Do you own a fluffy companion? It can be pretty upsetting watching your dog in an uncomfortable state. Just like humans, lack of warmth, poor sleeping conditions and changes in weather can all make your dog feel cold at night.
Dogs are sensitive to weather, and as they lose heat faster than normal, they can become distressed when exposed to colder temperatures. You can tell if your dog is cold at night when the temperature drops, as they may shiver, refuse to move and feel cold to touch.
Keeping your dog warm should be your priority – especially when the cold weather kicks in. Here we will help you understand the signs and symptoms to look out for to help you know if your dog is cold at night.
What is a dogs core body temperature?
In normal conditions, a dog’s body temperature ranges from 38.3 to 39.2°C or 101.0 to 102.5°F. You should, however, take your pet to a vet if their temperature falls below 37.2°C (99°F) or rises above 40.0°C (104°F). It should be noted however, that temperature tend to vary and are relatively higher in smaller dogs than in large dogs.
How can you tell your dog is cold?
Different dogs react differently when cold. Temperature tolerance is a variable that depends on genetics, diet, exercise levels, health, age, and environmental conditions.
Some breeds are better able to deal with extreme temperatures than others. For example, dogs such as Huskies and Collies have a higher cold tolerance since they have long, thick coats to protect them from cold and snow.
Our Cavapoo, Rosie, for example has thick wavy fur and although we have a winter coat to keep her warm, she rarely displays any signs of coldness.
Signs of discomfort will be pretty visible in a cold dog an can include:
Weather (seasonal weather changes outside)
At some point, you might have experienced joint and muscle stiffness when the temperature becomes cooler. Your pup will also experience the same. Seasonal weather changes in a drop in barometric pressure, can generate inflammatory responses on your dog’s body.
Your dog is shivering
This is a one of the most visible signs than can help you detect that your dog is cold. During cold weather, your dog shivers, sending out signals to increase blood flow to the surface of the skin. This increases the amount of heat coming into their body. At this time, your furry friend will try to find shelter at places such as on the couch or by a fire.
They refuse to walk
When cold, dogs may lie down and refuse to walk. Lack of movement indicates that the dog is cold, and it’s time for you to warm it up. However, this can also occur due to lack of leash training, fear, excessive exercise, or health problems.
They have cold body parts (feet, ears)
Every time you see a hunched posture or a tucked tail, the first question you should be asking “is my dog cold at night?”. Various body parts such as the feet, paws, and ears tend to become colder first and compared to other parts, they are easier to notice.
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What temperature should dogs sleep at?
Dogs can, at times, find it hard to adjust to low temperatures. As a dog owner, you should aim at keeping your pet warm by adjusting the thermostat settings to comfortable temperatures.
The ideal temperatures at different times of the year vary. During winter, for instance, the perfect range is between 68°F to 72°F. During the summer months, most dogs feel comfortable at a range of 75°F to 78°F.
Small dogs such as Cockapoos and Cavapoos lose heat faster than big dogs, which means they get cold faster.
What temperature is too cold for dogs overnight?
Chilly temperatures can cause discomfort to a dog and may require protection. Temperatures below 45°F are considered to be too cold for dogs overnight.
When temperatures fall below 45°F, dog owners of smaller breeds such as Cavapoos, puppies, or canines with short hair, should take extra measures such as pulling extra bedding.
Those with heavy coats such as Siberian Huskies, German Shepherds, and Newfoundlands which were originally bred as working dogs, are more cold tolerant.
In extreme conditions, dogs can suffer from hypothermia. This occurs when the core temperature drops below 95°F. Hypothermia is often accompanied by seizures, muscle twitching, shivering, and lethargy.
Do dogs get cold at night inside
Yes, dogs get cold at night – even when kept inside.
Although dogs don’t sweat, they still produce heat through their bodies, so any heat loss causes your dog to feel colder than usual, and smaller dogs feel heat loss more. A dog that is kept inside is given shelter during cold weather, but always ensure that you have blankets for warming your fluffy friend at night too.
Do dogs get cold outside at night
Walking outside at night with your pet is essential for expending energy, allowing them to toilet and good for bonding with them. But do dogs get cold at night while outside, especially during winter?
Older dogs and those with short hair, such as Greyhounds, feel colder outside. Lower temperatures below 32°F are unfavourable, and you should consider keeping your dogs indoors.
Ideally all dogs should sleep inside the house during winter. If temperature drop further, your dog will be at risk of frostbite or hypothermia.
Are dogs able to pull blankets over themselves if they get cold?
The surprising answer to this question is yes. Although most dogs enjoy snuggling under a blanket, not all can pull it over themselves if they get cold. During winter, when the temperatures drop, you might need to cover your pets with extra blankets so that they feel cosseted and warm.
Where should my dog sleep at night?
You might be stuck on where your new dog will lie and whether you should let them snuggle up on your bed or a couch?
Your dog’s sleeping spots vary depending on the breed, size, activity level, age, and environment. Mostly, your dog should sleep either in a dog crate, a dog bed or on a couch. If you would like some top tips then read our guide on ‘crate training your Cavapoo‘.
Puppies prefer snoozing either on the floor or on softer beds since their bones are not fully developed. As long as your dog is comfortable and warm at night, any space inside the house can be a perfect spot to snooze. However, we do not recommend letting your dog share a bed with you. To find out more, read our blog on ‘sleeping with your Cavapoo – yes or no?!’
If you have a dog house, it should be fully insulated and well covered to keep your fluffy companion warm at night and we only recommend using this is warmer climes.
How to keep a dog warm at night inside your home
A heavy coat alone does not provide enough warmth to a pooch when it’s cold. You need to add layers from the wardrobe or use some bedding to keep your dog warmer. Ensure that you provide enough cover to sensitive parts such as the paws, nose, tail, and ears.
Warm blankets and bedding
It’s important to have a warm and comfortable sleeping environment for your pooch. A cozy blanket and bedding help maintain your dog’s temperature even when it’s cold outside. If your dog has a good quality, thick, double-layer fleece blanket, then he won’t need anything else.
Dogs with thick coats such as huskies can withstand extreme temperatures. However, fur does not fully protect various parts such as paws and ears.
Therefore, you will need clothes to maintain the dog’s temperature when it’s cold. During winters and colder months, you should invest in a dog sweater, coat, jackets, collars, leggings, and even boots if you live in an extreme weather area.
Elevate their bedding area off the floor
Elevating your dog’s bedding is an important way of minimizing any potential discomfort. When the bedding area touches the ground, a lot of heat escapes.
Trampoline-style beds are a good way of keeping the bed away from the cold floor. They can be an excellent choice for dogs suffering from arthritis and small-sized dogs.
Do dogs need blankets to sleep?
Although they have a layer of fur protecting them, you will need blankets to keep your dog warm – especially in cold months. Pet owners of dogs with thick coats are also advised to provide them for extra warmth when it’s cold.
Should I cover my dog crate with a blanket at night?
We would highly recommend covering your dogs crate with a blanket at night. Some crates come covered with a soft fabric and do not require any additional insulation. However, if it is not insulated, you should consider adding a blanket on top to keep your pooch warm at night.
We always place a breathable throw over Rosie’s crate as it not only keeps her cozy all year round but blocks out the early light that often wakes her in summer.
Do dogs get cold at night in crate?
Dogs can also get cold in a crate, especially in chilly seasons, unless it’s well insulated and covered with a soft fabric. Your pet’s fur protects them, but only to a certain extent. To keep your dog warm at all times, you should ensure that the crate is well insulated and covered with a blanket.
Your dog needs a warm place to lie at night and be able to regulate its temperature without expending energy. During winter, you need to devise ways in which you can keep your pooch warm, both indoors and outdoors.
Dogs such as a Welsh Terrier prefer to sleep outside. To keep such breeds warm, you should ensure that the dog house is off the ground and well insulated.
For dogs that sleep inside the house, such as Cavapoos, you want to make sure that they snooze in a comfortable, cozy bed. You should keep an eye on your pet when the temperature drops to ensure there are no potential signs that they are cold and you should consult a vet if you identify any signs of frostbite or hypothermia.
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