How to Tell if Your Dog is Cold

the trendy whippet. is your dog cold. does my dog need a coat. your questions answered

Dogs can feel the cold too. 

The great British weather is always changing. One minute it's sunny and warm, the next it’s raining and miserable. About the only thing that remains certain is the fact that the weather is constantly changing.

During colder spells we should be asking ourselves ‘is my dog feeling the cold too?’. Although your dog can’t tell you how he’s feeling, there are several signs to look out for. Just because he has a furry coat doesn’t mean he’s completely protected from colder temperatures. Your dog is probably fine handling mild cold for short periods of time but can become increasingly cold over extended periods. 

8 Signs that your dog is feeling cold

Some signs can be more obvious than others and equally some signs are more serious. It’s the subtle telltale behavioural changes that are the first things to watch out for.

1. Weather

This is the easiest question to ask yourself. Is it cold enough outside that I need to put my coat on? If you own a breed that is smaller, holds less body fat, has thin fur or is indeed just an older dog with a weaker immune system then this question is an important consideration. Get into the habit of reaching for the coat at the same time as you do your dog's lead and soon he will be excited to put it on. All we say to our older whippet is “Joey where's your coat?!” and he becomes just as excited as when we say the ‘W’ word. 

Over time you will instinctively understand when your dog needs to wear his outdoor coat to protect him from the cold.

2. Shivering

This is quite an obvious sign to look out for but also bear in mind that your dog may be shivering for other reasons .Pets may shiver or shake because of —pain, fear, anxiety, nerves, as well as simply being too cold. 

3. Cold Ears

Perhaps the most easy to check. If you suspect your dog is cold - for example they are shivering - feeling the dog’s ears is a good indicator for you. If your dog is chilly his ears will feel cold to the touch, particularly around the edges. 

4. Slow Movements

Walking slowly outside is another indication that your dog may be cold. Apparent signs to look for would be him trying to position himself behind or under different objects eg. trying to shelter himself from the cold. 

5. Curling Up / Searching out Warm Spots

When your dog is cold he may have a tendency to curl up to preserve body heat. They often will look for a nice warm spot to do this. A few favourite spots include: in front of the fire, by a radiator or a particular favourite of our dog Joey’s…. Under the quilt. 

6. Limping

If the ground is particularly cold your dog may lift his paw up. Your pet has sensitive paws and this is a sign that it is uncomfortable to put his paws on the cold surface. If the ground is much colder than the air your dog will get cold much quicker. 

7. Whining

Your dog may be tempted to try and let you know he is feeling cold. He may do this by whimpering, whining or even barking. This would be a good time to check the other signs like checking the temperature of your dogs ears as explained above. You should help your dog to warm up if the signs show he is cold.

8. Extreme Lethargy/Sleepiness

Perhaps the most serious sign of all. This is usually the result of prolonged exposure to the cold. If your dog appears to be extremely sleepy or lethargic this could be very serious and you should seek the assistance of a veterinarian as soon as possible. Another sign of hypothermia is clumsiness. Taking quick action can save your dogs life at this point. 

How cold for a Dog Jacket?

There is no ‘set temperature’ that will answer this question. You simply need to develop an understanding of your dogs needs. These may change over time as your pet ages and his immune system becomes weaker. Cold can also adversely affect dogs that have arthritis and keeping them warm can help with the symptoms. Sometimes to keep your dog cosy and happy on a rainy day when it isn’t that cold it could be advisable to use a rain mac type dog coat, one that is waterproof but not necessarily lined with a warm fleece fabric. Here at this is why we manufacture several of our coats with a thin ‘mesh’ lining. Coats made in this way are designed for use on such days. Getting wet can speed up the time it takes for your dog to get cold quicker. 

Other considerations when purchasing a dog coat and which dog coat to choose.

There are other reasons why your dog might feel more comfortable in a dog coat too.. Looking around you can find dog clothes that suit a combination of multiple conditions. For example our Reflective Hi Visibility dog coats are not only water resistant, windproof and fleece lined but they also make your dog more visible at night, especially to passing traffic. 

If your dog sleeps in a place where indoor temperatures are susceptible to drop then perhaps consider a coat/jacket that is suitable for indoor use that is not necessarily waterproof but which is comfortable to wear around the house and even to sleep in. These include kennel coats, sweaters and doggy pyjamas for example. 


Although there is no set temperature, as such, where you can say ‘above this my dog is fine’ and ‘below this my dog gets cold’, there are signs to look out for which have been outlined above. Sometimes simply turning the central heating up a notch or two inside the home is a perfect solution and at other times an indoor jacket or sweater could help. Outside the only practical solution is to choose something suitable for your pet to wear. Do you need a waterproof dog coat, perhaps one that has a fleece lining or maybe is simply windproof? Getting yourself a good all-round dog jacket is a good solution. You don’t necessarily need a full doggy wardrobe for your pet but this is also an option for that super pampered pooch. 


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