Are Chihuahuas sensitive to cold? If so, how cold is too cold for them?
Ideally, you should avoid exposing your Chihuahua to temperatures of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. This temperature or colder will make your Chihuahua unwell and puts him at a higher risk of hypothermia, a condition characterized by an excessive drop in body temperature.
There is a risk that he may die if his temperature continues to fall. His breathing and heart rate will slow down, and his muscles will stiffen up. Though there is a lower risk of frostbite occurring, it can still occur.
In the case of wet weather, these dangers are amplified even further.
Temperature Safety Guideline For Small Dogs In Cold Weather
Small dog breeds such as Chihuahua and Pugs are more vulnerable to colder temperatures and are at greater risk of hypothermia.
If you decide to let your dog outside, make sure you follow these temperature safety guidelines :
- A temperature of 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit is considered to be safe for your dog.
- A temperature of 45 degrees Fahrenheit or less is generally acceptable, but you should watch how your dog handles these conditions.
- Your dog could be at risk if the temperature is 30-40 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the breed. Small dogs such as Chihuahuas are at higher risk.
- If your dog is already sensitive to cold weather at 40 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll want to be extra cautious once the weather dips into the dangerous temperature range of 25 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cold temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit can be life-threatening. Avoid letting your dog outside and keep him indoors as much as possible.
Can a Chihuahua Survive in the Cold for Long?
Cold weather is not friendly to small breeds like Chihuahuas, and they won’t be able to withstand the cold (at 45 degrees Fahrenheit) for more than 15 minutes. As a result of their thin coats and lack of fat, they cannot regulate their body temperature and keep themselves warm.
Fat can provide dogs with a bit of insulation against the cold which Chihuahuas lack. Thus, if you intend to take your Chihuahua for a walk in the winter, make sure you get him a pair of booties and a jacket.
Of course, there are several factors that can have a bearing on how long your dog is able to safely stay outdoors during the cold weather.
- The species of your dog.
- The overall health of your dog.
- The age of your dog.
- What is the weather like outside? How cold is it? Is it windy?
It is important to consider all these factors when determining how long your dog can withstand the cold.
When Should Chihuahuas Wear Sweaters?
Short-haired Chihuahuas have very thin coats. There is no way their tiny bodies can adequately insulate themselves against cold weather.
They are inherently uncomfortable at temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, so wearing sweaters will keep them warm.
When you buy him a doggy sweater, you are not pampering him in any manner. In fact, you are increasing his sense of well-being and comfort to a level that he would appreciate.
His sweaters don’t have to be limited to wearing outside. They can also be worn indoors, keeping him warm during winter.
In the absence of body mass to retain heat, and no insulation to keep your Chihuahua warm, it is essential that you get him an excellent sweater.
What Are the Signs That My Chihuahua Is Cold?
You can tell if your dog is feeling cold by looking out for these signs :
In response to the cold, dogs will exhibit a noticeable response. Shivering or trembling is a sign that the weather is too cold for your dog.
A cold feeling in his ears.
Despite being cold, a dog’s fur may feel warm to the touch. What you can do is to feel your dog’s ears if you aren’t sure if he is cold. If his ears feel cold, especially around the edges, cover him with a thick blanket.
Unwilling to move around.
Observing your dog’s movements is another good way to tell if he’s cold. Feeling cold will make your dog appear unwilling to move around.
Curling up into a ball.
It is dogs’ instinct to try to warm themselves using their body’s heat when they are cold.
If you notice your Chihuahua curling up into a ball or hunching over with their tail tucked in, it is very likely that he is feeling cold.
Walking with a limp.
If your dog is limping while walking, it’s a sign that he’s too cold. He is trying to avoid touching the ground with his paws as they are too cold on his paws.
A whining behavior.
Your Chihuahua will try to let you know when he is feeling uncomfortable due to the cold. By whining, whimpering, or barking, he is communicating his discomfort.
Thus, if your dog suddenly starts acting abnormally for no apparent reason, consider whether he had been exposed to extreme temperatures or chills.
It is common for cold dogs to look anxious or agitated.
A state of extreme lethargy.
A dog that appears extremely sleepy or lethargic is another sign of a cold.
If your dog appears to have a stiff body, having difficulty breathing, or barely moving, you should take him to the veterinarian immediately.
The Symptoms of Hypothermia in Dogs
Dogs are in danger of hypothermia when their body temperature falls below 98 °F. (Normal temperature of a dog is between 101 – 102.5 °F). This is caused by their body losing too much heat in a short time span.
Dogs, especially the hairless and small breeds, often suffer from hypothermia during winter months. This happens when they are exposed to extreme temperatures for an extended period of time.
This can happen if your Chihuahua is playing in the snow without adequate insulation and is being exposed to freezing weather for a long time.
A dog who is suffering from hypothermia will become lethargic. His gums may turn pale, his eyes may look cloudy, and his pupils may dilate. These changes may indicate that he is losing heat, and he needs to be treated immediately.
Other hypothermia signs include :
- Heart rate increases, followed by slowing down.
- Breathing becomes increasingly shallow and slower as time passes.
- Delay in reflexes and sluggishness.
- Feelings of depression.
- A pale complexion.
- Pupils that are dilated.
- A state of unconsciousness.
If Your Chihuahua Has a Cold, What Should You Do?
Here are some ways to treat a Chihuahua’s cold.
Make use of a humidifier.
Warm, steamy air is beneficial for a cold dog. Adding a humidifier to the room where your dog sleeps is an easy way to relieve your dog’s cold.
Alternatively, you can run a hot bath or shower and keep your dog in the steamy bathroom for a while if you don’t have a humidifier.
Keep him hydrated.
Staying hydrated will help your pup recover faster. In addition, it will thin the nasal fluid, so he will breathe more easily. In case your dog is not drinking, you can entice him with chicken soup.
Make sure he is well-fed.
A well-balanced diet will help with his recovery. A dull sense of smell may be preventing your dog from eating his favorite food.
Make the smell of the food stronger by microwaving it, so that your dog will be more enticed to eat it.
Give him as much rest as he needs.
Do not wander with your beloved pup at this time. Make sure that he’s well rested.
Keep him away from other dogs.
There is no risk of humans getting colds from dogs, but dogs do. Therefore, do not allow your dog to be with other dogs in your home, unless you want to have a whole house full of sick pups.
You should take your dog to the vet if the symptoms persist or don’t seem to be improving. It is possible that what appears to be a common cold is actually kennel cough or a more serious respiratory disease. If the cold doesn’t get better, it may progress into pneumonia.
What Can You Do to Keep Your Chihuahua Warm
- Make sure that your Chihuahua wears a sweater.
- In the area where you want your Chihuahua to sleep, you should provide a small basket with a pillow and a few fleece blankets.
- Stratify the placement of fleece or baby blankets on the furniture.
- It may be a good idea to purchase a heated pet bed for your pet. Typically, these beds include a heating pad to keep Chihuahuas as warm as possible.