Is My Dog Feeling Cold? Here’s How To Tell

The ability to regulate body temperature in the winter differs not just per breed but per individual dog. Of course, the denser or longer their coats are, the better they can keep themselves warm on their own. But how can you tell if they are cold? 

Keep an eye out for these signs that your dog is feeling too cold and select the right dog clothes that you think is appropriate to their cold weather condition.

How To Tell If Your Dog Is Cold

1. They’re Shivering

Just like people, dogs shake uncontrollably when they’re feeling cold. It could range in severity from a slight shiver to a persistent tremble, depending on how cold they feel.

a border collie in the snow

2. Their Extremities Feel Cold

Dogs’ feet and ears are cold to the touch when they themselves feel too cold. The same is true for the tips of their tails because blood flow decreases in these areas when they’re chilly.

3. Their Hair Is Standing On End

You know how hairs on your body seem to stand on end when you’re shivering from the cold? That happens to dogs, too! You can’t always tell, but it is most obvious around their scruff. 

4. They’re Breathing Seems Rapid

When it gets too cold, blood flow is redirected to the vital organs like the lungs and heart. Breathing rapidly is the body’s way of getting the heart to pump faster and harder so that blood can circulate better.

a pitbull wearing a hoodie and running in the snow

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5. They Pee More Often

Dogs urinate more in both volume and frequency when they’re feeling too cold. That’s because when blood flow to their kidneys increases, there are more fluids to filter and process. 

6. They Curl Up

When feeling cold indoors, dogs tend to curl up in an effort to preserve body heat and keep themselves warm. In fact, even when up and about, they might walk hunched over with their tail tucked between their legs to keep it from being too cold.

Paws are among the few areas of the dog's body without a fur, so they are more prone to cold as well. You may use hot water bottles, heating pads, or an all weather water-resistant dog shoes to keep your dog warm.

7. They’re Distressed

a distressed dog in the cold

Dogs may become agitated when they feel too cold. You’ll notice that they could bark or whine persistently. Some dogs might pace more, while others might become sluggish as they struggle to warm their own bodies.

It’s important to monitor their symptoms, especially when exposed to extreme cold conditions. Dogs with health conditions like kidney disease, heart disease, and diabetes are more susceptible to the cold.

8. They’re Lethargic

If your dog is lethargic, it’s possible that they’re already in the early stages of hypothermia. Hypothermia occurs when your dog’s temperature falls below the normal body temperature of around 101 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

To avoid this situation, be observant in cold weather as you may easily mistake the signs for mere sleepiness or laziness.


a dog wearing a warm jacket for the cold weather

At the end of the day, it’s you who knows your dog best. Follow your instincts and decide whether your pup needs a dog jacket for some extra warmth. And seek immediate treatment if your dog shows signs of hypothermia. Your dog will also be able to communicate to you when they’re feeling uncomfortable, so trust that your bond is enough for you to understand them.

Before heading outside, factor the wind chill and other weather conditions, such as snow, sleet, and rain that make the great outdoors more chilly for canines. Remember that a chilly dog is not a happy dog. So, protect your four-legged family member during winter.