Is My Dog Cold at Night? A Comprehensive Guide to Keeping Your Pooch Warm

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Is my dog cold at night? Does your dog shivering at night, even though the room is comfortably warm? Does he curl up in a ball on the floor or bury herself under the blankets? If so, he might be cold.

All dogs are different and some are more comfortable sleeping in a cooler environment than others and of course, winter can also be a challenge to keep your dog warm..

In this blog post, we will discuss how to keep your dog warm at night and ensure that she is always comfortable!



How to tell if your dog is cold at night


The best way to tell if your dog is cold is by using the touch test. Simply put, if you are cold, your dog is probably cold too.

Place your hand on your dog's chest and feel for warmth. If he feels cool to the touch, then he is likely chilly and could use a little extra warmth.

Other signs that your dog might be cold at night include shivering, whining, restless sleep, and curling up in a tight ball. If you notice any of these signs, it's time to take action to keep your pup warm!


While dogs are covered in fur and have a high body temperature and don't usually feel the cold like we do, they can still get cold. Here are some signs that they are cold:


Low outside temperatures


Basically if it's winter season, or an usual cold spell, your dog should not be outside, unless their breed is specifically meant for this weather, like Huskies or Malamutes.


Hiding away


Dogs will look for warm places to hide when they are cold. If you find your dog is burrowing under the blankets or trying to sleep in a cupboard, this is a pretty good sign he is too cold.


Shivering


Shivering is one of the first signs that a dog is cold. If your dog is shaking, this is a sign he is trying to generate heat to warm himself up. Excessive shivering means that their bodies are trying very hard to warm themselves.


Cold legs and feet


If your dog's legs and feet feel cold to the touch, this is a sign he is cold. Dogs will also often lie down with their legs tucked underneath them when they are cold.


Refusing to walk


If your dog is normally enthusiastic about his walks but is suddenly refusing to walk or is walking slowly, this is a sign he is cold.

Usually if you do get them up, the next thing they'll do is just want to find a warm or thick rug to warm themselves up on.


Curled up


Dogs will often curl up into a tight ball when they are cold as this conserves their body heat.


What temperature is too cold for dogs at home?


At home, you can set the thermostat anywhere from 68 to 72F is good for your dog.

Essentially, anything below 60F (in the winter) is a no go - that is simply too cold for your dog.

At the same time, consider the age of your dogs as well; if they're young puppies or senior dogs, they're less able to regulate their temperatures, so setting higher is ideal.

Also you have to consider the breed of dog - some breeds like the Chihuahua are not as suited for colder temperatures compared to, say, a Husky.

In fact, in a study done, extreme cold can cause sudden strokes in dogs! (source)



What can you do to keep them warm



If you think your dog is cold at night, there are a few things you can do to help them warm up and feel more comfortable.


Here are some tips:


  • Add an extra blanket to their bed or sleeping area

Some dogs like to sleep in bed with their owners, while others prefer to sleep in their own bed or on a rug.

Either way, getting them an extra blanket will make them happy - doubly happy if you tuck them in when they sleep!

  • Set the thermostat a bit higher than usual

This is great if you have more senior dogs who are less mobile. The additional heat will be welcome for their aging joints.

Instead of 72F above, you could set it to about 76F, or as high as you can without breaking the bank, or is comfortable for you.

  • Place a heating pad on their bed (make sure it's not too hot!)

Again, this is great for sick and senior dogs as it will both keep them warm and be very gentle on their joints.

  • Put them in a thick “doggie onesie” or coat designed for dogs

This usually works well for small breeds like short haired Chihuahuas, who were not meant to brave the cold at night.

Just look at the post photo - you can get them a coat like that to keep them warm, too!

  • Sleep in the same room or bed

If your dog is relatively big, they could also share the same bed as you without fear of crushing them.

You both will share body heat, as well as deepen your bond with your dog!


Conclusion


Although there is no one answer, your dog may be cold at night for a variety of reasons.

Some tips to help keep your dog warm are to provide them with a comfortable place to sleep and make sure their bedding is dry and clean.

You can also try adding an extra layer or two of clothing to their regular wardrobe, making sure they have plenty of water and food, and exercising them regularly.

If you’re still concerned that your dog might be cold at night, consult with your veterinarian.



about the author

Frank Harrigan

Frank loves tacos and dogs - the good, bad and ugly sides of dog ownership.


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