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How to Tell if Your Dog is Cold and What to Do if They Are

How to Tell if Your Dog is Cold and What to Do if They Are

As the seasons change and temperatures drop, it's essential to ensure that your furry friend stays comfortable and warm. Dogs, like humans, can feel the cold, and some breeds are more susceptible to it than others. Here's a comprehensive guide on how to tell if your dog is cold and what you can do to keep them warm and cozy.

Signs That Your Dog is Cold

  1. Shivering or Trembling Just like humans, dogs shiver when they are cold. If you notice your dog trembling, it’s a clear sign that they are trying to generate body heat.

  2. Cold Ears and Body Feel your dog's ears and body. If they are unusually cold to the touch, your dog might be feeling the chill.

  3. Curling Up Tightly Dogs will often curl up into a tight ball to conserve body heat. If your dog is constantly in this position, they might be trying to stay warm.

  4. Reluctance to Move When cold, dogs may become lethargic or unwilling to move around much. This behavior is an attempt to conserve energy and stay warm.

  5. Whining or Barking Some dogs might vocalize their discomfort. If your dog is whining or barking more than usual, they might be trying to tell you they are cold.

  6. Seeking Warmth If your dog is constantly seeking out warm places, such as curling up next to a heater, snuggling under blankets, or lying in the sunniest spot in the house, it’s a sign they are trying to stay warm.

What to Do If Your Dog is Cold

  1. Provide Warm Bedding Ensure your dog has a warm, comfortable place to sleep. Orthopedic or memory foam beds with extra padding can help keep them off cold floors.

  2. Use Dog Sweaters or Coats Invest in a good-quality dog sweater or coat, especially for walks outside. Make sure it fits well and covers their back and belly adequately.

  3. Limit Time Outside During colder months, limit your dog's time outside, especially for short-haired or smaller breeds. When you do go out, keep the walks short and consider using dog boots to protect their paws.

  4. Create a Warm Indoor Environment Keep your home at a comfortable temperature for your dog. If it’s particularly cold, use space heaters (safely and under supervision) or heating pads designed for pets.

  5. Increase Their Caloric Intake Dogs burn more calories trying to stay warm. Consult with your vet about increasing your dog’s food intake slightly during the winter months to ensure they have enough energy to maintain their body heat.

  6. Provide Plenty of Water Hydration is crucial, even in winter. Make sure your dog has access to fresh water at all times, as dehydration can make it harder for them to regulate their body temperature.

  7. Check for Hypothermia If you suspect your dog is very cold, watch for signs of hypothermia, such as lethargy, weakness, and shallow breathing. If you notice these symptoms, wrap your dog in a warm blanket and seek veterinary care immediately.

Breeds That Are More Susceptible to Cold

Some breeds are more vulnerable to cold due to their body structure, coat type, or size. These include:

  • Small Breeds: Chihuahuas, Dachshunds, and other small dogs have less body mass and fat to keep them warm.
  • Short-Haired Breeds: Boxers, Greyhounds, and Dalmatians lack the thick, insulating fur that helps retain heat.
  • Elderly Dogs: Older dogs may have more difficulty regulating their body temperature and can feel the cold more intensely.


Keeping an eye on your dog's comfort during colder months is crucial for their well-being. By recognizing the signs that your dog is cold and taking appropriate steps to warm them up, you can ensure they stay healthy and happy. Whether it's a cozy sweater, a warm bed, or just extra cuddles, your dog will appreciate the effort you put into keeping them comfortable all year round.