How to Tell If Your Dog is Cold?

For dogs, extremely cold weather can be dangerous, which is why you should be mindful when the temperature begins to drop. These adorable furballs depend on their owners to give them safety. Therefore, providing them warmth shouldn’t be too much to ask.

how to tell if your dog is cold
How to tell if your dog is cold?

As a dog owner, keep in mind that dogs get a lot colder than most people assume. You might not be able to tell when your dog is cold. If you are a little clueless, know that there are a few signs you can look out for on chilly days. 

There’s the misconception that a dog’s furry coat protects him from bitter weather. While it’s true that they might handle the chilly temperatures for a while, they will eventually feel cold. So to avoid complications, you should keep your eye out for the tell-tale signs that your puppy is cold. 

Before we dive into signs that indicate that your dog is cold, here are a few risks associated with frigid temperatures that your dog may face. 

Why You Should Keep Your Dog Away From Cold

Dogs are precious which means that you should put in maximum effort to give them excellent quality of life. Taking good care of your dog comes from being mindful of them at all times. It would also help if you knew the dos and don’ts of being a dog parent. 

For example, if the temperature is chilly outside, here are a few reasons why you should ensure that your dog is warm enough. 

yellow labrador retriever in snow
A Yellow Labrador Retriever exploring the winter in light snow.


Frostbite is one of the most significant risks linked to frigid weather for both man and animal. The condition happens when the skin is exposed to prolonged cold causing it to freeze along with other tissues. A dog’s legs, tail, ears, paws, and nose are at risk of frostbite. If you notice that those parts of your dog’s body are taking on a bright red shade, you should consider warming your dog up. 


If dogs get exposed to chilly temperatures for too long, they are more liable to get hypothermia. Hypothermia happens when your dog’s body temperature drops to about 95 to 99 degrees which is way below their average. 

This condition is deadly to dogs. You need to be vigilant on bitter days and watch out for symptoms of hyperthermia to keep your dog out of harm’s way. Symptoms that your dog might have caught hypothermia include weakness, lethargy, shallow breathing, muscle stiffness, loss of consciousness, lack of mental alertness, and dilated pupils. 


Too much cold leads to sickness in dogs. Mind you, the weather itself doesn’t make your dog sick, but rather it’s the environment it creates. In frosty weather, it’s easier for germs to attach to your dog causing canine influenza, dog flu, and other diseases. If your dog is cold and germs begin to attack onto your dog, the most common symptoms you’ll see are weakness, sneezing, and discharge from the nose or eyes. 

How to Tell If Your Dog is Cold

To tell if your dog is cold, here are a few things you should keep in mind:

a chihuahua plays in snow
A Chihuahua so passionate about soccer that it does not let winter get in the way!


The first tell-tale sign that your dog might be cold is the weather. It is the most essential thing any responsible dog parent should look out for. If it’s too chilly for you, even with your coat on, then the same applies to your dog. Even though dogs might have fur, it’s never really enough to protect them from the biting temperatures, especially those with thin coat layers. 


Another way to tell if your dog is cold is by paying attention to their movement. The most obvious thing you will note is how much disinterest they show regarding going outside.

The dog’s movement may be slower than usual, and they might hide under or behind objects to protect themselves and keep warm. If you observe that your dog is doing any of these things while outside or inside, then the best thing you can do is to get them bundled up. 


When dogs feel chilly, they have a visible reaction like humans. If you notice your dog trembling or shivering while you’re outdoors, they are most likely feeling too frozen to be outside. Extreme shivers are the first sign that your dog is having a hard time withstanding the temperature, so the most advisable thing to do is to bring them indoors. If your pup keeps shivering indoors, try to make them warmer or take your dog into a warmer room. 

You might also noticed chattering of the teeth, or trembling of the jaw.

Cold Ears

It’s usually hard to tell if dogs feel cold because their fur-covered bodies are warm to the touch. If you’re finding it challenging to detect if your dog is cold, then feel their ears. If their ears are cold to the touch around the edges, then it’s time to bring your dog inside. If their body feels cold, then you should get your dog inside immediately. You could also wrap it in a blanket for warmth. 

french bulldog in a football jersey
A passionate NFL fan! A French Bulldog in a football jersey in the snow.


You should know that dogs’ paws are susceptible to bitter temperatures, so you must always take extra care of them. In wintry temperatures, the ground is usually colder than the air, so if you leave your dog’s paw unprotected, it will undoubtedly get chiller faster. If your dog begins to limp during winter, it’s a sure sign that their paws are beginning to hurt due to the weather. The best move will be to bring them in and get them off their paws. Also, you can warm up its paws with dog booties. 


A sign on how to tell if your dog is cold is if it shows signs of sleepiness or lethargy. This could be a severe issue since lethargy is a symptom of hypothermia. As soon as you observe your dog’s sleepiness, you need to bring them into a warmer place.

In addition, take the dog to a vet if he barely moves, gets stiff, or finds it hard to breathe. Lethargy can be dangerous, so it’s better to take quick action so that you can save your pet’s life. 

[If your dog is famously energetic (like a Goldendoodle) then it should not be lethargic and slow]


If your dog begins to get uncomfortable in the wintry weather, they will try to give you hints about it. For example, your dog might start barking, whining, or even whimpering. If you notice that your puppy starts to act strange, it might be because they are feeling too cold. 

How To Keep Your Dog From Cold

Winter can be pretty hard for dogs, and your dog’s health might be in danger if you don’t give your dog the right amount of attention during this season. To prevent your dog from catching a cold, here are a few things you can do: 

a beagle in a kennel
A beagle in a dog kennel

Snug Housing

If your dog loves being outdoors, you can get them a warm and adequately insulated house. Ensure that their bedding is heated and comfortable. You can also elevate their bed off the ground so that it won’t get wet. You can add a blanket for more warmth and snugness. You can also set up a warm, nicely made bed for indoor canines or give them a corner of their own complete with blankets and heated beddings. 

Healthy Diet

Naturally, you should give your dog nutritious food, but it is even more essential when they are susceptible to catching a cold. Avoid giving them cool water during the winter. Warm freshwater is the best for good health and more comfort during this season. (Plenty of dog water dispensers have warmers or insulation)


Typically, the most common way to keep your dog from getting too cold is to get it all snuggled up in warm, cozy clothes. Pooch jackets are popular in the market, and you can get just the right size for your pooch. There are also lovely paw booties, beanies, and many more warm doggy clothes available. (There are even giant Christmas dog sweaters)

Machi Toy Poodle
Machi is a Toy Poodle who comfortably wears a jacket and socks especially on cold weathers.


The surest way to keep your dog from catching a cold or other cold-related illness is to take them to your family vet for a quick check-up. There could be some underlying diseases that need immediate treatment. 

puppy at the vet with owners one adult one child
A cute puppy enjoying a Vet visit

Final Thoughts 

Though it might seem fun, being a dog parent is not a walk in the park. You must pay them enough attention to keep them safe and happy.

During wintertime, the responsibility of keeping your beloved dog warm rests solely on your shoulders. The only hold-up you can face is trying to figure out how to tell if your dog is cold. However, you don’t have to worry as you only need to look out for the signs that give this information away.