Do Pets Get Cold?


Exploring How And Why Our Pets Respond To Different Temperatures 

Our pets are a lot like us in many ways. They need food, water, air, and shelter to survive just like people. However, our pets also have various needs regarding their environment such as weather and temperature. It highly depends on what kind of pet you own, but every animal is adapted and bred to live in a particular climate under specific conditions. This article will discuss temperature and how it affects your pets in various ways. There is a wide variety of different pets out there, but this article will only be covering dogs, cats, and reptiles. It will also explain both how and why our pets need the specific temperatures that keep them happy and healthy.

Dog Temperatures

Dogs are mammals, just like people. So, they have a similar comfort level when it comes to external temperature. The major difference between the way people and dogs handle temperature is in a dog’s fur. Most dogs are covered in fur from head to paws which creates a natural form of insulation. This natural insulation helps keep dogs warm when exposed to cold weather and winds, but it isn’t always going to make a major difference. The amount and type of fur on dogs varies based on the breed. But overall, most dogs typically feel comfortable indoors at around 69 to 70 degrees fahrenheit. 

Dogs Built For The Cold

Some breeds of dogs are more suited for colder weather conditions such as Siberian Huskies, Great Pyreneese, Newfoundlands, Komondor, and German Shepherds to name a few. This is because of their thick (and sometimes double) fur coat that keeps them well insulated. While these breeds were born to withstand the cold, there are a few breeds of dogs that are the exact opposite. It’s important to keep your dog active and well exercised even during the colder months of the year. To learn more about the different ways to exercise your dog during winter, check out our previous article called Ways To Exercise With Your Dog When It’s Too Cold Outside. 

Dogs Built For Warmer Climates

The thin-coated dogs, short-coated dogs, and dogs with thin body frames don’t handle the cold very well. Some examples of these breeds include Dalmatians, Boxers, Doberman Pinscher, Bull Terriers, Greyhounds, Pugs, and Beagles. This inability to withstand cold environments and temperatures especially applies to toy and small breeds such as chihuahuas, Yorkshire Terriers, and Toy Poodles. This is due to their small frames and short legs that result in them being closer to the ground. To keep these smaller and thin furred breeds more comfortable during winter, we recommend outfitting them with a doggy coat for a little more insulation and protection against the elements. To learn more about how dogs react to different types of weather, check out our other article called How To Keep Your Dog Cool This Summer

Cat Temperatures 

Similar to dogs, cats are also covered in fur from head to paws. Cat fur can vary from long hair to short hair depending on the breed, but generally offers a natural form of insulation. This helps protect them from cold weather and wind. However, they still need some form of shelter to stay at a comfortable temperature. Just like dogs, cats need an external environment of around 70 degrees or more to thrive and be healthy. The biggest difference between dogs and cats is their size. 

Dog Temps VS Cat Temps

Although it depends on the breed of dog, typically speaking dogs are much bigger than cats. The larger the mammal, the more heat it produces. Larger mammals are better adapted to withstand colder climates as they can keep themselves warmer for longer periods of time. That being said, cats are very resilient animals as well and many feral cats have been known to survive even the harshest of winters. For your indoor cat, we recommend having a cat bed and/or soft blanket available to them so they can stay warm. Odds are, they will seek you out and cuddle up with you for both your attention and your body heat.

Reptiles Temperatures 

Reptiles are significantly different from cats and dogs as reptiles are cold-blooded animals. Cold-blooded animals cannot self regulate their internal body temperatures the way warm-blooded animals do. This means that the external environmental temperature will directly affect a cold-blooded animal’s temperature. The warmer the environment, the warmer the reptile; the colder the environment, the colder the reptile. This is why temperature and humidity are so important when it comes to reptiles as most species need a humid and warm environment to survive. While it varies based upon the specific type of reptile, most reptiles require a constant temperature between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. They also require a basking area where they can absorb heat and light that must be at least 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Reptiles make great pets, but they also require very specific living conditions of both humidity and temperatures. To learn more about the specific temperatures and lighting that different reptile species need, check out The Spruce Pets website for more information. 

Just The Right Temp

Regardless of what type of pet you have, you want to keep them happy, healthy, and safe. Be sure to keep a close eye on your pets during the colder months of the year and look for any signs of temperature discomfort. Your dogs may appreciate a doggy coat if needed and your cats will never say no to a soft blanket. When caring for reptiles, be sure to do your research first as they have very specific environmental needs to survive. Always have your reptile tank setup and fully functional before bringing one home. We hope this article has been helpful and remember that you can always help keep your pets warm through the power of snuggles.