Lately, now that the temperature has dropped, you've noticed that your dog seems to be sleeping for long periods of time. He may be napping much more than usual and always looking to cuddle with you.
You're wondering if the winter weather has any effect on his sleep schedule. If it does, should you be concerned? Or do other dogs sleep a lot more in the cold weather, too?
By differentiating between what's normal and what's not, you can determine if your dog sleeps more because of the season or if there's an underlying health issue going on.
Do dogs sleep more in winter weather?
Yes, dogs do sleep more when there is cold weather. While dogs are not hibernating animals, his energy levels may decrease because the days are shorter, according to Orvis. They also might sleep more near the fire or a heater to stay warm, or cuddle with their dog owners to conserve heat, according to Animal Wised.
It is perfectly natural for your dog to sleep more in the winter. If their activity level goes down, too, you might want to make sure that your dog isn't sick by asking your veterinarian for advice.
What to do if your dog is shivering
If your dog is shivering, he may just be cold, according to Hill's. You can always put him in a warm sweater and put some blankets in your dog's bed that he can get under. Also, make sure you cuddle him more, and when you give him a bath, dry him off right away.
Smaller dogs, such as Chihuahuas, are going to shake more than larger dogs with big coats. Your dog could also be happy or excited, or he might be scared or anxious. If you believe he is frightened, you can reassure him with a calming voice, cuddle him, remove the stressor (like another barking dog), and take your dog to a quiet place where he can feel comfortable.
Pain or illness could also cause shivering. If your dog is shivering constantly and/or there are other signs of illness, you should take him to the veterinarian immediately. Perhaps he is more lethargic than usual, drooling at the mouth, or not eating or going to the bathroom. If you notice any behavior that isn't normal, getting him to a vet right away will help.
Emphasizing mental stimulation in the winter
Winter weather is tough on your pup. It can be difficult for you too. You may not want to go outside when it's freezing and snowing. As long as you walk your dog as much as possible and ensure he gets 30 minutes to two hours of exercise every day, then you don't have to worry about going on long walks or taking him to the dog park.
However, if you're staying inside more, you'll want to give your pup some mental stimulation. According to Purely Pets, you could play a game where you hide your dog's favorite toy somewhere and then ask him to retrieve it. You could also play hide and seek, where you tell your dog to stay and then go inside your house and call his name until he finds you. With these games, your dog won't be bored inside the house all day long.
Keeping your dog warm
Along with wrapping your dog in blankets, ensuring the heat is on inside your house, and putting him in a warm sweater, you can put booties on his feet. These booties will keep his paws cozy and protect him from painful ice as well as chemical burns from the salt on roads and walkways. Just make sure you get booties that are water resistant and have flexible soles.
Dogs sleep more in the winter because of the cold weather and shorter days. If they are shivering, look into whether or not they're having health issues, and remember to keep them warm with a sweater, blankets, and booties throughout the season.