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How can I tell if my dog is cold?

May 27, 2023

Duncan Houston

Dogs can indeed feel cold, and in some cases, might require intervention to prevent discomfort or potential health problems such as hypothermia. Here are several signs to watch for that could indicate your dog is cold:

1. **Shivering**: This is the most obvious sign. Just like humans, dogs shiver when they're cold. This is an involuntary response that produces heat when the body is chilly.

2. **Whining or Anxious Behavior**: Dogs might also act upset, anxious, or start whining if they're cold. These could be signs of discomfort due to the cold.

3. **Slower Movements or Stiffness**: If your dog is moving more slowly than usual, or if its movements seem stiff or uncomfortable, it might be too cold. Cold can exacerbate joint pain, particularly in older dogs or dogs with conditions such as arthritis.

4. **Cold Ears or Body**: Feel your dog's ears and body. If they feel cold to the touch, especially in a warm environment, it could mean that your dog is feeling cold.

5. **Paw Lifting**: In cold conditions, dogs might lift their paws off the ground as they walk, indicating that the cold surface is causing discomfort.

6. **Seeking Shelter or Warm Places**: If your dog is seeking warm places around the house, snuggling into blankets, or curling up in a tight ball, it might be trying to keep warm.

7. **Change in Appetite or Behavior**: Changes in appetite or behavior could also be a sign. Dogs sometimes eat more in cold weather to generate body heat, or they might become lethargic due to the cold.

8. **Refusal to Go Outside**: Dogs that are cold might resist going outside, especially if it's noticeably chilly or there's snow on the ground.

Remember, not all dogs are as tolerant of cold weather as others. Dogs with thin coats, smaller dogs, very young or old dogs, or dogs with certain health conditions may be more susceptible to cold than others. If you see signs that your dog is cold, consider taking measures to warm them up, like providing a dog sweater, a heated bed, or simply raising the indoor temperature.