Do Pitbulls Get Cold Easily? [Shivering or Just Excited]

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.

Imagine waking up on a frosty morning, pulling your comforter tight around your shivering body, and glancing over at your furry companion who is sprawled out on the floor.

The question pops into your mind, “Does my Pitbull feel the chill like I do?”

This thought might seem trivial at first, but understanding your Pitbull’s tolerance to cold is crucial for their health and comfort.

As the mercury dips, you might find yourself contemplating this question more often.

So, do Pitbulls get cold easily? Are they as tough against the cold as they seem? Or does their lack of a thick, fluffy coat make them susceptible to the chill?

Find out all that in this post.

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Do Pitbulls Feel Cold Easily?

Do Pitbulls Feel Cold Easily?

Well, the answer is not really that straightforward.

You see, despite their robust and hardy appearance, Pitbulls do indeed have a lower cold tolerance compared to many other breeds, due to their thin fur and lack of an insulating undercoat.

So yes, Pitbulls can indeed feel the cold more easily than some other breeds.

But just like us humans, individual tolerance can vary from dog to dog.

Why Do Pit Bulls Get Cold Easily?

Have you ever wondered why your Pit Bull shivers when it’s chilly outside?

Well, Pit Bulls are sensitive to the cold, but why is that? Here are the main reasons why your dog gets cold easily.

Short fur

Pit Bulls have a short coat, so they don’t have enough insulation to keep them warm.

Dogs with thicker double coats, like Huskies or Malamutes, are better equipped to handle cold temperatures because their fur is a natural insulator.

Low body fat

Secondly, Pit Bulls are muscular dogs, often with low body fat percentages.

Body fat acts as an insulator, helping to keep an animal warm by trapping heat.

Without a significant layer of body fat, Pit Bulls can lose body heat more quickly.

Low Tolerance

Some breeds are genetically adapted to withstand colder climates, but Pit Bulls are not one of them.

They were not bred for extreme weather conditions and, as a result, they have a lower general tolerance to cold temperatures.

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Factors That Determine How Much Pit Bulls Can Tolerate Cold Temperatures

Have you ever thought about how Pit Bulls deal with colder weather? 

Well, it’s not only just about their fur coat! Some interesting factors come into play.

Here’s why:

Breed

Let’s talk about breed. 

Pit Bulls have short, single-layer coats that offer little insulation against the cold.

It means they’re not as well-equipped to handle the cold as Saint Bernards or German Shepherds.

Size

Size is another factor.

Larger dogs have an easier time staying warm in cold weather because they have more body mass to help insulate them. 

However, even large pit bulls may struggle in freezing temperatures due to their thin coat and low body fat percentage.

Coat

The color of their coat can also make a difference! 

Darker-colored skins can absorb more heat and keep them warmer than lighter-colored coats.

But the thickness and quality of the coat are also essential factors to consider. 

Some Pit Bulls may have slightly longer or thicker coats that provide more insulation than others.

Body fat

The more body fat they have, the better they can cope with chilly temperatures.

Body fat can help regulate heat and cold.

It serves as insulation to keep your Pit Bull warm in colder weather.

If they are thin, they may have trouble keeping their body temperatures regulated.

Age

Lastly, consider your Pit Bull’s age.

Like people, senior dogs may have a more challenging time tolerating the cold due to changes in their metabolism and circulation.

Can Pit Bulls Get Cold at Night?

The answer is yes. 

Pit Bulls are famous for their strength and tenacity, and are also known for being loyal, which makes them great family pets. 

However, one thing that may be an issue for Pit Bulls is that they tend to get cold quickly at night. They have short coats and don’t do well in cold weather. 

So, if you have a Pit Bull, always find ways to keep them warm at night, including keeping a heat lamp in their dog house, or providing it with lots of warm blankets.

How Cold is Too Cold for Pit Bulls?

It really depends.

One critical factor is your Pit Bull’s age. Senior Pit Bulls are more challenged to regulate their body temperature.

Another factor to consider is your Pit Bull’s health. If your Pit Bull has health issues, they may be more susceptible to the cold. For example, dogs with arthritis may experience more pain in cold weather.

Also, smaller Pit Bulls may get colder quicker than larger ones, as they have less body mass to keep them warm.

So, what temperature range should you aim for to keep your Pit Bull comfortable? 

Generally, Pit Bulls can handle temperatures between 40 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Lower than 40 degrees is too cold for them.

Shivering, whining or barking, seeking warm spots, and being sleepy are all signs that your dog may be too cold.

Can Pit Bulls Play in the Snow?

Your Pit Bull can play in the snow, but you need to ensure they’ve dressed appropriately, limit their playtime, and watch for signs of discomfort.

Just like how humans need to bundle up with a heavy coat, gloves, hat, and scarf to go outside in the cold, your Pit Bull might also need an extra layer.

If your Pit Bull has little body fat, it might get cold quickly.

While your Pit Bull is moving around and playing in the snow, their body heat will help keep them warm. 

You should limit their playtime to less than 30 minutes.

Watch for signs of discomfort, like shivering or your Pit Bull wanting to go home and take breaks to warm up inside.

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How to Tell if Your Pit Bull is Getting Cold?

Winter is coming. It’s time for your furry friend to stay warm and cozy.

Unfortunately, they can’t tell you when they’re chilly.

We’re here to help you out.

Below are some signs that your Pit Bull might be getting cold, so you can ensure they stay snug and comfortable all winter.

  • Shivering: Just like us, dogs shiver when they’re cold. Seeing your furry friend shaking or trembling shows they need to warm up!
  • Whining or barking: Dogs can’t talk like we do, but they can still make noise to communicate with us! If your Pit Bull is making an unusual noise, it could be a sign that they’re too cold.
  • Seeking warm spots: Have you ever noticed your dog curling up on a warm blanket or snuggling close to a heater? That’s because they’re trying to warm up!
  • Lethargy: If you notice your Pit Bull being unusually lazy or unwilling to move, it could be a sign that they’re too cold.
  • Decreased appetite: If your Pit Bull doesn’t seem to be eating as usual, they may be uncomfortable.

How to Keep Your Pit Bull Warm? Both Indoors and Outside

Keeping your Pit Bull warm indoors and out is an important responsibility to you as the owner.

Here are some suggestions for you:

Indoors

  • Provide a warm sleeping area for your pit bull with a soft blanket or a heated dog bed.
  • Keep your home comfortable, ideally between 68-72°F, to prevent your pit bull from getting too cold.
  • If your pit bull gets chilly quickly, you can dress them up in a sweater or a jacket designed for dogs.

Outdoors

  • If you live in a cold climate, limit your pit bull’s time outside during winter. Try to keep their outdoor time to a maximum of 30 minutes to prevent them from getting too cold.
  • Ensure your pit bull has access to a warm and dry shelter, like a doghouse or a covered porch, to retreat to if they get too cold.
  • Invest in a good-quality dog coat or jacket to protect your Pit Bull from the cold and wind.
  • Protect your Pit Bull’s paws from the cold and ice by putting on booties or paw balm (highly recommend using Musher’s).

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Other Safety Tips to Protect Your Pit Bull During Winter

We’ve discussed how to keep your Pit Bull warm during winter.

The following are some other safety tips to remember too:

  • Watch out for antifreeze: It’s super dangerous for your Pit Bull if they ingest it. So, clean up any spills and keep antifreeze out of reach of your pit bull.
  • Be mindful of icy surfaces: Your dog can slip and fall, just like you can, so keep an eye on your pup when walking on slippery surfaces. Consider using booties or paw wax to help prevent slips.
  • Keep your Pit Bull away from frozen bodies of water: Frozen ponds or lakes might look like a fun place to play, but they can be super dangerous. If your Pit Bull falls through the ice, it can be tough to rescue them.
  • Keep your Pit Bull on a leash: Snow and ice can make it hard for your dog to find their way home because they can obscure scents and sounds. So, a leash can prevent them from getting lost.
  • Be ready for power blackouts: Winter storms can harm your pet. Have enough supplies, like food, water, and blankets, to keep your Pit Bull comfortable in case of a power outage.
  • Provide plenty of water: Although it’s cold season, provide fresh water for your pet. Dehydration can be a problem during winter months.

Potential Health Risks of Cold Temperatures for Pit Bulls

Are you curious why some dogs handle cold weather better than others? Some dog breeds, like Pit Bulls, are more susceptible to certain health risks when the temperature drops.  

Below, we’ll explore some potential health risks that Pit Bulls may face during the cold winter. 

  • Hypothermia: Your pet feels weak and tired when their body temperature drops to critical levels. Pit bulls have short hair and little body fat; as a result, they are more susceptible than other dogs.
  • Slower healing time: Cold weather can slow the healing process of injuries or wounds, so keeping your Pit Bull warm and dry is essential.
  • Dehydration: It’s vital to ensure your Pit Bull drinks enough water during the winter months, even if they seem less thirsty. 
  • Paw injuries: Ice, snow, and salt on sidewalks and roads can be tough on a Pit Bull’s paws. To protect their paws, consider using paw wax or booties when walking.
  • Joint Pain: If your Pit Bull has arthritis or another joint-related issue, the cold temperatures can worsen their pain.
  • Frostbite: Frostbite happens when certain body parts, like ears, tails, and paws, freeze and damage the tissue. If you notice discoloration or swelling in these areas (as well as any shivering), bring your dog inside immediately and warm them up.
  • Dry skin: A cold, dry climate can cause your Pit Bull’s skin to become itchy and flaky.
  • Respiratory issues: Cold air can trigger respiratory problems in Pit Bulls, especially if they have asthma or other breathing issues.
  • Decreased immune system function: During cold weather, Pit Bulls’ immune systems are weak and susceptible to infections and illness.

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Dog suddenly lethargic and flinching

Can Pit Bulls Sleep in the Cold?

Can Pit Bulls Sleep in the Cold?

Yes, with some precautions. Your dog can handle low temperatures with a warm, dry place and many cozy blankets to snuggle up in.

But keep an eye on them! 

If your dog is shivering or acting lethargic, bring them inside. 

How well your fur baby can handle the cold depends on their coat thickness, body type, and the climate in which they live. It’s always best to consult a vet for your dog’s sleeping arrangement outside in the cold.

Most importantly, provide a warm, dry place to sleep and plenty of blankets, and monitor them for signs of discomfort or illness. 

Your Pit Bull can easily handle the cold weather with the proper care!

What to Do if Your Dog Gets Hypothermia?

Do you think your Pit Bull might have hypothermia? That’s when their body temperature drops too low.

It can make them feel weak and tired.

But don’t panic! 

Here’s what you should do:

  • Move them somewhere warm: First, move your dog somewhere warm. It could be inside your house, in a car with the heat turned on, or anywhere warm.
  • Warm them up: Wrap them in blankets, towels, or anything else that can help hold in their body heat. You can also use a heating pad, hot water bottle, or warm water bottle to apply heat to their belly and paws.
  • Check their temperature: While warming them up, check their body temperature using a rectal thermometer. If it’s below 100 degrees Fahrenheit, keep warming them up until it returns to normal.
  • Get guidance from your vet: Even if your dog starts feeling better, it’s better to call your vet for advice.

Should My Pit Bull Wear Clothes During Winter?

It depends on your dog’s individual needs. 

Some pitties are fine without clothes, while others may enjoy wearing a warm sweater or jacket to keep them comfy outside. 

Here are winter clothes that can keep your Pit Bull warm during the cold season:

  • Fleece sweater: a fleece sweater is a cozy choice for your pup. It’s super soft and keeps them warm with its excellent insulation.
  • Hoodie: It’s stylish and can cover your pup’s ears and keep them nice and toasty during cold weather.
  • Puffer jacket: It is a good choice if it gets chilly outside. It’s warm to your Pit Bull and provides extra insulation.
  • Dog coat: A dog coat is another great option for keeping your pup warm when it’s cold outside. It’s designed with a waterproof outer layer and a soft inner lining to keep your Pit Bull comfortable.
  • Parka: For those pups who love playing in the snow, a parka is a longer jacket that can give them extra warmth and protection from the cold.
  • Snowsuit: A snowsuit is a way to go regarding full-body coverage. It keeps your Pit Bull warm and dry, even in the coldest weather.
  • Scarf: To keep your pup’s neck warm, a simple scarf can do the trick. It can also look super stylish on winter walks!
  • Ear warmer: If your Pit Bull has short ears, they may get cold quickly. An ear warmer can help keep them warm and protect against frostbite.
  • Booties: booties can protect your pup’s paws from cold and icy surfaces. They can also help prevent injuries from salt or other deicing chemicals.
  • Thermal leggings: Thermal leggings can also give extra insulation to your dog’s legs, especially helpful for those with short hair or who get cold easily.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can a Pit Bull freeze in 30-degree weather?

Yes, a pit bull can be at risk of freezing in 30-degree weather. But they can possibly suffer from hypothermia and frostbite.

Are Pit Bulls ok in 40-degree weather?

Pit bulls can be comfortable in 40-degree weather. They become very uncomfortable in temperatures that drop below 32 Fahrenheit.

What temperature is good for dogs to sleep in?

Dogs can sleep comfortably in temperatures between 60-72 degrees Fahrenheit.

How cold is too cold for walking dogs?

As a general guide, when it’s 20°F (-7°C) or colder, all dogs risk getting hypothermia and frostbite. When it’s 32°F (0°C) or more out, leaving small, thin-coated, young, old, or sick dogs outside for too long is not a good idea.

Do dogs need blankets?

Some dogs enjoy having blankets to snuggle with, especially in colder temperatures. But not all dogs like blankets, and some prefer without them.

How long can a dog survive in the cold?

Medium-sized dogs (25 to 50 pounds) can handle being outside for 30 minutes. Smaller dogs (15 to 25 pounds), and even smaller ones, might not be able to tolerate any exposure at all—especially if they are particularly sensitive or young.

In Conclusion: Do Pitbulls Get Cold Easily?

Now you know, while your Pitbull may seem tough, their physical attributes make them more susceptible to cold.

So, let’s ensure these muscular, loving companions are warm and comfortable, no matter the weather.

Remember, a cozy Pitbull is a happy Pitbull!

Check out these other dog care tips too:

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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!

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