Do Dogs Shiver if They're Cold?

by Rob Hainer
    Even dogs designed for cold weather can shiver in extreme temperatures.

    Even dogs designed for cold weather can shiver in extreme temperatures.

    John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images

    Some dogs, such as huskies, are better equipped to handle cold weather than short-haired dogs such as Doberman pinschers. But any dog can get too cold if the weather is harsh enough and he's without proper shelter. They start shivering, just like you do, when their body temperatures start dropping. However, shivering could be a sign of a health problem, too.

    Cold Shivering

    Dogs have protection from the cold you don't have, such as a full coat of fur. Not all dogs have as much hair as others; short-haired dogs used to living inside your warm house are more likely to shiver when they go outside in colder temperatures. Long-haired dogs can stay outside longer, but they still need shelter from the elements. Newborn puppies don't have the ability to shiver, but they lose body heat quickly; if their mom isn't around to keep them warm, create a warming zone with a heat lamp or covered heating pad to help them maintain body heat.


    When your dog shivers inside the house or outside when the cold temperatures aren't extreme, it could signal a medical problem such as distemper, generalized tremor syndrome, nausea or a neurological disorder. Take him to the vet as soon as possible to diagnose and treat potential health problems.

    Photo Credits

    • John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Rob Hainer began writing and editing for newspapers in 1992. He began his career as a photojournalist in the Army, and studied journalism at the University of Missouri. He worked as a copy editor and reporter at "The Marietta Daily Journal," the "Spartanburg Herald-Journal" and the "New Haven Register."

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