Are you one of those people who think that the furry coat of dogs keeps them warm and cosy all the time? Well, unfortunately, you are wrong! Then do dogs feel cold at night? The answer is yes! Although every dog has a protective layer of coat all around its body, still it can feel cold at night. Mostly, dogs feel cold when they sleep outside, especially in winters. But that doesn’t mean they are warm inside. Indoor dogs can also feel cold sometimes hence, their proper care is important as well.
At what temperature do dogs feel cold at night?
Usually, a dog does not feel cold around a temperature of 45 degrees Fahrenheit hence, there will be no need to provide extra warmth. But as the temperature falls from 45 degrees Fahrenheit, you should keep a check on your dog either it is feeling cold or not. Generally, the dog starts feeling cold when the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, but that is not the same in every case. Some can feel cold at higher temperatures as well. However, when the temperature falls to 20 degrees or low, do not think before providing a warm atmosphere to your dog, even if it is a dog that can withstand the coldest environment.
How much cold does a dog feel?
Many factors determine either the dog feels cold or not. But one of the most important factors among these is the density of the coat. As we know, a dog can have 3 different coats, undercoat, guard hair, and whiskers. The basic function of an undercoat is to protect the dog from cold, whereas guard hairs also take part in it along with injury protection. Now, the dog having double-coat are less likely to feel coat as compared to those having a single. Similarly, the ones with short hair are prone to get cold.
Dogs with Thick Fur:
Dogs having thick and dense fur are made to enjoy winters and can withstand cold weather. Hence, there are fewer chances that these dogs feel cold at night; either you make them sleep inside or outside. The most common examples of these dogs are Newfoundland, Tibetan Mastiff, Saint Bernard, Chow Chow, Alaskan malamute, Siberian husky, Tibetan terrier, and Akita.
Dogs with Shorthair:
Now, even if your dog has dense fur, there can be chances that it can feel cold at night. Well, if the dog is short-haired, or small in size, then it will surely need something to overcome cold at night. Some common examples of such dogs are; Weimaraner, Great Dane, Yorkshire terrier, Rat terrier, Whippet, Miniature pinscher, Greyhound, and Chihuahua.
What factors can make the dog feel cold at night?
We have already discussed that the fur and coat of the dog plays an important role in determining that either the dog feels cold at night or not. But there are several other factors as well. These factors include age, weight, size, and health condition. Let us discuss these factors briefly.
How the age of the dog is related to a cold?
The puppies or newly adult dogs have a strong immune system also, they can regulate their body temperature effectively. Therefore, these dogs are strong and can combat cold temperatures at night. Whereas old dogs with a weaker immune system can catch a cold rapidly hence, proper care is required by these dogs.
Do colours affect the intensity of cold?
Dogs come in multiple coat colours however, these variable colours may affect that how cold the dog feels. Well, on a clear day, the dogs having coat colour of black, brown, liver, red, or any other dark shade, absorb quite an amount of heat hence, they feel warm all day long and less cold compared to other dogs. On the other hand, those with a light shade coat colour including white, cream, yellow, etc. are more likely to feel cold at night.
How dog’s cold is related to weight?
As we know, the prime function of body fat is that it provides insulation to the body. The more is the weight of the body, the more is the fat. The fat acts as an insulating layer and prevents the dog from getting cold. Whereas, dogs with lower body weight has less amount of fat. Hence, they are more likely to get cold at night.
Does the level of cold vary with the size of the dog?
The small dog breeds have a larger surface area to volume ratio. This means that the dog has more skin as compared to the internal body hence, more heat is released from the body. Therefore, small dogs will feel colder at night as compared to large dogs, no matter they sleep outside or inside the house.
How the dog’s health condition is related to the cold?
If the dog is in a good health condition that means its immune system is not being compromised. Hence, it can withstand even the cold temperature at night, but to a certain level. Whereas, if your dog is suffering from any health disorder, that means its immune system is already weak and hence, it can catch a cold rapidly.
How to tell if the dog is too cold?
Some dogs live outside and still have the ability to withstand the cold temperatures. Whereas, some dogs when even taken for a little walk, start shivering from cold. Hence, we cannot tell generally that either a dog feels cold or not at night as it varies from one dog to another. So, it is important to look for some specific signs and symptoms which show that the dog is feeling cold. Just like humans, the behaviour of dog including physical and situational signs can detect if the dog is feeling cold or not. Let us have a look at these signs.
How is the temperature outside?
Although the dog’s internal body temperature is higher than ours, it does not mean that dogs do not feel cold. If you are feeling cold outside even after wearing a coat, jacket, or gloves, then it means that the dog is feeling cold as well. In such a climate, try to keep your dog as warm as you can, and avoid taking it outside without any purpose.
Trembling or shivering:
When the dog feels cold, some of its reactions are similar to human beings. As human beings shiver when they feel cold, so do the dogs. If your dog is feeling cold, then its body will give a reaction to keep the body warm. That reaction is trembling or shivering. Also, when the dog keeps its tail near to the body, it is another sign showing that the dog is feeling cold.
Cold body parts:
A quick way to tell either the dog is feeling cold or not is to check its body parts, especially the edges. If the dog’s ears or even the entire body feels cold as compared to the normal temperature, that means the dog is feeling cold. Run your fingers deep in the coat and it will help you to detect the temperature of the dog’s body.
If a dog is feeling cold, it will curl up while sleeping. Sometimes, the dog curls up even if it is not cold, but in that case, it ends up in a relaxed position. If a dog is curling up due to cold, it will hide its face and, the nose will be near to the tail.
Keeping paws up:
If the dog is feeling cold, it will more likely avoid putting its entire weight on the ground. You will observe that the dog is limping along the ground, or is walking gingerly. Also, it will try to lift the paws alternatively to avoid touching the cold ground.
Slow body movements:
If your dog is feeling uncomfortable outside and wants to go back home, then most likely it is feeling cold. Also, if you have taken your dog for a walk, and it is walking slowly, then it is also a sign that the climate is quite cold for the dog.
Whimpering or whining:
Barking, whining, or whimpering are the ways by which the dogs express their discomfort. If the dog is anxious and shows irregular behaviour, look out for any opened door or window that is bothering it. Whereas, if the dog is outside then whimpering is a sign of a cold.
Lethargy and restlessness:
A dog feeling cold will have tired and weak muscles as compared to a normal dog hence, its body slows down. Stiff, lethargic, and clumsy behaviour shows that the dog is feeling cold. Also, unlike the dogs which resist motion, some dogs become restless by walking here and there to get their body warm.
The dog will more likely start to sleep more than its usual routine as it is a symptom of hypothermia. This can be hazardous hence, try to get the dog warm as soon as possible.
Hiding at some warm place:
If your dog is outside the house, and it is changing places to find somewhere warmer, then it is feeling cold for sure. Also, if it is inside the house, unusual behaviour liking sitting near the radiator indicates that the dog is feeling cold.
What are the risks of the dog’s cold?
You must be wondering why it is important to know that either the dog gets cold or not. Well, if a dog gets cold, it is more likely to get multiple health disorders that can be fatal as well. Some of these health risks are as follows:
When a dog feels cold, there are chances it can suffer from influenza as a result of which, pneumonia is caused. Dehydration, high fever, weight loss, cough, lethargy, decreased exercise tolerance, and difficulty in breathing are some of the major symptoms of pneumonia.
A condition in which the blood vessels of the dog start to get narrow and constrict also, they come closer to the skin leads to frostbite. When the temperature of the environment falls, and the dog starts feeling cold, it is at the risk of getting frostbite. The most prominent signs of frostbite are a pain to touch, skin ulcers, ice formation on the skin, and discolouration of the skin.
If a dog is feeling cold at night for a very long time, then it can get hypothermia. Hypothermia is a condition, in which the dog’s body temperature falls below normal. The normal temperature of the dog’s body is 101-102.5 degrees Fahrenheit however, when it gets below 99 degrees Fahrenheit, then this situation is dangerous. Hypothermia not only affects the heart rate but also can cause various issues in the nervous system.
How to keep your dog warm when it gets cold?
Now, after knowing that dogs do get cold, and that can be risky for their health, you must be wondering that how to keep them warm. Well, some key methods can help the dog combat the cold atmosphere.
To prevent your dog from feeling cold, you should get a dog coat that not only comfortably fits in its body but also is snug. The dog coat should be at hand so that, whenever there is a need to keep the dog warm, one could cover it with the coat. Besides, it should be water-proof so that, the dog can comfortably go on a walk.
Either your dog is living inside the house, or outside in a kennel, you should keep the environment quite warm. Make sure that its bed is slightly above the floor, and if possible arrange heaters. Also, cover them with a blanket while they are sleeping. Another idea to keep them warm is to wrap a hot water bottle in a towel, and place it near the dog.
Massage increases the blood circulation of the dog as a result of which, the temperature of its body rises. Hence, whenever the dog feels cold, give it a little massage and it will feel better in a very short time.
Keep it dry:
If somehow your dog gets wet, make sure that you are drying it immediately because any delay can cause various diseases. If it is wearing a coat, then remove it quickly, whereas if the skin is wet, use a towel to get it dry.
Maintain healthy body weight of the dog as healthy dogs feel less cold than weak dogs. Make sure you are providing the dog hygienic food in an adequate amount. Also, make a balance between physical activity and diet. In winters, the dogs are less active physically so, do not stuff food inside them because that can make the dogs overweight.
Well, if your dog is living outside the house, then it must have a dog house. If the dog house is too small, then the dog will feel uncomfortable whereas, if it is too large, it will stay ventilated and the dog will feel cold. Make sure the dog house is of the ideal size, that promises warmth and comfort to the dog.
In summary, the answer to the question that, do dogs feel cold at night is yes. Dogs do feel cold, but more importantly, they can get sick if proper care is not given. Hence, make sure that if your dog is feeling a slight cold, make it stay in a warm environment, even if it has a cold-resistant coat.