Do Dogs Shiver When They're Cold?

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.

Illness

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.

By Rob Harris

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References
Humane Society of Utah: Cold Weather Care for Dogs
WebMD: Dog Shivering and Trembling -- Causes and Treatments

About the Author
While studying journalism in the Army and at the University of Missouri, Rob Harris developed a lifelong love of physical fitness and nutrition, contributing often to a dairy industry newsletter. He has also worked with and created blogs for several family businesses including a professional dog kennel and a flower shop, where he used his experience as an avid gardener to grow plants for sale.