Summer is over, the evenings are getting darker, and our days are getting colder meaning we have to wrap up warm… but not just, our dogs too. Temperatures tend to drop even lower after dark so it’s even more important to keep your dog warm at night.
This is particularly true for dogs who live in out-buildings, garages, or in colder rooms in your home. Breeds with shorter coats will suffer more with the cold weather too, so keeping your dog warm at night is important for their comfort and health.
No matter where your dog sleeps at night, there are many ways in which you can help to keep them warm and comfortable – whether they are outdoors or indoors dogs.
I will start with keeping your dog warm indoors at night, then move onto the outdoor tips after that.
How to keep a dog warm at night inside your home
Just like us, when a dog gets cold, they become more vulnerable to illnesses. The extreme end of the scale would be something like hypothermia which can be fatal.
There are also things like frostbite, which can lead to amputation.
Cold weather and dogs don’t mix, but thankfully there are many ways in which you can keep a dog warm at night who sleep inside.
Without further ado, here are my tips for how you can keep a dog warm at night when they are sleeping in the home.
1. Heated mats and bedding
Make sure your dog has a comfortable and snuggly bed, and why not also give them a heated blanket?
Alternatively, you can actually buy winter dogs bed with built-in heating. Here’s one of them on the Amazon website. It has high sides that also help to keep the warmth in the bed.
If your dog is bed chewer, you might want to opt for a heated sleeping mat instead. Again, you can buy a heated dog mat on Amazon, which has great reviews. I believe it heats up to warm sleeping temperature of around 40℃ (104℉) – more than enough to keep your dog warm at night.
2. Raise their bed off the floor
One sure fire way your dog will get cold at night is when the lower temperatures rise up through the floor and into their bedding. Combat this by raising their bed up of the floor and away from the ground.
This will also help with any heat loss from your dog’s body.
You can buy raised dog beds on Amazon, or failing that, put some more bedding or cushions under their existing bed to help keep them warmer at night.
3. Build your dog a cosy nest at night
You can help them keep warm by winding blankets together into a loop or ring, which your dog can then sleep in. We do this all the time with our own dog – it’s almost like a donut shape.
You can make their nest even warmer with fleece dog blankets, again, available on Amazon with superb reviews from pet owners.
If your dog ends up loving their new winter blanket, wash it regularly during the cold nights to help prevent nasty smells and allergy inducing dust or mites – they can then sleep in comfort and warmth during the night.
4. Buy a dog nesting bed instead
Instead of building your dog a warm nest, you can just one instead. They are awesome and cosy, looking like indoor kennels for your dog to sleep inside to keep really warm on winter nights.
Not all dogs like them, as some will feel trapped and claustrophobic. If you have the type of dog who loves to burrow under your bed covers though, it could be perfect for keeping them warm at night; here’s a well rated one on Amazon.
5. Buy dog pyjamas
Honestly, I thought this sounded crazy too, but they do honestly exist.
I don’t think I could persuade our dog to put these on, but if yours is comfortable playing dress up, they could be the perfect way to keep them warmer on cold evenings.
My wife and I always wear pyjamas when it the temperature gets cold at night, so why should your dog miss out? Here’s a set I found on Amazon.
6. Prevent draft in the room your dog sleeps in
Drafts are so often overlooked, because we’re not at the same height that dogs sleep at, so might not notice the cold.
However, it’s one of the most important factors for pet owners wanting to know how to keep their dog warm at night.
As you know, dogs sleep on or close to the floor, making them a target for cold air coming underneath doors or through air vents. Your dog could very well end up getting a chill, so invest in draft excluders to make the room warmer.
7. Indoor grass patches
Some dogs won’t even want to go outside to do their business once the cold sets in. To keep them in the indoors warmth, you could use a fake grass patch for them to pee on.
They have a tray underneath which collects the urine and means your dog can keep warm indoors without braving sub-zero temperatures. Click the photo below to find out more.
8. Heated dog bowls
When water gets really cold it can actually make your dog ill. When your dog drinks nearly frozen water, their own body temperature can drop, leading to potential health issues in winter.
Instead you could invest in a heated dog bowl (view on Amazon). It doesn’t make their water warm, but instead has just enough heat to stop it getting dangerously cold for them.
Handy Hint: I’ve written a list of more ways you can stop your dog’s water bowl from freezing over, without having to use electricity.
9. Consider letting the dog in your bed
This is personally not one for me, because my dog is a huge snorer and takes too much room in our bed… and he’s not even that big! My wife also tends suffer with allergic reactions to dog hair.
We won’t be taking this option, but if it works for you, perhaps make the odd exception to the bed sleeping rule on colder nights to keep your dog warm.
10. Don’t let them sleep too near to heating
Whilst is might be tempting to position your dog’s bed near to a heater or radiator, I would recommend against doing so.
Some dogs, especially brachycephalic breeds such as Pugs can overheat easily and quickly become uncomfortable.
How to keep a puppy warm at night
All of the tips I’ve already written for how to keep a dog warm at night will work just as well with a puppy, but they are more inclined to get cold. They are small and still developing so don’t cope as well with colder temperatures at night-time.
Fortunately, a lot of the warming products available for smaller dogs are also suitable for puppies. You can find microwavable heating pads will be much safer than hot water bottles, and blankets or even old towels or clothes are also an easy go-to option.
Just make sure to keep an eye on them and make sure they can breathe while they are under there.
Handy Hint: I’ve yet to meet a dog who doesn’t like snow… if you click that link it will explain what it is about snow that dogs love so much.
How to keep a dog warm at night outside
Whilst the majority of dogs stay inside at night, there are some working dogs who will sleep outdoors or in kennels, no matter what the weather.
But even big dogs with heavy coats can suffer in the cold, so you will need to take steps to keep them warm at night.
If your dog sleeps outdoors, protect them from hypothermia and frostbite with the following tips.
- Build a warm doghouse.
- Leave them plenty of food to keep calories up (will keep them warmer).
- Use a heat lamp if the dog sleeps in a garage.
- Install a light bulb in a protected wire cover in the doghouse.
- Have a pile of straw which the dog can burrow into.
- Place thermal shiny blankets on the outside of the doghouse.
How can you keep a dog warm that refuses to come inside at night?
Some dogs prefer to sleep outside and won’t come indoors no matter how cold it is. This is most likely behavioral issue but can be resolved with training.
It’s a common thing with rescue dogs, as some will have negative connotations with being indoors. You can get over it by creating a strong bond, and making the home safe, warm, and comfortable for them.
However, while you are training your dog to come inside to keep warm at night, there are ways to make sure that they are comfortable if sleeping outdoors.
Can I leave my dog outside at night?
During cold weather, you should try to keep your dog inside. As pack animals, they will want to be with you and your family, rather than feeling potentially rejected if left outside at night.
As dogs have become domesticated over the thousands of years, they aren’t all designed to deal with cold weather as their wild counterparts would have been.
In particular, it can be very dangerous to leave smaller breeds outdoors who don’t have fatty deposits and shaggy coats to help keep the warmth in.
Please also note that in some places it could be illegal to keep your dog outside at night. There could be laws in your local area which state you need to give your dog safe and proper shelter from the elements.
I do not recommend letting a dog sleep outside at night at all. However, I appreciate it is sometimes unavoidable as this vet said:
“Many dogs love to be outside and some in rural areas sometimes prefer to be outside. As pup parents, it’s important to know when they need to join their families and seek shelter.” – Dr. Rob Prietto.
How to keep your dog warm on winter walks
On the topic of winter, it’s not just at night when you need to keep your dog warmer, but whilst on walks too. It’s essential that you keep your dog exercised in colder months but take steps to make them comfortable.
Consider investing in winter clothing
You can buy a range of winter wear to fit dogs of all sizes. This includes:
- Winter boots and paw protection.
- Sweaters, jackets, and snowsuits.
- Earmuffs and snoods.
Can dogs get too cold at night?
Yes, and whilst dogs cannot speak, although we often wish they could, they do communicate with us in ways that we can understand.
A cold dog will often make its discomfort well known. This can include obvious signs like shivering; although many dogs will whine, act anxious and will find ways to try and keep their paws off of the ground.
You know your dog better than anyone, so if your dog is doing any of these things, acting up because of the cold, or showing other signs of discomfort, then it is best to bring them inside.
Here’s an infographic I created for pugs, so you know when they are too cold, and it applies to similar sized dogs.
The bottom line is this; it’s your responsibility to make sure you keep your dog warm at night, and I hope these tips have given you a head start on how to do so.
You might also like…
Given the time of year I thought it prudent to link you up to some similar guides that come in handy.
- Reasons why your dog might have a runny nose
Image in header via https://pixabay.com/photos/french-bulldog-dog-eyes-view-nose-4652434/
Bedding – winter beds for your dog should be warm with lots of blankets, raised above the ground to avoid draughts. If your dog sleeps outside and letting them inside isn't an option, provide proper housing, which is dry with insulation and a sloped roof.Do dogs get cold at night in the house? ›
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.Can dogs survive in the cold in a dog house? ›
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.At what temperature do dogs need a blanket at night? ›
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 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.What temperature do dogs get cold inside the house? ›
While broad generalizations are difficult, cold should not become a problem for most dogs until the temperature falls below 45 F, at which point some cold-averse dogs might begin to feel uncomfortable.How cold is too cold for a dog to sleep 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 temperature should a room be for a dog? ›
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.
You should never completely cover your dog's crate as it can block airflow. Keep blankets away from heat sources, ensure the fabric is breathable, and avoid using knit blankets that may snag or unravel. Monitor the conditions inside the crate in humid summer weather to ensure it doesn't get too hot.Can a dog survive in a house with no heat? ›
Your dog will be comfortable at most temperatures between 65-75 degrees. And if you're concerned that 65 is too cold for your canine, remember that they're actually safe below 45 degrees with no concern. Don't forget, not all dogs need it warm at all.
According to the brand, the insulation is so effective the interior of the house (when your dog is inside) is, on average, 25 degrees warmer than the outside temp.Do dogs like to be warm when they sleep? ›
Dogs, like humans, take comfort in having a warm body next to them while they sleep, which is why they crawl into bed with us in the first place.Do dogs like sleeping in cold rooms? ›
Naturally the dogs will feel cold, especially if they are on the smaller size with short hair. Certain breeds, like huskies, love the very cold weather. A rule of thumb is that if the temperature is comfortable for a human, it would be comfortable for a dog.Should I put a blanket over my dog when he sleeps? ›
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.What is the best material for a dog to sleep on? ›
Cotton Is Comfortable for Dogs Too
As humans, we know that cotton means comfort thanks to a crisp weave, a soft feel and superior breathability. Those benefits are also what make cotton such a good fabric for dog beds! Cotton is hands-down one of the best dog bed fabrics on the market.
A soft bed and a thick blanket should provide plenty of warmth for your pup during the winter. However, if your dog sleeps in a particularly drafty or chilly part of the house, consider getting a self-warming pet mat, which retains your dog's body heat, or a mat with a removable microwavable heating pad.Do dogs get cold easily? ›
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 do you insulate a dog house for winter? ›
Use the insulation sandwich method on doghouse walls, placing insulation between the wall and a protective cover. If the doghouse is small, place the insulation and wood cover on the outside wall to save precious interior space, or use foil-faced insulation for inside walls and cover it with paneling.Is it cruel for dogs to sleep outside? ›
While it's not cruel to keep a pet outdoors in mild weather, dogs are pack animals who thrive with companionship and being close to their owners. So it's only natural that they will be happiest spending time with the family. A dog kept solely outside experiences social isolation and may bark or howl out of loneliness.Should I put a pee pad in the crate? ›
Never leave pee pads in the crate with your puppy. Not only is it a chewing hazard, but it will also start to teach your puppy that it is ok to pee in their crate. Pee pads can be used in long-term confinement areas for your puppy.
The waterproof and relatively chew-resistant K9 Ballistics TUFF crate pad can be a good option for puppies that aren't too strong or determined of chewers, and for most adult dogs. It's odor-resistant, easy-to-clean, and machine washable. This is the mat featured in the crate photo above.Should you put anything in a dog crate at night? ›
Should You Put Anything in Your Puppy's Crate at Night? The short answer is, yes, of course you should. Your puppy—or even your mature dog—should view her crate as a safe haven, a place she associates with warmth, nurturing, and pleasure.What temperature is too cold for dogs overnight? ›
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.Can a dog survive a cold night? ›
Like people, cats and dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia and should be kept inside. Longer-haired and thick-coated dog breeds, such as huskies and other dogs bred for colder climates, are more tolerant of cold weather; but no pet should be left outside for long periods in below-freezing weather.How do dogs sleep when they are cold? ›
The donut sleeping position
The tail may be draped over the body like a fluffy scarf. Dogs sometimes choose the donut position to conserve body heat, so you may see your dog in this position more often in cold weather. Some dogs choose the donut position for sleeping if they feel vulnerable or anxious.
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.