Most Chihuahua parents assume that their pooch can keep themselves warm (in winter).
8 out of 10 times they’re wrong.
So it’s great that you’re reading this article (it shows you really care).
Here you’ll discover:
- What cold temperatures can do to your Chihuahua’s muscles.
- An often neglected but effective tip on keeping your Chi warm (hint: it’s #5).
- The exact amount of time you should take your Chi out for in the cold months.
- And more…
Table of contents
- How to keep my Chihuahua warm (in winter)?
- What temperature do Chihuahuas like?
- 5 signs your Chi is feeling cold
- 17 simple tips to keep your Chihuahua warm (in winter)
- #1: Invest in warm clothing
- #2: Get a warm and cozy bed
- #3: Put extra blankets on the furniture
- #4: Put your house at a reasonable temperature
- #5: Trim paw pads
- #6: Don’t bathe outdoors
- #7: Keep your Chihuahua dry
- #8: Limit time outdoors
- #9: Take brisk walks
- #10: Pet-proof your house
- #11: Don’t leave dogs outside
- #12: Keep doggy beds away from drafty areas
- #13: Give extra food
- #14: Don’t go off-leash
- #15: Take senior dogs to the vet
- #16: Don’t leave them alone in the car
- #17: Remove excess snow outside
How to keep my Chihuahua warm (in winter)?
Keep your Chihuahua warm (in winter) by providing them warm clothing. A cozy bed will make them happy. So will a warm toasty house. Limit time outdoors to 10 minutes. This means brisk walks and a brief play outside. Keep them dry always and give them extra food.
What temperature do Chihuahuas like?
Since Chihuahuas are small, they’ll love a warm environment. A warm temperature falls between 69⁰ and 72⁰ F. If you plan to leave the house, do not set the thermostat lower than 60⁰ F. But keep the temperature higher if you have small or sick dogs.
Watch out for signs that your dog is cold and needs to be inside the house.
5 signs your Chi is feeling cold
#1: You are cold
Humans’ and dogs’ comfort levels are almost the same.
So if you’re cold, your Chihuahua is, too.
Short coat or long coat, no amount of fur is enough to keep them warm.
Avoid leaving them outside longer than 10 minutes. They are small dogs and get cold rather quickly.
Shaking can mean a lot of things.
Maybe your Chihuahua is excited or happy. Or they are nervous.
But in winter, shaking is the most obvious sign that your Chihuahua is cold.
Reading tip: 16 Reasons Why Chihuahuas Shake, Shiver & Tremble So Much
#3: Cold ears
Touch your Chihuahua’s ears.
If those are cold, it’s likely that they’re cold all over.
#4: No energy
It’s understandable if you feel lazy to move around in winter.
It’s too cold and it feels much better staying under the blankets.
However, lazy is different from lacking energy.
When Chihuahuas lack energy, it may be due to several factors.
One: cold paws.
Check whether your Chihuahua is suffering from cold paws. You can tell by observing them. You’ll know this is the case when your Chi limps or walks as though hurt.
Two: exposure to low temperatures. This leads to stiff muscles.
Here’s another cause for worry:
Your Chihuahua is weak, lethargic and has shallow breathing.
Add to that their slow movements or stopping moving altogether.
If that’s the case, take them to your vet as this could be hypothermia.
Caution: Hypothermia is a condition where body temperature drops. As a result, the heart and other body organs can’t work properly.
#5: Whining or barking
Dogs whine and bark for so many reasons.
But if they have been outside, barking could be a sign of something serious.
They could have been out in the snow longer than they can take.
This is an indication that they are cold and must be taken inside.
Caution: DO NOT let your Chihuahua outside longer than 10 minutes. They may suffer from hypothermia.
If they have been playing in the snow, dry them quickly.
Keep your beloved Chihuahua protected in cold months by doing the following tips.
17 simple tips to keep your Chihuahua warm (in winter)
#1: Invest in warm clothing
Because of their small size, your Chihuahua gets cold easily.
So they need extra help to stay warm during the cold days.
Consider investing in a sweater and a jacket to provide them insulation. Whether indoors or outdoors, they can be protected against the cold.
The young, sick and senior Chihuahuas benefit greatly from warm clothing.
By the way, keep in mind a few things when getting them winter clothes.
For a sweater or a jacket, make sure it’s the right fit. It shouldn’t be too heavy.
Your dog should still be able to move comfortably.
It will stress them out if the clothing restricts their movement.
Even if they wear a sweater, let their skin breathe from time to time. Wash their clothes regularly so that your Chihuahua feels comfortable wearing them.
For walks, your Chihuahua’s jacket has to cover the neck down to the tail. There are some jackets that cover the belly as well.
Buy booties only if your Chihuahua is comfortable wearing them.
Check out this Chihuahua in their winter boots:
#2: Get a warm and cozy bed
During the cold months, we snuggle a little bit longer under the blankets.
So do your dogs.
They’ll spend more time curled up on their beds.
Show your love by providing them comfort. And this means making their bed warm and cozy.
Aside from the usual bedding, consider placing an additional padding.
And instead of using an electric blanket, go for a heating pad.
A heating pad provides warmth without the danger of electrocution. It’s also autonomous, so you don’t have to monitor it all the time.
Then place a fleece or thick blanket under which your Chi can crawl.
#3: Put extra blankets on the furniture
There will be times when your Chihuahua will get tired of their bed.
They will seek comfort in other places such as a chair or sofa.
That’s because they are natural ‘burrowers.’
This behavior may have been passed down from their Techichi ancestors.
Long ago, Techichi roamed Central and North America.
To protect themselves from predators and keep warm, they burrowed in sand and vegetation.
So give your Chihuahua spots in the house where they can burrow.
Put extra blankets on chairs or the sofa. Use a baby blanket or one made of fleece.
They can crawl under it and hide from the noises and everyone.
Or perhaps they just want to lie down near you.
Advise your family to always check these areas before sitting down.
Your Chihuahua may be in there under the blanket.
Reading tip: 8 Real Reasons Why Chihuahuas Burrow (Under Blankets)
#4: Put your house at a reasonable temperature
Everybody should feel comfortable inside the house, including your Chihuahua.
Truth is, there is no ideal temperature that works for all dogs.
It depends on their size, coat, weight, health, breed and age.
However, it helps to know that their comfort levels are the same as humans’.
If the temperature is okay for you, then it is also okay for your dogs.
This research states that dogs may not be able to tolerate the cold. They cannot retain heat due to their small size and the thinness of their coat.
Your Chihuahua fits this description.
To keep them warm, set your thermostat between 69⁰ and 72⁰ F. Do not set the temperature below 60⁰ F.
If you need to leave the house, set the thermostat no colder than 60⁰ F.
For puppies, sick and senior dogs, you may set the temperature a bit higher.
There could be other factors to determine the right temperature for your dog. They may be tougher than most Chihuahuas.
Who knows? They may love the cold weather.
But do check their comfort level and adjust the temperature accordingly.
#5: Trim paw pads
Trim your Chihuahua’s fur around their paw pads no matter the season.
In winter, it prevents ice and snow buildup during your walks.
Not only that. In winter, sidewalks are treated with chemicals to prevent icing.
Your Chihuahua can pick up the chemicals through their paws. The chemicals are dangerous for your dogs when ingested.
When you get home from your walk, always check your Chihuahua’s paws.
Check for injuries such as cracking or bleeding.
Also, have a dry towel ready for when you get back. Wipe their paws thoroughly to avoid dragging in snow and mud.
Consider buying winter booties for your Chihuahua. There could be sharp objects hiding under the snow.
The booties will add protection for their feet.
Caution: Do not force your Chi to wear booties if they are uncomfortable.
#6: Don’t bathe outdoors
There are less chances for your Chihuahua to get dirty in winter.
They stay indoors most of the time. The snow is usually clean should they play on it.
But if you absolutely need to bathe your dog, don’t do it outside.
The cold weather will have your Chihuahua shivering in no time.
Plus, they might catch a chill.
Instead, have warm water ready. Bathe your Chihuahua in the tub.
When done, dry them with a towel right away.
#7: Keep your Chihuahua dry
Keep your dogs warm by keeping them dry.
Before leaving the house, have a dry towel ready for when you get back.
When your Chihuahua got wet in the rain or snow, dry them quickly.
Remove their clothing as soon as you can to keep them from shivering.
Then cover them with a blanket.
Also, avoid taking them outside to play during a heavy snow or rain.
Reserve time outdoors when the sun is shining. Or if it’s not too cold.
#8: Limit time outdoors
Your Chihuahua is not tough enough to endure long hours outside.
This is especially true for Chihuahuas that have short coat, are old or sick.
Even if they wear a jacket, some body parts are still exposed.
So even if your Chihuahua loves to play in the snow, limit their time.
And if you take them for a walk, don’t forget to look at the time. Just walk your Chihuahua and don’t stop anywhere besides while waiting for them to relieve themselves.
In a warm weather you may enjoy an hour or longer outside. But in winter, avoid being outside for this long.
I suggest that you take walks for 10 minutes thrice or 4 times a day. Do this instead of being outside for 40 minutes at once.
For other forms of physical activities, do them inside the house.
Another concern is your Chihuahua’s bathroom breaks.
Caution: DO NOT let them out in the yard alone to do their business.
A great alternative is placing pee pads inside the house. Put them in the bathroom or somewhere accessible to old dogs. Clean their mess right away or your house smells strongly of urine.
#9: Take brisk walks
The cold season is not a reason to stop exercising.
Your Chihuahua needs to be active to stay warm and get blood circulating.
Moving also prevents their muscles from being stiff.
Depending on the conditions outside, you can take your Chihuahua for brisk walks.
Take advantage of days when the sun is out.
Just make sure it’s not too cold and put a jacket on them.
Note: Spend 10 minutes for brisk walks.
Do this 3 or 4 times a day. This is to avoid exposing your Chihuahua in the cold for too long.
And when outside, always monitor your Chihuahua.
They may be attracted to the smell of antifreeze spilled on the ground. This is very toxic for dogs.
#10: Pet-proof your house
Make preparations before winter comes.
Get your dog’s winter clothes ready along with their beds.
Also, designate an area where they will be sleeping. Will they sleep in your bedroom or somewhere else?
It helps to elevate their beds a bit so those are not on the cold floor.
If you have a fireplace, keep an eye on your dogs. They may get too close to the fire and suffer from dry skin or burns.
Do you use a space heater?
If you do, do not leave it unattended. And do not leave it on overnight. Accidents can happen while you’re asleep. The heater may tip over and start a fire. A space heater can also dry nasal passages.
Consider getting a heating pad specifically designed for pets.
There are a lot of choices, depending on what you’re looking for.
You can get one that is temperature-controlled. There’s also one that can be microwaved and provides about 10 hours of warmth. There are budget-friendly heating pads and ones that don’t need to be plugged in.
Aside from these, what will you use to melt the snow on your walkway?
Most would use salt. But your Chihuahua will have a hard time walking over them.
Instead of salt, how about you use sand? It’s gentler on your dog’s paws.
Note: Should you use salt, choose brands that are pet-safe.
#11: Don’t leave dogs outside
Dogs are social animals and love to be next to their humans.
They are a part of your family and they love you unconditionally.
The least you can do is keep them inside the house during the cold months.
Like humans, they need protection against snow, rain and cold.
And as the owner, it is your responsibility to take care of their needs.
They need to be outside only when taking walks or exercising.
Caution: DO NOT leave your Chihuahua unattended for a long time. They can freeze outside.
#12: Keep doggy beds away from drafty areas
Dogs prefer to be close to their owners. Even when sleeping.
You may not like having a dog on bed with you. At least consider putting their bed near you. Or anywhere that is warm and quiet.
Senior dogs and dogs with newborn pups need warmth and quiet.
Also, keep their bed away from windows, sliding doors or doors leading outside.
The draft will make them uncomfortable. And they won’t be able to sleep well at night.
Caution: DO NOT elevate beds too high. Your senior dog may find it difficult to move around.
Provide an extra blanket to make them more comfortable.
#13: Give extra food
During winter, it’s okay to give your Chihuahua extra food.
They need the extra calories to stay warm during the cold days.
How would you know if you need to give them extra food?
Keep track of their weight. If they lose a pound or two, add a bit more food to their usual diet.
The extra calories go a long way in fueling their internal thermostat to stay warm.
In addition, the extra protein and fat in their diet will help keep their coat healthy.
#14: Don’t go off-leash
A lot can happen while taking a walk in winter.
Cars may have a hard time breaking in case your dog ran in the middle of the street.
Also, the slippery roads make it difficult to run after a dog.
There’s also the danger of your dog sliding or falling into hidden traps if you let them roam free.
Worse, they could get lost.
When taking your Chihuahua for a walk, keep them on a leash. This way, you know where they are and what they do.
You can use a 15-foot long leash to give them more freedom of movement.
#15: Take senior dogs to the vet
Winter is particularly harsh for our senior dogs.
That’s because the cold worsens their arthritis.
If you have an old Chihuahua, always check on them. Make sure they are as comfortable as they can be.
Their beds must be warm enough so they can sleep deeply.
And even if they’re old, they still need exercise.
Keep an exercise routine that isn’t too hard on their joints. The exercise will help in blood circulation.
You can also take them for a walk but stick to 10 minutes outside.
However, if their arthritis makes them uncomfortable, take them to the vet for a checkup.
Your vet may consider giving supplements, medication or injection.
#16: Don’t leave them alone in the car
Leaving your dogs alone in the car in summer is dangerous.
It’s the same in winter. And it doesn’t matter if it’s only for 5 minutes. It can get cold very quickly inside the car.
If you have no one to watch over your dog, it’s safer to leave them at home. At home, they can be more comfortable. The temperature is just right for them.
In addition, they have access to food and water. And they can sleep peacefully.
#17: Remove excess snow outside
A piling snow right outside your house will make the inside colder.
Shovel snow or ice especially in areas where your dog walks. This is to keep them from getting cold and avoiding accidents.