How To Tell If Your Dog Is Cold

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.

1. They’re Shivering

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

A brindle dog curling up to keep warm. Photo by irene_eon.

A Chihuahua snuggled up in a blanked

A Chihuahua snuggled up in a blanked. Photo by Needpix.

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 Hairs are Standing

You know how hairs in your body seem to stand at their ends 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.

A Golden Retriever feeling cold on the floor in winter

A Golden Retriever feeling cold on the floor in winter. Photo by Bruno Cervera.

A Border Collie breathing rapidly due to the cold weather. Photo by Max Pixel.

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.

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.

A Bichon Frise playing in the snow

A Bichon Frise playing in the snow. Photo by pxhere.

A puppy curling up in a basket

A puppy curling up in a basket. Photo by

6. They Keep Curling 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.

7. They’re Distressed

Dogs may become agitated when they feel too cold. You’ll notice that they could bark or whine persistently.

Some dogs might pace as they become more and more agitated while others might become sluggish as they struggle to warm their own bodies.

A stressed Chocolate Labrador

A stressed Chocolate Labrador. Photo by Tim Dawson. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A lethargic Bichon Frise. Photo by David.

8. They’re Lethargic

If your dog is already lethargic in the cold, it’s possible that they’re already in the early stages of hypothermia. To avoid this situation, be observant in cold weather as you may easily mistake the signs for mere sleepiness or laziness.

At the end of the day, it’s you who knows your dog best. Follow your instincts and decide on whether your pup needs a dog sweater or dog jacket for some extra warmth. 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.

***Keep your pup warm this winter with these stylish dog clothes***

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