Dog Feels Cold To Touch- Top Causes And Best Treatments

Hypothermia in dogs is a term that describes an unusual drop in body temperature, which is quite common in cold weather conditions or when a furry friend has serious health problems.

When the body temperature drops below the permissible level, the metabolism and physiological functions of the body decline can lead to many consequences for your dog.

So, what are the causes and symptoms of a dog feeling cold? And how to treat it if my dog feels cold to touch? Don’t let your dog suffer from the cold and discomfort anymore! 

This article will provide all the useful information regarding hypothermia in dogs and effective treatments.

Main Causes Of Dog Feels Cold To Touch

dog feels cold to touch

Dogs feel cold to touch mainly due to their ability to adapt and regulate their body temperature, not being able to keep up with the changes in the outside environment, leading to severe hypothermia.

Besides the dog’s poor health, it can also be due to the climate transformation happening so quickly and harshly that the furry friend cannot adapt quickly.

Here are some of the main reasons to blame for this problem:

  • Newborn puppies are not good at regulating their body temperature. They are easy to get cold even at normal temperatures.
  • The dog is too old.
  • Harsh environment: wet, cold, and windy
  • Serious injury or hypothalamic disease
  • Small dogs lead to poor resistance.
  • Dogs with hypothyroidism lead to low thyroid hormone production.

Common Symptoms Of My Dog Feels Cold To The Touch

Cases of hypothermia in dogs typically progress through three main stages: mild, moderate, and severe.

Take the dog’s temperature, and you’ll know what stage your four-legged friend is stuck in.

1st stage2nd stage3rd stage
Body temperature index90 – 99°F (32 – 35°C)82 – 90°F (28 – 32°C)under 82°F (28°C)

In the first stage, the dog has symptoms such as shivering, mental breakdown, hunched posture, and more anxiety.

It will seek out warmer places like a fireplace or curl up in a warm blanket.

As the hypothermia progresses, the dog begins to show signs of indifference to everything you say. Its movements slow down with shallow breathing, and low blood pressure.

At the most severe level, the dog is breathing heavily and is in danger of falling into a coma at any time. Its heart rate slows and faints, while its pupils dilate without flexibility.

What Are The Risks If My Dog Is Cold To The Touch And Lethargic? 

my dog feels cold to the touch

Just like humans, the dog feeling extreme cold to touch can have serious consequences for the health and life of your furry friend.

Explore the two most common risks (hypothermia and frostbite) and their specifics summarized below.


A dog’s internal body temperature usually fluctuates between 38.3 and 39.2 degrees Celsius, about one degree larger than the human body.

You must help keep the dog warm if the temperature is below this.

For example, dogs that are particularly sensitive to cold weather need jackets to exercise outdoors in the most comfortable way.


Frostbite is a term that refers to the restriction of blood flow in certain areas of the body due to cold conditions, resulting in damage to body tissues.

You can recognize this risk by the shaking, shivering, and unconsciousness of the dog’s paws, ears, and tail!

In addition, areas of their skin tend to be discolored (blue-gray, purple-black), red, swollen, or blistered from cold burns.

How To Treat When My Dog Is Cold To Touch?

You should take your dog to the vet immediately if your dog shows unusual behavior.

Your doctor will use a thermometer to take its temperature, check the heart rate, do blood tests, and analyze the urine before deciding the severity of hypothermia.

But if the dog shows only mild hypothermia symptoms, you can take care of it at home.

Here are three warming techniques for increasing your dog’s body temperature by 0.5-1.5 degrees Celsius per hour.

Passive External Rewarming

In mild hypothermia, the dog’s internal metabolism continues to produce heat. Use blankets for dogs and other insulation products to wrap around the puppy to prevent heat loss.

Don’t worry too much when the dog is constantly shivering because this is an instinct to warm up the furry friend’s body.

Active External Rewarming

This method requires direct heat sources to provide additional heat to the dog.

Some options include heating pads, hot water bottles (with cloth wrapped around them), and radiant heaters.

Active Internal Rewarming

You can use invasive methods of warming that are effective directly on the dog’s body, especially for severe cases of hypothermia.

Give oxygen to promote recovery, combine with warm intravenous fluids, and your dog’s body temperature will return to normal quickly.

Treatment Risks

Depending on the severity, the above warming therapies can bring your pet’s body temperature back to normal in as little as 2 to 10 hours.

You should continue monitoring the patient for at least 24 to 72 hours to ensure no complications.

Rapid rewarming has the potential to cause a sudden drop in blood sugar, leading to a warming shock in the dog.

Once combined with a low heart rate, it severely damages your four-legged friend’s circulatory system.


why is my dog cold to the touch

Why Does My Dog Feel Cold To The Touch?

Besides the extreme environmental conditions, the dog’s health is also a big cause of hypothermia.

Diseases to watch out for include heart failure, poisoning, diabetes, hypothyroidism, kidney disease, sepsis, and circulatory diseases.

Is It Bad If My Dog Feels Cold?

Sure! When the temperature is below normal, the dog’s metabolism slows down.

Once hypothermia develops to a certain degree of severity, it can cause a pet to have a weak heart rate, difficulty breathing, and unconsciousness.

How To Prevent My Dog from Being Cold This Winter?

Follow these four tips to keep your dog warm during these cold days:

  • Give your furry friend a warm and cozy place to sleep. Avoid leaving your dog’s bed in drafts, and consider purchasing an extra heating mat.
  • If you have small dog breeds (e.g., Greyhounds, Poodles, chihuahuas), dress your dog in a full sweater or coat before outdoor walks. In the case of dogs with good coats (such as Husky or Alaska), their ability to cope with the cold temperature is stronger.
  • Build a warm shelter so your dog can rest during his playtime outside. This shelter should be about 10 cm above the ground, with a sloping roof and a straw base for insulation.
  • After the dog returns from the outside, you should clean its paws. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you notice any suspicious wounds on your dog’s paw pads.

Final Verdict

Keeping your furry friend healthy in frigid temperatures is never easy, as it is always at risk of hypothermia.

In addition to providing a warm shelter and operating environment, you must be ready to care for your dog as soon as hypothermia occurs.

So, what should I do when my dog feels cold to touch?

We hope that our article has answered all your questions and provided you with more useful information related to this topic. Good luck!


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Hi I am Mitchell. Dog Growth is a blog about dog caring and training where I share my experiences to my community. Hope you enjoy it!

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