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Everyone knows when a dog gets too hot. Dogs pant, drink lots of water, and lie down on cold surfaces. However, most people don’t know when a dog gets too cold. A dog’s furry coat is an excellent insulator, but it won’t keep them warm in icy conditions.
What are the warning signs whenever a dog gets too cold? Do dogs get cold in the same way we do? We’ll take a look at the answers, as well as some easy solutions to make it so your pup never fears the weather again!
Do Dogs Get Cold?
Yes, they do. Dogs, much like us humans, are warm-blooded. That means that they:
- Can keep a constant body temperature
- Can maintain that body temperature through their metabolism
- Can retain and shed heat through body processes
Dogs check all the boxes of being warm-blooded. They have a constant body temperature like humans and have a metabolism that maintains that temperature and can control their body heat. They pant when they are hot and shiver when they are cold.
Dogs can get cold and often do. While humans put on coats, jackets, and mittens to cool off, dogs just use their fur as a coat.
Bred for the Cold
Do dogs get cold differently? Yes, as the severity of their reaction to cold temperatures varies by breed and age.
For some dogs, like Huskies, Saint Bernards, and Mastiffs, the coat is all they need. These dogs have been adapted and bred for frigid climates, and their coats reflect that. The coat of a winter dog is thick, hairy, and perfect for resisting biting winds and freezing temperatures.
Other factors that can affect a dog’s ability to handle the cold include their age, weight, and breed. Lean dogs in the prime of their lives can handle the cold much better than older, skinnier dogs or puppies.
However, for a dog that isn’t bred to handle freezing snow and biting wind, the cold can be a bit of a problem. Most dogs can handle cold temperatures up to 45 degrees Fahrenheit, but anything lower than that is something some dogs can’t handle. But how do you know when your dog is cold?
Symptoms of A Too Cold Dog
Most cold dogs tend to act out of character whenever they are freezing, so these symptoms shouldn’t be too hard to spot.
The first one is shivering and trembling. If your dog is huddled against you and shivering, and also feeling cold to the touch, then he is probably too cold. Do your best to give him pets and rub him down, just like how you’d rub your arms and get your blood pumping.
It’s important to see if your dog is really cold, as canines can also tremble from fear or excitement as well. If there’s nothing around to scare them and nothing around to make them excited, then your pup is probably cold.
If your dog is sleeping more than normal, then that’s a sign that they could be feeling the cold. In order to prevent the outside chill from coming inside, make sure their bed is warm. Put the bed in a warm part of the room, keep the bed off of cold hardwood floors, and add an extra blanket or two.
Humans often get dry skin in the winter months, and our four-legged friends are no different. If you notice that your dog has dry or flaky skin, then that’s a sign that he is too cold. Make sure to treat the dry skin quickly and then try to keep your dog warm.
Can dogs get a cold? Yes, and temperatures can play a factor. Dogs can potentially catch a variety of viruses that cause a sore throat, runny nose, and similar symptoms to a human cold. While dogs can catch a cold in any weather, repeated exposure to cold temps can lower their immune response and increase their likelihood of illness.
How To Keep Your Dog Warm
If you notice any of the above symptoms on your dog, then you’ll need to do a few extra steps to keep your dog warm this winter.
Look at Clothing Options
While you might laugh a bit at the idea of a dog wearing clothes, a sweater or coat actually can be beneficial. Little booties in the snow help keep your dog’s paws from getting cold, and a coat or sweater can add an extra layer to defend against the chill. Just be sure to take the clothing off when they get inside, so your dog doesn’t get too hot!
Limit Outside Time
Limiting the time a dog spends outside can be a surefire way to reduce their cold exposure. They should only go outside in very cold weather for short times. For example, your pup can go out if he needs to go to the bathroom, or maybe for a quick walk if it’s not too cold.
If it’s snowing outside, then outdoor exercise is probably out of the question. In that case, be sure to look up indoor activities you can do to burn off your dog’s energy. These can include playing fetch indoors, a game of tug of war, or giving your pup a puzzle to solve. Put a few treats or a glob of peanut butter into a toy, and your furry friend will be busy for hours!
Keep the House Warm
Aside from keeping where the dog is sleeping warm, you’ll also want to keep the house warm. Be sure to look at places where your dog spends a lot of time, such as by their food and water bowls, and make sure those places are always warm.
Other parts of your house should be warm as well, for both your comfort and the comfort of your pet.
Keeping Your Dog Warm
Do dogs get cold? Yes, but a few simple precautions can help them feel comfortable.
Keeping your dog warm is a lot like keeping yourself warm in the winter. Keep your eye on your dog and watch out for shivering, dry skin, and extreme drowsiness. If you see these symptoms, then do your best to keep them warm with a heated house, limited outside time, and perhaps even some clothing.
Dogs can be kept warm the same way we humans keep ourselves warm, and even a few minutes of petting them and getting the blood flowing can help. By keeping your dog warm, you lower the risk of them getting sick from the cold and allow them to really have fun in the winter.