As we get closer to the Winter months and the long nights draw in, we are thinking about bringing out the winter wardrobe.
Does your dog have a winter wardrobe too? Do they need one?
Today we are going to discuss the question of warmth. Do dogs get cold? And how cold is cold?
The short answer is yes, dogs absolutely get cold, but read on for tips and tricks to prevent your dog from shivering.
Table Of Contents
Do Dogs Get Cold In The Winter?
How Cold Is Too Cold For Dogs?
How Can I Tell If My Dog Is Too Cold?
How Can I Stop My Dog From Getting Cold?
Final Thoughts: Do Dogs Feel The Cold?
Do Dogs Get Cold In The Winter?
Dogs in general are far better than humans at regulating their body temperature. Their fur is both a warm coat and an efficient shield for extreme heat. Even the fluffiest and fattest dogs of them all get cold, however.
So it is fair to say that, yes, all dogs get cold, but not all dogs get cold in the same way.
There are various factors that come into play when deciphering if your specific dog is struggling or will struggle with the colder temperatures during the winter.
What type of coat for your dog have?
It won’t come as a shock to you that fine-coated dogs like Greyhounds, Chinese Crested Dogs and Chihuahuas are not cold weather dogs. (1)
These almost hairless breeds fair far worse in the cold than the thick furries like Newfoundlands, Huskies and Chow Chows. Winter and working dogs are often bred to have the thickest coats possible to protect them from the cold during their work.
Double coated breeds are well suited for arctic temperatures and may struggle during the summer.
What colour coat does your dog have?
The old adage that black absorbs heat and white repels it is somewhat true. If your dog has a deeper complexion, their fur can absorb more of the sun’s rays and retain it.
Lighter coloured dogs are not so effective at this. Something to bear in mind with this, however, is that the thickness of the coat will override the colour almost always. For example, a grey French Bulldog will not be as warm as a snow-white Siberian Husky just because of the absorbing powers that their coats provide.
How heavy is your dog?
A little extra body fat is a great insulator. While we don’t recommend or advocate that your dog be kept overweight in service of making them feel warmer, the subcutaneous fat of the rounder dogs out there does make them feel toastier in colder temperatures. That said, the number of complications associated with dog obesity is not worth the hassle. (2) It is still far more pleasant, and dare I say cost effective, to have a healthy dog that you have a dog coat for than to maintain a portly pup for the extra insulation.
How old is your dog?
Elderly dogs and young puppies have more difficulty regulating their body temperature. Healthy adult dogs are more capable of shielding themselves from the cold with their primed bodies. Therefore very young and very old dogs benefit from a little extra help to keep them warm in the colder months.
How Cold Is Too Cold For Dogs?
Okay, we have established that dogs can get cold, but what temperature is too cold for dogs?
After all, we just went through all of the factors that change how cold your specific dog may be in different conditions.
“In general, cold temperatures should not become a problem for most dogs until they fall below 45° F (7ºC), at which point some cold-averse dogs might begin to feel uncomfortable. When temperatures fall below 32° F (1ºC), owners of small breed dogs, dogs with thin coats, and/or very young, old or sick dogs should pay close attention to their pet’s well-being.” - Jennifer Coates, PetMD(3)
The emphasis on wellbeing is so important here. Think about how you feel and operate when you are cold. You have less joy for life. You are less likely to engage in activities. You just want to stay still and warm up.
It’s the same for our dogs. They also expend a lot of energy trying to keep warm as their body works hard to raise their internal temperature.
How Can I Tell If My Dog Is Too Cold?
Dogs are quite obvious when it comes to their temperature. Though they can’t speak, their behaviour will show loud and clear that they are struggling.
Here are some telltale signs that your dog is too cold:
Fidgeting and moving to warmer areas
If your dog is uncomfortable where they are, they will let you know. Dogs will huddle around sources of warmth when they feel it necessary. That source of warmth could be your bed, the fireplace, a dense rug, your lap - anywhere that seems to be a comfier spot than where they are now.
Are they following you around for cuddles or are they following you around for warmth? It is super cute when your dog hugs up to you but there may be a cry for help beneath that wish to be close to you!
Shivering is the body’s way of generating kinetic energy that helps raise your dog’s body temperature. If your pup is shivering, grab them a blanket pronto.
How Can I Stop My Dog From Getting Cold?
Dogs sleeping outside in the winter is generally not advisable. It’s not just about the ambient temperature, but also the types of weather that can plague your pup during the colder months.
For example, being cold from damp conditions because of rain or sleet can be more pervasive than a stiff cold wind. If your dog is kept outside, you are less able to monitor how they are dealing with the temperatures and weather conditions outside.
A comfortable warm dog bed indoors will help them to regulate their body temperature.
Consider extra layers
Dog coats and dog jumpers may sound silly to many but they serve a vital purpose. I used to think that dressing up your dog in “human clothing” is ridiculous, but then winter rolled around and my poor dog struggled to stay warm. Investing in a little dog hoodie for him was the best thing I could do for his health and wellbeing.
Coats are essential for walking in cold temperatures, but they can also be worn around the house if it is necessary.
Invest in blankets
To add to the number of cosy spots around the house that your dog can rest, it’s worth investing in some decent blankets.
Final Thoughts: Do Dogs Feel The Cold?
Dogs certainly don’t experience the world the same way that we do. We humans are pretty pitiful at regulating our body temperature without the plenty of layers of fabric we fashion into clothing.
But dogs do suffer in cold temperatures, and it is worth investing in some apparel for them to support them in the winter months.
What are the best cold weather dog breeds?
Some dogs are bred to be as insulated as possible in cold weather, braving all sorts of arctic tundras with relative ease. The cleverness of their physiology is quite fascinating.
Gemme Johnstone from The Spruce Pets writes “They typically have thick, insulating double coats and bushy tails designed to wrap around their bodies to keep them cozy. Plus, their paws are often wide and covered in snow-repelling fur, and their ears tend to be small to prevent frostbite.” (4)
Dog breeds that do well in cold weather include:
- Siberian husky
- Alaskan Malamute
- Great Pyrenees
- Chow Chow
- Shiba Inu
- Bernese Mountain Dog
- American Eskimo Dog
- Tibetan Terrier
- Norwegian Elkhound
- Saint Bernard
- Murphy, L. March 16, 2021. “10 Best Hairless Dog Breeds”. The Spruce Pets. Retrieved May 25, 2021. https://www.thesprucepets.com/hairless-dog-breeds-4801015
- Williams, K & Downing, R. “Obesity in Dogs”. VCA Hospitals. Retrieved May 25, 2021. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/obesity-in-dogs
- Coates, J. November 19, 2018. “How Cold Is Too Cold for Your Dog?”. PetMD. Retrieved May 25, 2021. https://www.petmd.com/dog/care/how-cold-too-cold-dog
- Johnstone, G. March 12, 2021. “10 Best Dog Breeds for Cold Weather”. The Spruce Pets. Retrieved May 25, 2021. https://www.thesprucepets.com/cold-weather-dog-breeds-4776288
As a general guide, above seven degrees is considered safe for most breeds. If the weather drops to below zero, it is beginning to become unsafe for most dogs. Below minus 12 degrees, while unlikely in Australia, is considered life-threatening.Do dogs feel the cold Australia? ›
You might think that your dog is better equipped to handle cold weather compared to you, but the reality is that dogs can get cold just as much as we do. Some breeds are indeed fitted with specialised coats that make them fully capable of handling inclement weather, such as Siberian Huskies or Alaskan Malamutes.What temperature is OK for dogs to sleep outside Australia? ›
Small companion dogs are most at risk in temperature extremes and it would be cruel to leave them outside at temperatures below 10°C or above 30°C. Larger breeds are often okay to stay outside when the temperature goes as low as 7°C as long as there's no wind. Dogs with thick, layered coats are the most cold-tolerant.Can dogs stay outside in winter Australia? ›
Although coastal Australia isn't known for especially cold weather, when the winter months arrive there are a number of steps you should take to keep your dog healthy and warm. Of course, some dog breeds handle winter weather better than others, but as the temperature drops, so does your pup's tolerance for the cold.How do you tell if a dog is cold? ›
- Shaking or shivering.
- Hunched posture with a tucked tail.
- Whining or barking.
- Change in behaviour, like seeming anxious or uncomfortable.
- Reluctance to keep walking or tries to turn around.
- Seeks places for shelter.
- Lifts paw off the ground.
Common Signs Your Dog / Pet Is Feeling the Cold
Your pet may be shivering, trembling or cuddling into warm spaces. Dogs and cats may curl up on your bed, lounge or near the heater as they seek warmth. Pets will also start to avoid lying on cold tiles and will choose to rest in places with warm flooring or carpet.
Yes. All dogs can benefit from blankets. Young, old, and sick dogs need the added comfort. Small dogs, short-haired breeds, and dogs who are prone to be more cold-blooded need the extra warmth.Do dogs need coats in Australia? ›
In southern Australia, that's most nights in winter. If a dog will be in the wind or rain, that number should be more like 18 degrees, whereas if the dog can bask in the sun, it could be down to 10. As the temperature drops further, even breeds considered to be cold-tolerant will eventually need coats.What is the warmest bedding for a dog? ›
Straw. Straw and hay also make excellent dog bedding, especially when used in a dog house. These materials are soft and offer plenty of insulation during the fall and winter.Do dogs get cold at night when sleeping? ›
Do Dogs Get Cold at Night? It is possible for dogs to get cold at night, even if they're kept indoors. "If you think your dog is getting cold at night, consider giving him a cozy blanket to snuggle up to in bed. Most dogs will not feel cold at night or will seek out a warmer place if they do," says Satchu.
- Shivers or trembles.
- Slows down or stops moving on a walk.
- Holds their paws up.
- Tucks their tail between their legs.
- Holds their paws up, or refuses to walk.
- Ears and nose feel extremely cold to the touch.
There are plenty of other ways to regulate the environment in your outdoor dog kennel, without using electricity. For example, provide comfy beds, blankets, and hot water bottles as needed in the winter, and add a small doggie pool to the run to keep your pooch cool in the summer.What the coldest you can leave your dog outside? ›
Generally speaking, dogs will be okay until the temperature drops to below 45°F. At that point, they may start to “feel” cold (and might seek out shelter or a way to stay warm). At 32°F, small dogs, elderly dogs, and dogs with preexisting health conditions should probably stay indoors.What is considered too cold for dogs to be outside? ›
Use caution when the temperature drops below 45 degrees Fahrenheit (around 7 degrees Celsius). It's potentially unsafe for little-or-medium-sized dogs with thin coats to be outside, but big dogs with heavier coats are probably OK.Is it cruel to leave a dog outside in the cold? ›
Cats and dogs should be kept inside during cold weather. It's a common belief that dogs and cats are more resistant than people to cold weather because of their fur, but it's untrue. Like people, cats and dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia and should be kept inside.Do dogs like being covered with a blanket? ›
Does Your Dog Have a Blanket? Dogs notoriously love their blankets. Whether it's at home or on the road, it gives them a place to snuggle up and be comfortable. No matter your lifestyle, this is an easy investment that every pet owner can make to improve the quality of life for their animal.How do you warm up a cold dog? ›
Get your dog into a warm building or vehicle. Wrap them in blankets, towels, coats, etc. If you can, warm up some blankets on a radiator, in a clothes dryer, or using a hairdryer. Place bottles of warm water next to your dog, but always keep a couple layers of fabric between the bottle and your dog's skin.What temperature should my dogs room be? ›
recommendations for dog housing
Ambient temperature, or the air temperature surrounding the animal (USDA, 2013), must not fall below 10°C (50°F) for dogs not acclimated to lower temperatures (USDA, 2013) or rise above 29.5°C (85°F) (USDA, 2013) for dogs in indoor facilities.
- Shivering. Just like a human, a dog's body will begin to shiver if it's too cold. ...
- Barking. Just like a child's cries, a dog's barks mean different things. ...
- Hiding. Though your dog's fur makes a great trap for heat, sometimes, this isn't enough. ...
- Lifting Paws. ...
- Read the Signs.
“It's easy to spot when dogs are cold. They shiver and seek warmth just like we do. They may not act like themselves. They may be lethargic or they may want to spend more time inside.”
Give your dog plenty of blankets and layers to curl up in. Dogs will use their own body heat to warm the bedding, keeping the area warmer. Wrap a warm blanket around their crate. Insulate your dog's crate with blankets over top so they have a warm, enclosed area to retreat to and sleep in.How long do dogs remember their owners? ›
So, how long does it take for a dog to forget a person? A dog will not forget you. A dog can remember someone his entire life. It's safe to say that your dog will not forget you after two weeks, a month, or even if you are gone for many years.Do dogs like sleeping with their owners? ›
They enjoy sleeping with you because it makes them feel safe and comfortable. Sleeping together gives dogs an emotional connection to their owners. Dogs feel love and gratitude towards you, just like you feel towards them.Do dogs like to sleep in the dark or light? ›
This means that they're instinctively drawn to small, dark spaces where they can feel safe and secure. For many dogs, this instinct is still present, and they will often choose to sleep in a dark, secluded place. Some dogs will even dig themselves a small “den” to sleep in if they don't have one available.Is putting clothes on dogs necessary? ›
Dogs in temperatures greater than 45 degrees typically do not need protective clothing. If your dog will only be outside for 10 minutes or less, they typically do not need any clothing except in extremely cold climates.Does clothing keep dogs warm? ›
The answer: Dog clothes—while absolutely adorable—are not just for fashion-forward pups. Dressing your dog in a cozy sweater or dog hoodie is a great way to help them stay warm. “When the temperature drops, some dogs may benefit from dog sweaters or dog jackets to keep warm,” says Dr.How do I know if my dog needs a sweater? ›
Small dogs tend to benefit from extra insulation during the winter, as they have a harder time retaining body heat. Medium or large dogs who have lost muscle mass due to age or illness may also need sweaters to help them retain the heat they do produce.What can I put in my outside dog house to keep them warm? ›
amazon.comIf your pup's outdoor doghouse is drafty, he will appreciate you taking the time to insulate it. You can use traditional home insulation products, such as pet-safe caulk to fill gaps and foam board, aluminum foil bubble insulation, or rolls of fiberglass insulation to line the floor, walls, and ceiling.Do dogs prefer warmth or cold? ›
Some dogs love snow and cold weather, while others get cold very easily and can not stay outside in the cold for very long. As a general rule of thumb: at 45°F (7°C) and below, most dogs will dogs will start to become uncomfortable.Do dogs prefer cold or hot rooms? ›
Coat Type: Dogs and cats with thick, long coats tend to be more cold-tolerant. In fact, they often overheat faster than humans. On the other hand, pets with thin, short fur, or hairless pets, do not retain body heat as well and therefore prefer warmer temperatures.
As a general rule of thumb, your dog will start getting cold at about 45 degrees Fahrenheit. At this point, he may feel uncomfortable and could use some extra protection. If the temperature reaches 32 degrees, then you definitely want to bundle up small dogs.What temperature do dogs need at night? ›
As a general rule of thumb, most dogs should be kept in temperatures of between and 75 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit (23-25 Celsius). This is where they will likely be most comfortable. However, the amount of warmth dogs need at night depends on their breed, their age, and their overall health conditions.Why do dogs wake up in the middle of the night? ›
The most common reasons that dogs wake their owners up could be to use the bathroom, they are hungry for food, or they are just plain bored and want to be with you. These common reasons could come from any dog of any age but depending on the temperament and how your dog acts, it may be best to prepare.Should I keep the heating on at night for the dog? ›
Whether your dog is staying outside, sleeps indoors, or in a garage, it's important to keep them warm at night. For many, especially those of you with smaller dogs or dogs with thinner coats, keeping your dog warm at night is a must for not only their comfort, but also their wellbeing and general health.What is the warmest part of a dog's body? ›
One reason your dog's belly feels warm is that your dog's belly is warm! Dogs have an average temperature of 37.7 – 39.2 degrees Celsius (100 – 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit), several degrees warmer than the human average of 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit).How do street dogs keep themselves warm in winter? ›
If you are already taking care of dogs on the road then you can help them by keeping out a dog bed so they can get a warm spot to sleep on, in case you cannot afford a bed you can give the strays some gunny bags/jute bags to sleep on during winter, they are inexpensive (about Rs 20 - Rs 30) and can help keep them warm ...How do you keep stray dogs warm in the winter? ›
- Call Your Local NGO. If you see a feral cat or a stray dog, the first thing you should do is call your local rescue organization so they can take proper action and provide safe and secure shelter for them. ...
- Bang On Your Hood. ...
- Provide Shelter. ...
- Build a Shelter. ...
- Food And Water.
On garage temperature and isolation
No pet should be kept in an uninsulated space. A well‑insulated and weathertight garage is the best option for your pet, whether it's in the cold weather of winter — keep the interior temperature at or over 50℉ (10℃) — or the summer's burning heat.
Even if your dog has a thick, heavy coat, they might still feel chilly in the winter. Pets are just as likely to get frostbite (frozen skin and tissue) and hypothermia (low body temperature) as their owners.How long can dogs be out in 0 degrees? ›
“Dogs can go outside for 15 to 20 minutes at below-freezing temperatures to use the bathroom and play,” says Sara Ochoa, DVM. She reiterates that you should keep a close eye on your dog while you're outside to make sure that they're not showing any signs of discomfort.
As a general guide, above seven degrees is considered safe for most breeds. If the weather drops to below zero, it is beginning to become unsafe for most dogs. Below minus 12 degrees, while unlikely in Australia, is considered life-threatening.How old is too cold for a dog? ›
Cold-Temperature Guidelines for Dogs
Once temperatures drop under 20 F, all pet parents need to be aware that their dogs could develop cold-associated health problems like hypothermia or frostbite when outside for extended periods of time.
- Keep pets sheltered. Keep your pets inside with you and your family. ...
- Bundle up, wipe down. No matter what the temperature is, windchill can threaten a pet's life. ...
- Remove common poisons. ...
- Protect outdoor animals. ...
- Speak out.
In most cases, the effect will be slight. Provided they are equipped the right shelter, all dogs should be fine in this type of weather. Anything below 32 degrees is where you really want to start paying attention to signs of shivering, anxiety, lack of movement, whining, and general malaise.Can dogs survive in a cold house? ›
While safe temperatures are not clear-cut, Charpentier advises her clients that healthy dogs and cats that are not elderly or skinny should be able to safely remain at a house that is as cold as 45 degrees, or even colder. For its own comfort, the animal should have a place to go where it can warm up.What temperature can dogs tolerate cold? ›
Generally speaking, dogs will be okay until the temperature drops to below 45°F. At that point, they may start to “feel” cold (and might seek out shelter or a way to stay warm). At 32°F, small dogs, elderly dogs, and dogs with preexisting health conditions should probably stay indoors.What is an unsafe cold temperature for dogs? ›
Below 32°F – Owners of smaller breed dogs, dogs with short or thin coats, and/or very young, senior dogs, dogs with health conditions, or sick dogs should pay close attention to their pet's well-being. Below 20°F – All owners need to be aware that their dogs could potentially develop hypothermia and frostbite.Is 22 degrees OK for dogs? ›
It's generally safe in temperatures of up to 19°C (68°F) but be careful when the mercury rises above this. Even at temperatures as low as 20°C (70°F) dogs are at risk of heat stroke. Heat stroke in dogs is essentially a high temperature not caused by a fever.Is 3 degrees Celsius too cold for a dog? ›
Dogs, just like people, can develop hypothermia in cold temperatures. Small, short-coated, short-legged and toy breeds are at highest risk for hypothermia and problems can become apparent at temperatures below 4 degrees Celsius.At what temperature do dogs need coats? ›
Do Dogs Need Winter Coats? They just might. Even dogs with thick coats can get hypothermia or frostbite in freezing weather, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). If the temperature is in the mid-40s Fahrenheit / 4.4 degrees Celsius or lower, it's definitely time to dress that pet.
Do Dogs Get Cold at Night? It is possible for dogs to get cold at night, even if they're kept indoors. "If you think your dog is getting cold at night, consider giving him a cozy blanket to snuggle up to in bed. Most dogs will not feel cold at night or will seek out a warmer place if they do," says Satchu.How long is dog in 20 degree weather? ›
Here is a breakdown by Malinich of how long it's safe for dogs to be outdoors when frigid air moves in. In cold temperatures 20 degrees and above: Large dogs (50-80 pounds) should be outside no more than one minute per degree. Medium dogs (25-50 pounds) can be outside for 30 seconds per degree.Is 15 degrees too cold for a dog? ›
20-35 degrees is where large dogs need to have eyes on them, as these are potentially unsafe conditions depending on your dog's breed and unique needs. 15 degrees and lower is where you hit a danger zone, so you'll want to really limit your dog's exposure to the elements and keep them indoors as much as possible.Is 21 too cold for a dog? ›
Once temperatures drop under 20 F, all pet parents need to be aware that their dogs could develop cold-associated health problems like hypothermia or frostbite when outside for extended periods of time. The best way to monitor your dog when they're outside in the cold is to keep a close eye on their behavior.Do dogs need blankets? ›
All dogs can benefit from blankets. Young, old, and sick dogs need the added comfort. Small dogs, short-haired breeds, and dogs who are prone to be more cold-blooded need the extra warmth. Dogs love the comfort of having a blanket of their own, and blankets make great substitutes for dog beds.Can a dog feel love? ›
Science proves that part of the canine brain is associated with positive emotions and they do, indeed, feel love for their human companions.