No matter how thick your dog’s fur is, they still need protection from cold weather. Additionally, getting snow on their fur can cause them to be wet, which makes them more vulnerable to low temperatures. Certain types of dogs may also experience discomfort during very cold weather. Short-haired breeds, small dogs, puppies, and senior canines are less resistant to cold temperatures because their age, size, and health can make it difficult for their bodies to regulate heat.
Depending on the weather in your location, your dog may need to wear a customizable dog winter coat whenever they go outside. Temperatures above 45 degrees Fahrenheit are usually safe for dogs to be outdoors, but do make sure that your dog is properly attired. If it isn’t too cold, having your pet wear a dog sweater may be enough to keep them warm. But since the weather can vary and different dogs may have less tolerance for the cold, it can sometimes be hard to know for certain what kind of coverage your dog will need or if they need to wear any at all.
To understand how your dog is feeling and ensure they remain comfortable through the cold winter months, here are six telltale signs you should watch out for to know if your dog is feeling cold.
Shivering and trembling are clear indications that your dog is feeling chilly. Also, extreme shaking is a sign that they feel too cold. Just as in humans, the shaking and shivering are your dog’s natural responses to help keep them warm. These involuntary actions are caused by your pet’s muscles cycling between tightening and relaxing, which helps them generate more heat to raise their body temperature.
If your dog shivers or trembles while outdoors, take them somewhere warm at once. If the shaking doesn’t stop, consider wrapping them in a dog blanket until their body reaches a comfortable temperature.
They’re Showing Unusual Behavior
When dogs are uncomfortable, they tend to let you know. If they’re hurt, they will whimper. When they’re anxious, they may bark excessively. It’s the same when they feel cold. Your pet will attempt to let you know by whining, whimpering, or barking. As such, watch out for any unusual behavior your pet may be showing. Acting out when there are no other triggers (such as strangers or loud noises) may be a sign that your dog is feeling cold. Keeping them warm should calm them down.
If you notice your dog limping while they are outside, make sure to check them right away. Apart from the possibility of injury, limping may be a sign that your dog is cold. Walking on the frozen ground can be painful for your dog‘s unprotected paws. Apart from the cold, ice or snow can get stuck in their paws and cause them to crack or bleed. Check their paw pads and in between them to address any other potential causes for limping.
To prevent this situation from recurring, get your pet some dog boots so their paws stay warm and protected against the cold weather. This way, they can continue enjoying their daily walks even during the winter.
They’re Curling Up or Seeking Shelter
When dogs feel cold, they will try to warm themselves up using their own body heat. Often, they will curl up like a ball or be hunched over with their tail tucked in between their hind legs. They might also seek shelter from the chilly weather.
If you notice your dog exhibiting this behavior, they may be feeling cold. Outdoor dog houses should be well-insulated to keep your pet safe from the harsh weather, but if the weather drops below 20 degrees, it’s best to bring your dog indoors with you. Warm up your dog by wrapping them in a cozy blanket and gently rubbing their body from side to side.
Their Ears and Body Feels Cold
Aside from how your dog acts, another indication your dog is cold is when they feel cold to the touch. Feel around the edges of their ears and touch their belly. If both parts of your dog’s body feel cold, have them wear a dog hoodie that keeps their ears and torso covered. This type of canine clothing provides your dog with much-needed warmth, but the design also allows them to move around freely, which is also an important element to helping them stay warm.
They’re Unusually Sleepy
Another telltale sign your pet is feeling cold is if they’re abnormally tired or sleepy. Cold temperatures can weaken your dog’s body, making them feel stiff and tired. While pets like to sleep, unusual or extreme sleepiness can be an initial symptom of hypothermia. Hypothermia is a condition where the body's temperature falls below the normal level due to prolonged exposure to the cold. If left untreated, hypothermia can lead to respiratory and cardiac failure, or even death.
If you notice your dog appears to be more drowsy than usual, get them inside and warm them up quickly. You might place their dog bed near a heat source or have them use a pet-safe electric blanket. If they show other symptoms like difficulty breathing or moving, contact your vet and get immediate care.
Whether you’re taking your dog for a quick walk or simply staying indoors, be sure to watch out for these telltale signs that your pet is feeling cold. Make sure to dress your dog appropriately before taking them outdoors. If you suspect your dog has symptoms of hypothermia, wrap them in a warm garment and ta