Its peak summer and you are in an air conditioned room with your pet Chihuahua. She shivers suddenly and that brings the question to your mind: do Chihuahuas get cold easy?
Yes, and many a dog owner will vouch for this fact. Chihuahuas do get cold easy and they might shake and shiver even in peak summers.
This is the world’s smallest breed we are talking about. These small dogs hardly weigh up to 6 to 8 lb. They don’t have much body fat and that is why they tend to get cold.
In this article, we will discuss the reasons why do Chihuahuas get cold easy and also ways to keep them warm and comfortable.
Do Chihuahuas Get Cold Easy? What are the Reasons?
Yes. Chihuahuas are small dogs and they tend to shake and shiver all year round and especially in peak winters. Because they have the chills, you might find them burrowing themselves in their blanket or dog bed for warmth.
Here are reasons why Chihuahuas get cold easily:
1. No undercoat
Some Chihuahua varieties have single coats. The absence of the double coat is one of the main reasons why Chihuahuas get cold easily.
The longhaired Chihuahua has hair but that too may not be adequate to protect this small dog from freezing temperatures.
2. Not much body fat
Another reason why some Chihuahuas feel cold easily is because they hardly have any body fat on them. In other larger dog breeds like golden retrievers and German shepherds, not only their double coat but also the thick layer of body fat helps keep the dogs warm and cozy.
3. Thin skin and short hair
All varieties of Chihuahuas including the smooth coat and long haired Chihuahua have very thin skin and tiny hair. Even the longhaired Chi has fine hair which does not offer much in the way of protection from biting cold.
Moreover, these dogs shed their dog coat little by little all year round and heavily twice a year during the spring and fall months.
This eliminates whatever little warmth the tiny hair could be trapping. That makes these small dogs prone to feeling cold even when the temperature is pleasant.
4. Small dogs tend to feel cold
We mustn’t forget that the Chihuahua is the world’s smallest dog breed. It has a small body and also short legs. This does not provide it any protection from the cold. Even if your tiny breed dog curls up into a donut shape, it might still shake and shiver. If your pet happens to wade through the snow, it will need more time to warm up once it is back home.
5. The breed’s history
Chihuahuas were first bred in the region after which they are named – Chihuahua City in Mexico. This is mainly a place with a hot, dry, and arid climate.
In the early days of the breed, these dogs mostly lived outdoors in the scorching sun and had the job of trapping rodents and vermin. It is little wonder that Chis even have very big ears to keep them cool and to protect them from the hot sun.
Today, Chihuahuas are mostly used as lap dogs and companion dogs but they have travelled to different parts of the world. This is despite the fact that their bodies are not meant for cold weather.
That is why this little dog tends to get chilly very easily.
How Cold is Too Cold for a Chihuahua?
By now pet parents know the answer to the question: ‘do Chihuahuas get cold easy?’ But how much is too cold for these small dogs?
Most dog breeds can tolerate temperatures up to 45 F. However, for the Chihuahua, even 46 F could be too cold.
If you have a small Chihuahua pup or senior dogs, then it is best to get out its dog sweater or dog jacket when the temperatures fall to about 45 F. When the outside temperature is in the range of 30 F please avoid taking your pet out.
Always let your Chihuahua indicate to you it is too cold and don’t go just by the temperature alone. If your Chi appears lethargic or is shivering, refrain from taking it outdoors even if the temperature is in the 40s. Here are some general temperature ranges and what they could mean for a Chi:
- Above 60 F – generally safe and comfortable for most Chis
- About 50 F – warm but most Chihuahuas would need a sweater
- Between 30 to 40 F – very chilly for most Chihuahuas
- 20 to 30 F – danger zone. Avoid taking your Chi out.
Check out our guide on ‘What Temperature is Too Cold for a Chihuahua?’
What are the Signs That Your Chihuahua is Cold?
The Ontario SPCA and Humane Society have given us the following guidelines about ‘cold indicators’ for a dog:
- Your pet shakes, trembles, or shivers.
- It sits in a hunched position with its tail between its legs.
- It might whine or bark
- Your Chi might hide under the bed or jump on it to burrow in the blankets or comforters.
- It might be lethargic and may refuse to go for its walk/exercise. If you coax it to go on a walk, it might turn back around to go to your house.
- Changes in appetite – some dogs get ravenous, others refuse to eat.
- Seeking warmth near heating vents
- Keeps lifting its paw off the ground.
What are the Signs of Hypothermia in a Chihuahua?
Never ignore the following signs of hypothermia in your Chi:
- Showing signs of weakness and lethargy
- Sleeping all day
- Lack of mental alertness
- Stupor-like glance
- Losing consciousness
- Fixed or dilated pupils
If these signs occur, please rush your pet to your veterinarian.
Do Chihuahuas Like Cold Weather?
Most Chihuahuas do not like the cold weather as they tend to shake and shiver uncontrollably when the temperature drops. Your pet might also act anxious or whine all the time. It might even refuse to go on its walks.
We must not forget the Chi’s history here: these dogs hail from Mexico which is primarily a hot, arid country. Chihuahuas are not made for cold weather like Siberian huskies and Alaskan Malamutes are.
If you live in a place where it snows, you might find your Chi dreading the winters. It may not be as active as it is in the warmer months.
Many Chis that dislike cold weather tend to become rather lethargic in peak winters. They simply curl up and go to sleep all day. Many even reduce their food intake, although some Chihuahuas tend to overeat.
It is no wonder that many Chihuahuas gain weight in the winter months. Reduced activity combined with increased appetite could all cause weight gain in a small dog.
That is why you may want to speak to your vet and, if needed, cut your Chi’s food intake. It helps if you can provide a warm, climate controlled environment indoors for your pet to be more comfortable.
Also play with your pet indoors so it gets some mental and physical stimulation.
We will discuss some tips and steps you can take to keep your pet warm.
Why Do Chihuahuas Shake and Tremble?
There are many health conditions that could cause shaking and trembling in your Chi.
1. It is feeling cold
This is the most logical explanation behind a Chihuahua’s shaking and shivering. Some Chis might shake terribly in winters while others might even shake in warmer months. As indicated earlier, even 46F temperature (which most dog breeds tolerate) could be very cold for your small dog.
2. It is nervous or anxious
Often, a Chihuahua might be nervous or anxious when it starts shaking. Your pet might have separation anxiety and when it gets a whiff of the fact that you are leaving it home alone, it might start shaking from fear.
3. Underlying health issues
Some neurological issues, pain, medical conditions, fever, tick bites, etc. could also result in shaking and shivering in a Chi. Please see your vet if its shaking gets out of hand.
How to Keep your Chihuahua Warm in Peak Winters?
A small dog like the Chihuahua has low body fat and hence it will count on you to keep it warm and safe in peak winters.
Do not force your Chi to wade through the snow – this is an indoor dog and it is not made for the cold weather like a Husky or Malamute. Here are some tips to keep your Chihuahua warm and cozy:
1. Limit the time it spends outside
If your Chi refuses to walk, do not force it. You can provide it with dog potty pads or litter boxes for potty train purpose.
2. Give it a warm bed
Provide a warm bed to your Chihuahua. Most Chihuahuas like hooded beds as they create a den-like, warm, and cozy atmosphere.
This hooded bed is soft, warm, and ideal for your small dog. It is also easy to clean. You can also provide your pet with plenty of blankets so it can dig and burrow in them.
3. Keep your pet hydrated
Many dogs stop drinking water in the winter months. It could be because the water gets too cold. You can keep your Chi hydrated with warm broth, stews, or chicken stock. This will also warm up your pet and hydrate it at the same time.
4. Give it a sweater to wear
Chihuahuas love clothes and a warm sweater is just the thing your buddy needs to look and feel good!
5. Give it boots
Many Chihuahuas find tiled/stone floors inside the house too cold for their paws. If your Chi keeps lifting its paws off the floor, it could be too cold. Protect your Chihuahua’s paw with socks or booties (for each paw) so it feels more comfortable.
If you plan to take your pet outside in the snow, then opt for these waterproof boots. They can even be used in the summer months to protect your dog’s paws from hot road surfaces.
6. Dry your pet after it is back home
Do not let your Chi’s coat remain cold and wet from the snow or rain. Wipe it dry and warm your pet y using layers of clothes or blankets.
7. Keep your pet warm at night
At night, keep your Chi warm by placing its bed near a space heater. Also, provide plenty of blankets and sheets.
You could also use heated dog pads for your pet to sleep on.
8. Set your thermostat at a toasty warm temperature
If the temperature outside is freezing, keep your thermostat at a temperature between 69 and 75 F. Your Chi will indicate whether this is the right temperature. If your pet is still shivering, provide it with blankets and layered clothing to warm it further.
FAQs on Do Chihuahuas Get Cold Easy?
1. Is it okay to cover your Chihuahua with blankets?
The answer depends as it varies from dog to dog. Many Chihuahuas prefer having the blankets under their bellies as they tend to get overheated. Some Chihuahuas might prefer burrowing under the blanket to get warm and comfortable. Assess your dog’s likes and dislikes to decide how to place the blankets.
2. How cold is too cold inside the house for a Chihuahua?
For small breed dogs like Chihuahuas, it is best to keep the indoor thermostat setting to a toasty warm temperature of about 50 to 60 F. Always pay attention to your Chi as it will give you indication when it is too cold.
3. What temperature should a Chihuahua sleep in?
In peak winters, you can maintain a temperature between 68 and 75 F at night for your Chihuahua to sleep comfortably.
Do Chihuahuas get cold easy?
Yes, most Chihuahuas get cold easily since they have thin skin, short coat, and very little body fat. Resultantly, they have no natural insulation from the cold.
Even a temperature in the range of 50 to 60 F could be chilly for a small Chihuahua puppy or a senior Chi. We hope that the tips above come in handy to keep your dog warm and comfortable.