During the summer, my dogs like to bake themselves on the back deck until their ears turn red. During the spring and fall, they enjoy ambling on long walks in the refreshing cool air. During the winter—they disappear under blankets, and suddenly become unavailable when walk time comes around.
It’s no secret they are not fans of cold weather, but just how cold is too cold for your chihuahua?
Chihuahuas are a Thin Coated Breed
Although some chihuahuas have thicker double coats, most have a very thin single coat. Even the double coats don’t have the same thickness and warmth as a husky or malamutes. This means your dog is more likely to get uncomfortable in cold temperatures starting around 45F.
This is not an exact temperature, as every chihuahuas is an individual. Fat is an insulator, so a plumper chihuahua may find the cool air more comfortable than a thin chihuahua.
Signs Your Chihuahua is Too Cold
If your worried your chihuahua isn’t enjoying his daily walk, there are a few signs to tell your pet isn’t comfortable in the cold weather. These include:
- Shivering or shaking
- Shifting feet uncomfortably
- Hunched back or tucked tail
- Trying to go inside or seek shelter
- Changes in behavior
Other Factors That Make It Too Cold
Even if the temperature is warmer than 45F, sometimes it may be too cold for your chihuahua anyway. If it is windy or rainy on top of being cold, it may feel colder to your pet.
It’s likely your chihuahua will probably make it pretty clear to you when it’s uncomfortable outside though. If they’re begging to go inside and you have to shoehorn them out to go potty, they’re probably thinking it’s a bit too chilly outside.
Preparing Your Pups for the Weather
Sometimes, you just have to go outside, even if it has been deemed too cold for your chihuahua. A warm coat can make a big difference in whether your pup wants to go outside or not, and many of them come with very generous cutouts for male dogs so that pottying doesn’t soil the coat.
We’ll be featuring a winter coats article later, but for now a good coat should:
- Fit well
Measure your dog around their neck, chest and back to make sure you get the right size
- Be insulated
A thin t-shirt may do more harm than good, as your dog can’t puff up his hair to trap warm air under it. Insulation is a definite must for a winter coat.
- Fit their individual needs
Some dogs do not like having things put over their heads. There are jackets that go on like a harness, with chest straps and belly straps instead. If your dog has shoulder or back pain and finds lifting their legs high uncomfortable, this is also the way to go.
Male dogs need a higher cutout than females as well on the underside, so they can pee properly.
If your dog’s feet get cold, booties may also be a good option. Booties will help protect the dog’s feet from ice and snowpack in their paws. Expect to spend some time teaching your pet to tolerate them however, as boots are not always well received by our chihuahua friends.
Don’t Leave Your Pup Outside
Chihuahuas are not outdoor dogs. Extremely cold temperatures could kill them, and even mildly cool weather is uncomfortable. Your pet can certainly go outside to go potty or for walks, but they should not be left out for long periods of time.
Chihuahuas are delicate dogs, and simply won’t make it as an outdoor dog in any weather.
- Heat Safety for Your Chihuahua
- Is It Ethical to Dress Your Chihuahua?
- Review of the Andis AGC2 UltraEdge
- How Often Should You Bathe Your Chihuahua?
- Cold Laser Therapy for Dogs