How to Keep a Dog Warm at Night: Inside & Outside the Home

how to keep a dog warm at night

Summer is over, the evenings are getting darker, and our days are getting colder meaning we have to wrap up warm… but not just, our dogs too. Temperatures tend to drop even lower after dark so it’s even more important to keep your dog warm at night.

This is particularly true for dogs who live in out-buildings, garages, or in colder rooms in your home. Breeds with shorter coats will suffer more with the cold weather too, so keeping your dog warm at night is important for their comfort and health.

No matter where your dog sleeps at night, there are many ways in which you can help to keep them warm and comfortable – whether they are outdoors or indoors dogs.

I will start with keeping your dog warm indoors at night, then move onto the outdoor tips after that.

How to keep a dog warm at night inside your home

Just like us, when a dog gets cold, they become more vulnerable to illnesses. The extreme end of the scale would be something like hypothermia which can be fatal.

There are also things like frostbite, which can lead to amputation.

Cold weather and dogs don’t mix, but thankfully there are many ways in which you can keep a dog warm at night who sleep inside.

Without further ado, here are my tips for how you can keep a dog warm at night when they are sleeping in the home.

1. Heated mats and bedding

Make sure your dog has a comfortable and snuggly bed, and why not also give them a heated blanket?

Alternatively, you can actually buy winter dogs bed with built-in heating. Here’s one of them on the Amazon website. It has high sides that also help to keep the warmth in the bed.

If your dog is bed chewer, you might want to opt for a heated sleeping mat instead. Again, you can buy a heated dog mat on Amazon, which has great reviews. I believe it heats up to warm sleeping temperature of around 40℃ (104℉) – more than enough to keep your dog warm at night.

2. Raise their bed off the floor

One sure fire way your dog will get cold at night is when the lower temperatures rise up through the floor and into their bedding. Combat this by raising their bed up of the floor and away from the ground.

This will also help with any heat loss from your dog’s body.

You can buy raised dog beds on Amazon, or failing that, put some more bedding or cushions under their existing bed to help keep them warmer at night.

3. Build your dog a cosy nest at night

You can help them keep warm by winding blankets together into a loop or ring, which your dog can then sleep in. We do this all the time with our own dog – it’s almost like a donut shape.

You can make their nest even warmer with fleece dog blankets, again, available on Amazon with superb reviews from pet owners.

If your dog ends up loving their new winter blanket, wash it regularly during the cold nights to help prevent nasty smells and allergy inducing dust or mites – they can then sleep in comfort and warmth during the night.

4. Buy a dog nesting bed instead

Instead of building your dog a warm nest, you can just one instead. They are awesome and cosy, looking like indoor kennels for your dog to sleep inside to keep really warm on winter nights.

Not all dogs like them, as some will feel trapped and claustrophobic. If you have the type of dog who loves to burrow under your bed covers though, it could be perfect for keeping them warm at night; here’s a well rated one on Amazon.

5. Buy dog pyjamas

Honestly, I thought this sounded crazy too, but they do honestly exist.

I don’t think I could persuade our dog to put these on, but if yours is comfortable playing dress up, they could be the perfect way to keep them warmer on cold evenings.

My wife and I always wear pyjamas when it the temperature gets cold at night, so why should your dog miss out? Here’s a set I found on Amazon.

6. Prevent draft in the room your dog sleeps in

Drafts are so often overlooked, because we’re not at the same height that dogs sleep at, so might not notice the cold.

However, it’s one of the most important factors for pet owners wanting to know how to keep their dog warm at night.

As you know, dogs sleep on or close to the floor, making them a target for cold air coming underneath doors or through air vents. Your dog could very well end up getting a chill, so invest in draft excluders to make the room warmer.

7. Indoor grass patches

Some dogs won’t even want to go outside to do their business once the cold sets in. To keep them in the indoors warmth, you could use a fake grass patch for them to pee on.

They have a tray underneath which collects the urine and means your dog can keep warm indoors without braving sub-zero temperatures. Click the photo below to find out more.

8. Heated dog bowls

When water gets really cold it can actually make your dog ill. When your dog drinks nearly frozen water, their own body temperature can drop, leading to potential health issues in winter.

Instead you could invest in a heated dog bowl (view on Amazon). It doesn’t make their water warm, but instead has just enough heat to stop it getting dangerously cold for them.

Handy Hint: I’ve written a list of more ways you can stop your dog’s water bowl from freezing over, without having to use electricity.

9. Consider letting the dog in your bed

This is personally not one for me, because my dog is a huge snorer and takes too much room in our bed… and he’s not even that big! My wife also tends suffer with allergic reactions to dog hair.

We won’t be taking this option, but if it works for you, perhaps make the odd exception to the bed sleeping rule on colder nights to keep your dog warm.

dog sleeping in bed with owner
Some owners will keep their dog warm at night by letting them sleep in their human bed.

10. Don’t let them sleep too near to heating

Whilst is might be tempting to position your dog’s bed near to a heater or radiator, I would recommend against doing so.

Some dogs, especially brachycephalic breeds such as Pugs can overheat easily and quickly become uncomfortable.

How to keep a puppy warm at night

All of the tips I’ve already written for how to keep a dog warm at night will work just as well with a puppy, but they are more inclined to get cold. They are small and still developing so don’t cope as well with colder temperatures at night-time.

Fortunately, a lot of the warming products available for smaller dogs are also suitable for puppies. You can find microwavable heating pads will be much safer than hot water bottles, and blankets or even old towels or clothes are also an easy go-to option.

Just make sure to keep an eye on them and make sure they can breathe while they are under there.

Handy Hint: I’ve yet to meet a dog who doesn’t like snow… if you click that link it will explain what it is about snow that dogs love so much.

How to keep a dog warm at night outside

Whilst the majority of dogs stay inside at night, there are some working dogs who will sleep outdoors or in kennels, no matter what the weather.

But even big dogs with heavy coats can suffer in the cold, so you will need to take steps to keep them warm at night.

If your dog sleeps outdoors, protect them from hypothermia and frostbite with the following tips.

  • Build a warm doghouse.
  • Leave them plenty of food to keep calories up (will keep them warmer).
  • Use a heat lamp if the dog sleeps in a garage.
  • Install a light bulb in a protected wire cover in the doghouse.
  • Have a pile of straw which the dog can burrow into.
  • Place thermal shiny blankets on the outside of the doghouse.

How can you keep a dog warm that refuses to come inside at night?

Some dogs prefer to sleep outside and won’t come indoors no matter how cold it is. This is most likely behavioral issue but can be resolved with training.

It’s a common thing with rescue dogs, as some will have negative connotations with being indoors. You can get over it by creating a strong bond, and making the home safe, warm, and comfortable for them.

However, while you are training your dog to come inside to keep warm at night, there are ways to make sure that they are comfortable if sleeping outdoors.

Is it bad for dogs to eat late at night
You might want to put extra blankets down to help your dog be more comfortable.

Can I leave my dog outside at night?

During cold weather, you should try to keep your dog inside. As pack animals, they will want to be with you and your family, rather than feeling potentially rejected if left outside at night.

As dogs have become domesticated over the thousands of years, they aren’t all designed to deal with cold weather as their wild counterparts would have been.

In particular, it can be very dangerous to leave smaller breeds outdoors who don’t have fatty deposits and shaggy coats to help keep the warmth in.

Please also note that in some places it could be illegal to keep your dog outside at night. There could be laws in your local area which state you need to give your dog safe and proper shelter from the elements.

I do not recommend letting a dog sleep outside at night at all. However, I appreciate it is sometimes unavoidable as this vet said:

 “Many dogs love to be outside and some in rural areas sometimes prefer to be outside. As pup parents, it’s important to know when they need to join their families and seek shelter.” – Dr. Rob Prietto.

How to keep your dog warm on winter walks

On the topic of winter, it’s not just at night when you need to keep your dog warmer, but whilst on walks too. It’s essential that you keep your dog exercised in colder months but take steps to make them comfortable.

Consider investing in winter clothing

You can buy a range of winter wear to fit dogs of all sizes. This includes:

  • Winter boots and paw protection.
  • Sweaters, jackets, and snowsuits.
  • Earmuffs and snoods.

Can dogs get too cold at night?

Yes, and whilst dogs cannot speak, although we often wish they could, they do communicate with us in ways that we can understand.

A cold dog will often make its discomfort well known. This can include obvious signs like shivering; although many dogs will whine, act anxious and will find ways to try and keep their paws off of the ground.

You know your dog better than anyone, so if your dog is doing any of these things, acting up because of the cold, or showing other signs of discomfort, then it is best to bring them inside.

Here’s an infographic I created for pugs, so you know when they are too cold, and it applies to similar sized dogs.

how cold is too cold


The bottom line is this; it’s your responsibility to make sure you keep your dog warm at night, and I hope these tips have given you a head start on how to do so.

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Marc Aaron

I write about the things we've learned about owning dogs, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips we've picked up along the way.

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