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Do Dogs Get Cold at Night in Winter?

German Shepherd dog lying on yellow bedding with head between front paws.

Dogs are better equipped to adapt to colder temperatures than humans. However, they can still get cold at night in winter due to several factors, like breed and health. These factors can affect the dog’s ability to tolerate the cold. Smaller dogs with short hair or little body fat are more prone to the cold. Keep reading to know the temperatures at which your dog starts feeling cold at night in winter and learn how it can be identified.

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How Do I Know If My Dog Is Cold at Night?

Dogs are great animals and can resist a vast range of temperatures. That doesn’t mean that they don’t get cold at night in winter. Hence, it’s important for dog owners to know the signs of discomfort and take appropriate measures to keep their furry companion warm. The following are some major signs that indicate that your dog could be feeling cold at night.


When your dog is shivering, then it is a must that he or she may be feeling cold. Shivering is a natural return to low temperatures because it aids the body to generate heat. If a dog is shivering excessively and does not seem to warm up, it means it’s too cold.


Brown dog desolated alone and tired.

If your dog is tired or lacks energy unexpectedly, excessive cold can be the culprit. Similarly, if your dog is spending a lot of time sleeping or lying down, this can be an attempt to save body heat. In case your pooch shows signs of illness, like vomiting or diarrhea, you should consult your veterinary immediately. This is important because it could be a symptom of a more serious health condition.

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Loss of Appetite

You can also observe your dog having difficulty in digesting food at night in winter. The reason for it is that the body of the dog is keeping warm over digestion. Therefore, the food cannot be processed efficiently. If your dog refuses food for a long time, then it is a sign of a more serious primary condition.

Weak Pulse

Too much cold can make the body of your dog to lose too much heat. As a result, the temperature drops too low and its pulse becomes weak or irregular. This is because the heart which is working harder to pump blood through the body while trying to conserve heat.

Painful Limbs

Wintry weather can cause stiff muscles and sore joints which can be quite problematic for dogs. This is particularly true for canines with arthritis or other strength issues. If your dog is limping or showing signs of pain especially while moving, winter weather can be blamed. You may also notice that in such situations your dog is nervous to go outside or move more slowly than regularly.

Breathing Issues

Close up photo of a dog breathing on a green spring background.

In critical cases like hypothermia, dogs may experience respiratory failure. This is because the body is keeping the vital organs warm which can cause problems in the functioning of the lungs. If your dog struggles to breathe or choking for air, then take him to the vet as soon as possible.


Disoriented or confused dogs may feel cold due to a lack of energy or decreased blood flow to the brain. So, if you notice that your dog is disoriented then take some steps to warm them up and watch them closely.

At What Temperature Do Dogs Get Cold at Night?

Young dog under a blanket in cold winter weather.

The temperature at which the dogs start feeling cold at night may vary depending on their breed, size, age, and health. Most dogs can easily tolerate temperatures between 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit, especially if they have a warm or dry shelter. But, if the temperature drops below freezing, most dogs will start to feel uncomfortable and may meet shivering lethargy, and loss of appetite. Small dogs and dogs with fundamental health conditions may be more prone to the cold and start to feel uneasy at higher temperatures.

Do Dogs Need Heating At Night?

 Pitbull mix dog in an Indian blanket warms near firewood in beautiful forest in the evening.

Whether dogs need heating at night or not, totally depends on their breed, age, size, overall health, and the temperature in which they are living. Some dogs may need extra heat at night, while others may not even a bit. Mostly, the dogs with short hair or little body fat, older dogs, puppies, and small breeds, are keener to get cold and may get satisfaction from heating at night.

Dogs who are living in warmer climates may also face difficulties in adapting to colder temperatures and need extra heating. If you live in that part of the world that has very cold winters then make sure to provide a cozy place for your dog to sleep like a bed with blankets. A space heater or heated blanket can also provide extra warmth to your dog.

However, always use caution while providing heat to your dog. Heating sources must be placed out of the reach of your dog to prevent accidents like burns or electrical shocks. Make sure that the heating should be normal as excessive heating can cause your dog to become too warm which can lead to dehydration. So, by considering all the precautions it is up to the owner to assess their dog’s needs and decide the heating levels accordingly.

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