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How to Tell If Your Dog Is Too Cold

By Aviram K.
September 21, 2021
5 min read
How to Tell If Your Dog Is Too Cold
✏️ This article has been reviewed in accordance with our editorial policy.
🏥 The information in this article is not a substitute for professional help.
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It’s a beautiful day outside. The leaves are beginning to change, and it is officially pumpkin spice latte season! As you leave your house wearing a light cardigan, you admire the brisk, fresh feeling in the air.

You marvel at how nice it is that the temperature is finally starting to drop.

But as you walk a bit further, you realize the temperature has lowered more than a little bit…it’s actually pretty chilly!

You run back inside and scour your closet for a proper winter coat.

Whew, that’s better!

As humans, sometimes colder temperatures can sneak upon us.

The same can happen to our dogs. Our canine friends may not know when it’s unseasonably cold or how to watch the weather channel. But just like us, they do experience feeling uncomfortable when it’s too cold.

Only thing is, they can’t simply grab a warmer coat.

And they can’t verbally tell us that they’re too cold.

So, what’s a loving dog parent to do?

Dogs that are too cold may visibly shiver, shake or tremble. They may also try to cuddle into warm spaces, avoid cold tile floors, and seek heat by snuggling up in your bed. When they display such signs, it is essential to warm them up to prevent hypothermia, among other problems.

It’s important yet sometimes tricky to discern if your pet is too cold.

So I’m here to help!

In this article, I will discuss what causes a dog’s temperature to be too low. I will also give you a baseline by revealing what temperature range is normal for a dog.

Then, I will explore in greater detail the many signs that your dog may be too cold. And finally, I’ll wrap it up by giving you a list of things to do to help warm your dog up if they are too cold.

Ready to take your pup from chilly to comfy and cozy?

Let’s heat this conversation up!

Table of Contents
What Causes a Dog’s Temperature to Be Low?
What Is a Normal Temperature for a Dog?
How Do You Know If Your Dog Is Cold?
What Should You Do If Your Dog Is Cold?
Above All, Try to Put Yourself into Their Fur

What Causes a Dog’s Temperature to Be Low?


Your dog may be cold simply because the temperature is low inside or outside of the house. There may be nothing deeper to it than that.

If your dog’s temperature is very low, this can be a sign that they have hypothermia.

A few of the common causes of hypothermia in dogs can include:

  • Age and weight; younger and smaller dogs may be more prone to hypothermia
  • The result of a fear response to a traumatic event
  • Prolonged time spent in very cold temperatures or cold water
  • A result of a side effect of your dog being under anesthesia
  • Your dog having a disease like hypothyroidism

What Is a Normal Temperature for a Dog?

When figuring out if your dog is too cold, keep in mind that dogs’ temperatures are different from ours. It’s commonly known that around 98.6 degrees is the average human body temperature. However, it’s interesting to note that dog’s temperatures are actually higher on average than humans’.

A dog’s normal temperature range is between 99.5-102.5 degrees.

So, if you take your dog’s temperature and get a reading that seems a little high at first, no need to worry! It’s perfectly okay and remember to judge it by the appropriate range for a dog, not a human.

How Do You Know If Your Dog Is Cold?


The most obvious way to know your dog’s temperature for certain is to actually take their temperature. You can do this quickly and easily using a pet thermometer like this one from iProven. This flexible, waterproof thermometer can give you a concrete temperature reading to help put your mind at ease stat.

Other Ways to Tell If Your Dog Is Too Cold

You may not even need to physically take your dog’s temperature to know if they’re feeling chilly. Their behavior may give it away! You know your pup, and you can likely tell if they’re acting a bit off.

It’s important to remember that the following signs your dog is too cold can also be attributed to other issues. So if you take steps to warm your dog up and they’re still showing symptoms, it may be wise to get them checked out by your vet to rule out other possible conditions.

With that disclaimer aside, here are a few signs that your dog may be too cold:

  • Shaking, shivering, trembling, or whimpering
  • Backing themselves into a corner or burrowing into plush furniture
  • Preferring to sleep with you, in your bed
  • Avoiding cold tile or wooden surfaces in favor of warmer, carpeted areas

And last but not least, a good barometer to judge if your dog may be too cold is… if you’re feeling extra cold!

As I said earlier, your dog’s average body temperature range is slightly higher than yours. Your pup likely has a much higher threshold for cold temperatures than you. So if you feel cold and your dog is exhibiting any of the above signs, they are likely feeling cold right along with you!

What Should You Do If Your Dog Is Cold?


So, you’ve reasonably confirmed your suspicion that your dog is feeling too cold.

Great, let’s get them warmed up!

Here are a few easy ways you can get your little buddy feeling nice and toasty in a jiffy:

Bring Them Inside

Even if your dog is used to spending a lot of time outside or even sleeping outside, they may not be able to withstand freezing temperatures. This is totally fine! There’s no shame in keeping your dog mostly indoors, especially during the colder seasons.

This doesn’t mean they will become spoiled or bored.

What this will mean is that they will likely stay warm and comfortable! And that’s a win!

Make Outdoor Preparations

If you have to leave your dog outside in the cold, I recommend doing your best to ensure they are well equipped. You can help your dog stay warm outdoors by providing them with:

  • An area they can seek heat and refuge, like a raised dog house or safe covered space
  • A diet rich in protein and fat to help thicken their hair for natural insulation
  • A doggy sweater or jacket if their natural coat doesn’t provide them enough warmth

Make Adjustments to their Sleeping Area

You may feel plenty warm in your bedroom, but it may be a good idea to check out the temperature where your pup sleeps. Different areas of your home may be a bit cooler than others. But, even if it’s a small temperature difference, it may be enough to make your dog cold.

What should you do if the temperature where your dog sleeps feels warm enough, but they still seem cold? It may help to add some blankets to their bedding for them to nuzzle into.

Above All, Try to Put Yourself into Their Fur


It may be hard to believe that your dog could possibly get too cold.

After all, they have a coat of fur on at all times!

But just like you, your dog has their own internal temperature where they feel their best. Just because they can’t verbalize, it doesn’t mean they may not be freezing inside. They may be wishing they could layer up just like you can!

Luckily, with a little attunement and attention, you can easily see if they’re too cold and take the necessary steps to fix this for them.

In no time, your dog will be feeling as warm as they make your heart feel!

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