Some dogs are used to living outside, so they can face harsh temperatures without too much hassle. Some others are different – take them out on a relatively cold day, and they will start shaking right away. It is quite reasonable – different dogs have different levels of sensitivity when it comes to cold weather.
More factors can affect a dog’s sensitivity – how long and thick the fur is, how old it is, its weight, and whether or not it is in a good health condition. Temperature tolerance is, therefore, a variable. So, how do I know if my dog is cold at night then?
Knowing the signs of a temperature drop will most likely indicate how your dog feels.
Understanding The Risks Of Cold
Risks of cold can be quite diversified. Some of them can be quite severe, hence the importance of knowing when your dog is cold. Some pet owners tend to forget about these aspects. As a general rule of thumb, if your dog has short hair or it is a small breed, chances are it will be more sensitive to cold than others. The same rule applies to puppies or older dogs in poor health conditions.
Hypothermia is one of the main risks of cold. When the temperature falls below 95 degrees F, the risk becomes apparent. Ideally, your dog’s temperature should be around 102 degrees F.
Frostbite is another common problem. As a result of cold weather, the body directs blood towards vital organs rather than the extremities – paws, tail, nose, or ears. If these parts go bright red or even black, make sure you warm the dog up.
Just like humans, dogs can also catch a cold if they feel too cold at night. Symptoms include eye or nose discharge, as well as sneezing.
Now that you are aware of the risks, how do I know if my dog is cold at night?
How To Tell If Your Dog Is Cold At Night
According to Ontario SPCA, there are quite a few signs to indicate a dog’s lack of comfort.
Just like you put a coat on, your dog has fur. But if you go outside with the coat on, gloves and a hat and you still cannot stand the temperature, chances are your dog cannot do it either. If your dog has to go outside, take it out around the building, have it eliminate, and take it back inside.
A dog’s reaction to cold is similar to yours. Practically, if your dog shivers or trembles, it is probably too cold for it. Another sign implies keeping the tail close to the body to warm up. You can also tell the dog is stiff when it tries to find warm shelter, be it behind a couch or close to the radiator.
Shivering is the body’s reaction to cold, as it tries to warm up.
Cold Body Parts
If your dog feels cold when you pet it, it probably is. Ears represent an excellent way to tell too. If they are cold, your dog is cold – make sure you double-check close to the edges. Cover your furry friend with a blanket or turn the heating on and have it sit next to the radiator.
Hiding Or Barely Walking
This is another good sign to tell if your dog is cold. When it strolls and keeps the tail close to the body, it tries to warm up. It may also seem a bit hunched over. Look at what it tries to do. If it keeps coming closer to a radiator or seeks shelter on a couch or under it, it might be cold.
Pay attention to your dog’s sleeping or resting position. While most dogs tend to curl up when they sleep, they often end up quite relaxed if they feel warm. On the other hand, low temperatures will have them curl into a ball – they end up with their noses hiding close to their tails.
Tails are also tucked in. Most commonly, this position also involves shivering. It is usually an attempt to warm up, so make sure you give your friend some extra heat.
Signs Of Hypothermia
Assuming that you have ignored the signs mentioned above, hypothermia might kick in, and it can be hazardous. Here are some of the symptoms associated with it:
- The dog appears lethargic or sleepy
- It moves in a clumsy way
- Muscles seem to be stiff
- Breathing difficulties
Take the dog to a vet straight away then.
How To Keep Your Dog Comfortable During Cold Weather
According to Top Dog Tips, there are a few simple tips and tricks to keep your furry friend warm during the wintertime.
- Keep a close eye on the dog when the temperature drops. If you see any signs, take precautions to keep it safe.
- If the dog is more sensitive to cold weather or it goes on a long walk, you might want to invest in a dog sweater or perhaps a dog coat.
- While dog boots can be uncomfortable, they are handy if your dog has to go out, and the weather is extreme.
- Get your pet a professionally made dog house if it is an outside dog. Water should be fresh and not too cold. The dog house must be insulated and should feature a blanket and bedding. Keeping it off the ground will also help.
So, how do I know if my dog is cold at night? There are quite a few visible signs, yet many pet owners overlook them. Keep an eye on your friend and react whenever you see anything unusual. If the situation seems problematic, rush to a vet as quickly as you can.
The good news is that whether you have an inside or outside dog, there are multiple ways to keep it warm and ensure a comfortable cold season.