Do Dogs Feel Cold at Night?

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

As a dog parent, questions such as if dogs experience nighttime cold as people do might come into your mind.

Many of us might begin pulling out our winter clothes when the temperature drops. However, there is one question that we do have in mind: Do dogs feel cold at night?

Dogs can experience nighttime cold, specifically if they are left outside while the weather becomes more cold and chilly. However, even indoor-only dogs might experience the effects of the chill, for instance, when they have shorter hair or seem underweight, as well as suffer from medical conditions.

In this post, you will learn more about how the cold might affect your dog, what to look out for, and what you could do to prevent it. 

Medical Questions? Talk to a Veterinarian 24/7.
Connect one-on-one with a licensed vet who will answer your questions in minutes.

Ask a Vet Now or Schedule a home visit

*Article may contain affiliate links to retailers like Amazon and Chewy. Learn more on our disclosure page.

Dogs and Their Coats

Longer hairs provide insulation in cold-weather species such as the Siberian husky, retaining warm hair between the thick skin layers.

Short-haired breeds like the Chihuahua, Dachshund, Pitbulls and hairless breeds like the Mexican Hairless don’t have this benefit against the chill and may require a blanket or a jacket to keep the canines cozy at night.

And to help you out with what your dog may need to prevent itself from suffering from extreme cold, read on to find out more.

How to Understand If Your Pet Dog Is Feeling Cold

Your dog may display a few of the following signs if they are cold:

  • Shivering: When the body’s temperature drops, the shivering reflex kicks in to help the body warm up. Short-haired breeds of dogs are more prone to it. Cold dogs will go for warm areas to congregate, such as close to a fireplace or under a thick blanket. Your dog may even begin to cling to you frequently as a means of warming.
  • Weakness: Dogs feeling cold often can be very sluggish and exhausted, or they can appear feeble and not want to socialize or play. Additionally, typical appetite loss and slower respiration are also seen.

The Correct Temperature For Dogs At Night

Your dog must be in the most comfortable environment with proper temperature and coziness to have a good sleep.

And most dogs will indeed be alright up to 45F before they start to feel chilly and seek out refuge or a warm location.

Large dogs, smaller dogs, and dogs suffering from health difficulties (regardless of breed) may be in danger of hypothermia whenever the temperature is at or below freezing and must be brought inside as soon as possible and will require proper care. 

Dogs with thick coats of fur can stay outside, but dogs with short hair and smaller sizes are likely not capable of doing the same, so extra attention must be given to them.

Just like us, dogs do want a warm environment at night.

We typically enjoy curling up in a blanket at night when it’s cold, and dogs also like that too. They won’t desire to be too hot because there is an ideal temperature for them too.

correct temperature for dogs at night

You would know when they want more of that, as they will try to accomplish this in the following ways, for example:

  • Snuggling in bed or the couch with you. About half of pet owners will do that during cold weather to share body heat and comfort!
  • Hiding under a warm blanket, especially if it carries your smell. You can shape the blankets into a donut to provide your dog with a cozy nest to sleep in.

The Animal Welfare Act states that kennel facilities’ ambient temperatures must not drop below 50°F for dogs unfamiliar with colder climates and must not rise above 85°F for more than 4 hours.

Thus, it would be wise to keep the temperature as suggested to prevent your dog from suffering.

Anywhere between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit would be comfortable for your pet dog throughout the winter.

On the flip side, anything below 20 degrees Fahrenheit will be a little too chilly, especially for the Mini Labradoodle, as they get very chilly at night with such a decline in temperature.

Try giving your dog an extra blanket if you have a pup, a short-haired dog, or an elderly dog to keep it warm and comfortable.

How to Keep Your Dog Warm at Night?

How to Keep Your Dog Warm at Night?

Now that we have explored how the correct temperature matters to your pet dog and how you can understand whether your dog is feeling cold at night, let’s look at how you can help your dog be in a warmer and cozy environment.

An Elevated Dog Bed

Firstly, an elevated dog bed!

Since hot air naturally rises, it stands to reason that giving your dog an elevated bed will keep them warm.

Not only that, you get to keep them off the floor, which in some cases can turn quite cold.

While you’re about it, consider getting one with strengthened sides, so your dog has something to lean on to keep warm.

You can also go for an electronically reinforced side that will help your dog be warm even further as it helps keep it warm while providing him with an additional means of retaining body heat. 

A Room Heater 

Room heaters usually function best in compact areas.

Of course, you’ll want to keep a careful eye on your dog to make sure they don’t approach too closely or unintentionally knock it over, but other than that, it is a great option.

Dog Pajamas

Dog pajamas and sweaters are other excellent options for keeping your dog warm at night.

We highly advise clothes with zippers so you may put them on and take them off quickly.

A Blanket Nest

Next up, a blanket nest!

Any dog can use this as long as he enjoys blankets.

Choose a different approach if you witness the dog carrying the blankets around the home though.

If you use blankets, wash them frequently to avoid dander buildup that can cause allergies.

Fleece dog blankets are available, and many owners believe they work well.

Warm Mats

You can try a heating mat underneath your dog’s bed.

Some mats may reach temperatures of up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius), which is more than sufficient to keep a dog warm at night.

Avoid Drafts

If exposed to drafts, dogs can quickly get a cold, and we often fail to notice drafts that aren’t at floor level.

Check for drafts when seated at your dog’s level; you might want to buy draft excluders.

Grass Patches

If your dog refuses to go outdoors to relieve himself in the winter, you can keep the dog warm by placing a tray below a section of indoor grass.

Create a cozy, insulated dog house by lifting it off the ground, and stuffing the area with hay and straw underneath to block off the cold.

After that, fill it with towels, blankets, or shavings of pine or cedar, so the dog has plenty of warmth and safety.

Bowl of Hot Water

Water that is too cold for your dog can make him sick.

Drinking water that is almost frozen might induce a severe drop in body temperature.

Hence, consider warming up your dog’s drinking water to give it the warmth it needs.

In Conclusion: Do Dogs Feel Cold at Night?

Dogs experience cold weather just like all of us do, although their fur insulates them considerably better.

The temperature at which a dog feels chilly will differ slightly depending on whether it is a teacup poodle or a hairy Akita.

A dog should generally not be exposed to temperatures below 32°F.

The cute thing is that when your pet dog is feeling too cold, it will try to let you know and may even get in your bed along with you to stay warm, particularly on a chilly winter night!

Continue checking out other dog care tips on our blog such as the following:

You’ve made it to the end, but I hope it’s not the end of our journey. We want to hear your voice! Share your thoughts, problems, suggestions, or anything related to your dog in the comments section. And don’t forget to join our newsletter today too.

Share this post!
Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Daily Dog Drama!

no more bad dog breaths banner