Bark n Wag 15 Minute Vet Talk

It is winter and you need to know the signs if your dog is cold with Dr. Laura Brown

Dec. 8, 2019

8 Clear Signs That Your Dog May Be Cold

Here are some of the things to look out for, how to tell if your dog is cold in those conditions and the best way to avoid letting your dog getting cold.

1. Weather.

The most important thing to look out for is how cold it is outside. If it is too cold for you to be outside, it is too cold for your dog to be outside. Yes, your dog has fur, but you more than likely have a coat on. If you feel cold even with a coat on, your dog feels cold even with their fur. Even with fur, some dogs will still feel extremely cold when outside in the cold. Regardless, your dog should not be left outside alone during cold weather.

2. Shivering.

Dogs show a visible reaction to the cold. If your dog is shivering or trembling, they are likely too cold to be outside. Excessive shaking is another way your dog shows signs that they may be too cold. Don't let your dog stay in the cold the minute you see him shivering and trembling; bring him into warmth.

3. Cold ears.

Even when dogs are cold, their body may feel warm to the touch due to fur. If you don't know how to tell if your dog is cold or are unsure if he is, feel their ears. If their ears feel cold, particularly around the edges, it is time to bring your dog inside. If their body feels cold to the touch, they are definitely cold and should be brought inside immediately. It would be ideal to offer your dog a blanket once they are inside.

4. Slow movements.

Another good tip on how to tell if your dog is cold is observe his movements. Your dog will look like they don’t want to be outside when they are feeling cold. You will see your pooch walking slowly. If you are outside with your dog and notice that they are attempting to hide behind or under different objects, they are likely attempting to shelter themselves from the cold. If you notice these signs with your dog, it is time to go inside.

5. Curling up.

When dogs are cold, they attempt to warm themselves up with their body heat. If you notice your dog curling up into a ball when outside, or is hunched over with their tail tucked in, they are very likely cold. When you notice this, it would be wise to take your dog indoors to warm up as soon as possible.

6. Limping. 

A dog’s paws are especially sensitive to cold weather and you must always take precautions to care for your dog's paws. If your dog's paws are unprotected, and the ground is colder than the air, your canine will get cold much quicker. When your dog starts to limp, they are trying to tell you that their paws are too cold and it is a sign that your dog is too cold. You can always get your dog booties to keep him warmer for longer.

7. Whining.

When dogs become uncomfortable due to the cold, they will attempt to let you know. They may do so with whining, whimpering, or barking. If your dog starts behaving adnormal without any clear reason, consider if they may be exposed to too much cold or wind chill. Cold dogs may look agitated or anxious. You should help your dog warm up if you notice these signs.

8. Extreme sleepiness/lethargy.

Finally, another clear sign on how to tell if your dog is cold is if your dog appears to be extremely sleepy or lethargic, and this could be very serious. This is most likely a sign of hypothermia, not just your dog being cold. Another sign of hypothermia is clumsiness.

When you notice this, you need to bring your dog inside immediately so he can warm up. Take your dog to the veterinarian or call a vet immediately if he is stiff, is having a hard time breathing, or is barely moving. Taking quick action can save your dog’s life.

Winter months can be hard on your dog, and things can become dangerous quickly if you aren’t paying attention. The steps mentioned above should help you know when your dog is too cold, and if you notice these signs, you should take steps to warm them up immediately. Being in the cold for too long can lead to frostbite or hypothermia, which can be fatal. During the winter, dogs should not be left alone outside, and if you do, make sure they have a shelter like a dog house with heater.

READ NEXT: Cold Weather Preparation for Dogs

     

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