Is my pet too hot or too cold?

The lovely thing about South Africa is that our winters aren’t as cold as those of some countries – like in Europe. In general, most of our winters are mild compared to theirs, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have cold days. And, just like some people feel the cold more than others, some animals might be cold when others are not. So, how do we know if our pets are cold, or not? Here are a few guidelines regarding our furry friends’ temperature comfort zones.



Ideal room temperatures Generally between 20 and 25°C, depending on the breed of dog and his coat. Huskies and longhaired breeds enjoy cooler temperatures, while short-haired dogs, puppies, and sick or frail dogs prefer warmer temperatures. Take note at which temperature your dog feels comfortable.

Feeling cold when

  • He shivers or shakes.
  • He’s all curled up with his nose and tail tucked in.
  • His ears feel cold to the touch.
  • He whines.
  • He looks for a warm spot to lie down.

Warm him up

  • Give him a warm bed and a blanket to sleep on.
  • Cover him with a blanket.
  • Cuddle with him.
  • Put a doggy jersey or jacket on him.
  • Increase the room temperature.

Feeling hot when

  • He pants or breathes rapidly.
  • He drools excessively.
  • He looks for a cooler spot.
  • He refuses to put on a jacket.
  • His heartbeat is fast and irregular.



Ideal room temperatures Generally between 28 and 31°C. Cats prefer warmer temperatures than dogs do, and will curl up more readily when it is cold.

Feeling cold when

  • She looks for a warmer spot. Cats love lying in a sunny spot.
  • She curls up with her nose and paws tucked in.
  • She shivers.
  • She hunches, and her fur and tail are puffed up.
  • Her nose and ears feel cold to the touch.

Warm her up

  • Cover her with a blanket.
  • Provide a cave-like bed where she can curl up and sleep.
  • Let her curl up on your lap.
  • Provide a snuggly place in a sunny spot in your home.
  • Increase the indoor heat.

Feeling hot when

  • She pants.
  • She moves away from blankets or avoids cuddling with you.
  • Her heart rate increases.




Ideal room temperatures Most pet birds are tropical birds who prefer warmer temperatures. Find out where your bird originates from and what the average temperature is there. Otherwise, keep the temperature between 18 and 30°C.

Feeling cold when he

  • Fluffs up his feathers.
  • Buries his beak in his chest.
  • Squats to cover his legs.

Warm him up

  • Cover his cage with a blanket or cage cover.
  • Use a safe heat lamp with the temperature set to your bird’s preference.
  • Move his cage and perch into a warmer spot.
  • Give him a cage tent for extra cover.

Feeling hot when

  • He pants.
  • He breathes heavily.
  • He sits with his mouth open.
  • He appears aggressive.
  • He behaves less actively.




Ideal room temperatures Chinchillas originate from the Andes mountains and, therefore, can tolerate lower temperatures than most pets can. Generally, they prefer the room temperature to be between 15 and 23°C. There is more chance of your chinchilla being too hot than too cold.

Feeling cold when he

  • Shivers
  • Tries to find a warm spot.

Warm him up

  • Move his cage.
  • Provide a hiding place in his cage.
  • Provide soft bedding.

Feeling hot when

  • He has bright red ears.
  • His ears are swollen.
  • His body feels warmer to the touch than usual.
  • He drools.
  • He’s lethargic.
  • He breathes heavily.


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