunately not the only hazard that comes with cold weather. 

Hypothermia

A scary effect of snow and cold weather for Boston Terriers is hypothermia, which occurs when their body can no longer maintain their normal body temperature. 

The result is many of the above cold symptoms and it can even lead to weakness, a lowered heart rate, and difficulty breathing. 

If you suspect your Boston Terrier has hypothermia immediately contact your veterinary professional. 

Ice

Ice is a dangerous hazard that can have terrible effects on Boston Terriers. When walking, ensure that your Boston Terrier doesn’t step on ice. 

You never know if the ice will support your Boston Terrier’s weight and if the ice breaks and they fall through it could be deadly for them if it leads to some deep water.

Or the ice could potentially injure your Boston’s leg. 

Leash Your Dog

Boston Terriers rely heavily on their strong sense of smell, but during cold weather, their sense of smell is weakened.

They can also be more easily lost or confused outside when snow is covering the ground. 

Confusion is due to the snow visually disturbing their surroundings and covering the scents of things around them.

The Pet Health Network strongly recommends leashing your dog to prevent them from getting lost in their snow-covered surroundings and making sure they are microchipped in case the worst happens. 

Remember to not leave your dog in a parked car either, as the effects of cold temperatures are increased inside the car much like they are during the hot seasons. 

Sickness

Boston Terriers can get sick from the cold weather. According to the professional dog walking service, Wag, dogs will get sick due to low temperatures.

Like all dogs, Boston Terriers rely heavily on their respiratory system to stay warm and the icy air can cause them to lose heat rapidly, especially when their breathing is affected. 

The typical symptoms of a cold in a Boston Terrier are not unlike human cold symptoms. They may have a runny nose, shiver, or have a lower appetite. 

A fever is a particularly worrisome symptom of illness. If your Boston Terrier shows signs of being ill, consult your vet for further aid and information.

Nickel walking around in our snowy backyard. 

Watch Your Boston Terrier’s Paws!

When it’s cold, we bundle up in thick, thermal socks and boots. However, we can sometimes forget that our Boston Terriers will also get cold feet.

Not only is the cold temperature a factor in this, but hazards like ice, antifreeze, and salt can injure our Boston Terriers’ paws.

Ice can accumulate between their toes, so if your Boston is suddenly lame on a walk be sure to check for ice between their toes.

The American Veterinary Medical Association suggests clipping the fur between your Boston Terriers’ toes to help prevent ice accumulation. 

How To Clip Your Dog’s Hair Around Their Pads

Yes, this video is not a Boston Terrier but it will help point you in the right direction if you want to do this yourself.

How to Remove Hair from Dog Paws (The Easy Way)

Use Booties

Some dog owners put dog boots on their pets to protect their feet from the snow. Many dogs, including our feisty Boston Terriers, will fight wearing boots. 

However, they can be helpful in preventing ice and snow from building up between their toes.

Getting a very comfortable, well-fitted pair of boots for your Boston Terrier will give them the best first impression of boots and they might just wear them!

Need some winter outfit ideas? Check out this article on the Boston Terrier Society site covering different winter outfits for Bostons, Boston Winter Outfits.

Wipe Them Down

Another recommendation from the American Veterinary Medical Association is to wipe your Boston Terriers’ underside, legs, and feet down after they’ve been outside. 

This is due to the possible buildup of antifreeze, deicer, or other problematic chemicals on your Boston. By wiping or washing your Boston down, you are lowering the risk of them licking their body and ingesting these poisonous chemicals. 

Where I live, antifreeze is not used heavily. However, I still find it helpful to wipe Nickel down after she has been playing in the snow because it keeps her warmer and prevents water and snow from getting all over our floors. 

Exercise During The Winter

Regardless of the weather, it is incredibly important to keep your Boston Terrier active!

As we talked about in our Boston Terrier Exercise Needs piece, Boston Terriers need to be active a minimum of 30 minutes a day, but preferably 60 minutes a day or more. 

Exercising your Boston Terrier in the winter can be more challenging, but with some creative choices, we can still help our pooch get their exercise in!

Try these indoor exercises with them: 

  • Tug of war with a fun toy
  • Playing ball if you have the floorspace (Nickel’s personal favorite!)
  • Running on a treadmill
  • Shorter walks outside with a sweater on to keep them warm
  • Running around and going up and downstairs
  • Puzzle dog toys – we hide dog food in a puzzle for Nickel to find, which she loves!

Need more winter exercise ideas? Check out this article that gives you 20 workout options in detail, Boston Terrier Winter Exercise Ideas.

Nickel’s go-to dog sweater even has a hood to keep her head and ears warm!

What Medical Conditions Are Worsened By The Cold?

Some medical conditions can be worsened by the cold.

Most notably, arthritis can be aggravated and make it more difficult for your Boston Terrier to walk on the slippery ice and snow. Elderly Boston Terriers may experience this too.

The American Veterinary Medical Association warns that Boston Terriers with:

  • heart disease
  • diabetes
  • hormonal imbalances
  • kidney disease
  • Cushing’s disease

Could have a more difficult time regulating their body temperature, which makes them more susceptible to snow and cold-related issues like hypothermia. 

Additionally, Icy air can cause a Boston’s bronchial tubes to constrict, which can cause an infection and possibly pneumonia. 

Should I Keep My Boston Indoors?

Ultimately keeping your Boston Terrier inside more during the winter will protect them from many of the negative side effects of snow. 

Make sure they have a few warm spots to choose from for sleep and lounging throughout the day, as well as plenty of things to stimulate and capture their attention like toys, games, attention from you, etc. 

This will keep your Boston Terrier comfortable and happier to be stuck inside. 

How Can My Boston Terrier Still Have Fun In The Snow?

Fear not, your Boston Terrier can still have fun in the snow!

If they’ll allow it, a sweater and/or dog boots would be an excellent way to keep them warmer and having more fun in the snow. 

Taking your Boston Terrier out for brief walks in the snow will also allow them to still enjoy the outdoors and exercise some. 

How Nickel Has Fun In The Snow

Nickel enjoys doing “zoomies,” in our fenced off backyard. We’ll let her out for a few minutes and she will wildly sprint in circles.

She personally seems to really enjoy the snow, but we always make sure she comes back inside after a few minutes to ensure she is staying warm.

Boston Terriers Doing Zoomies And Playing In The Snow

Need to see some cute Boston Terriers in action? Here are some Boston’s doing zoomies in the snow.

This Is Feast The Beast In The Snow
Three Boston Terriers Playing In The Snow
Remmie’s First Time In The Snow…She Loves It!

Final thoughts…

Ultimately, we watch Nickel to see if she is showing signs of being cold or if she’s still having a great time outside. This allows me to gauge her snow time. 

Despite its potential risks, the snow can still be a fantastic time for you and your Boston Terrier!


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Amy Norton

Amy Norton is a freelance lifestyle blog post writer who spends her days writing with her Boston Terrier at her feet snoring. She grew up with two Boston Terriers and now has her own Boston Terrier, Nickel, who is a spunky and playful dog. Amy regularly takes Nickel to Sonics for mozzarella sticks to "pay" her for all of her help in the writing process. Amy's favorite activities are reading, baking, and creating content for her YouTube channel.

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