6 Signs Your Dog Is Too Cold Outside, Because It Can Happen To Fido, Too

Ad failed to load

The better part of the country is experiencing record-breaking low temperatures this season, which for most of us has meant hunkering down inside and praying to anyone that'll listen that we don't have to step foot outside. But for dog owners, the cold weather holds a whole other set of concerns because your trusty pals probably have to venture outdoors to do their business (which means you might, too), and they can't communicate when their paws are frozen. That's why you need to keep an eye out for these signs your dog is too cold outside, because the polar vortex is no joke.

There are a lot of signs to look out for when watching your dog for signs that they're too cold outside, which are all made complicated by the fact that not all dogs are build the same way. Coat-type, size, and weight are all variables that vary drastically by breed and make a huge difference on what each dog is able to withstand. But even the fluffiest, largest dog can get chilly in the frigid cold, no matter how much they might appear to be built for the snow. It is really important to protect our four-legged friends when it starts to get dangerously cold outside.

When the temperatures hit below freezing, you need to start keeping an extra close eye on your dog. PetMd advises dog owners to watch out for temperatures that dip below 20: "Once temperatures drop under 20°F, all owners need to be aware that their dogs could potentially develop cold-associated health problems like hypothermia and frostbite." On top of that, wind chill can also affect the feeling of the air, making it feel degrees colder that it actually is.

Ad failed to load

And as with humans, frostbite is very dangerous for dogs (it involves discolored skin on their paws, swelling, and blisters), and as a dog owner, you of course want to avoid this at all costs. So it's best to catch signs that your dog is too cold outside early on. Here's what to look out for when you're walking your dog in the tundra.

Ad failed to load



It takes most dogs, especially large ones, a real dip in temperatures in order to start shivering. If you spot your pup shivering, it's time to get inside. Smaller dogs or those with lighter fur are much more sensitive to colder temperatures, and those are the furry friends who can benefit from those stylish doggy sweaters or even booties to ensure they are staying as warm as possible when they have to venture outside to do their business in the cold.

2Acting Anxious

While your dog might not be able to speak, they can definitely let you know when something is wrong and that they're feeling too chilly. If your dog starts acting anxious or wanting to be held when they otherwise wouldn't while outside, that can be a sign that they're too cold, according to Embrace.

3Looking For Warm Places


As we seek the shade and cooler temperatures when it's hot, your dog might express the same reaction that we would in polar temperatures: seek out warmth! In the case of your pup though, this could look like they're seeking shelter under a bush or table outdoors. They're simply trying to tell you that they're trying to escape the cold.

Ad failed to load


Whining or barking is one of the clearest ways your dog is trying to communicate with you that they're too cold. Now, if your dog never stops barking in general at anything and everything when they're outside, that's probably just their personality, but look for insistent barking with eye contact when the temperature is below freezing, advises the Charleston Animal Society.

5Slowing Down


If your otherwise energetic dog is starting to slow down, walking when they would normally be running or not pulling on the leash as they typically would, take that as a sign that the cold is getting to them. Just like we begin to slow down when it's dangerously cold, so does your dog. Take note and get your dog dried off and warmed up slowly with warm blankets indoors.

6Holding Up Their Paws

The Ann Arbor Animal Hospital, no stranger to the cold temperatures in Michigan winters, explains, "Most dogs outside with you will show by shivering or holding up a leg that they would rather be somewhere else when they are too cold." Fair enough, furry friend!

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

13 Unique (& Totally Not Mainstream) Mother's Day Gifts For The Hipster Mom

Hipsters thrive on being outside the norm and not really digging anything considered "mainstream." Whether it's in their fashion, what music they listen to, the books they read, or how they enjoy beverages, there's just something that makes them dist…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills