How to Take Care of Your Chihuahua During the Winter?
Winter is right around the corner, and your dog needs special care. Due to their size, Chihuahuas are especially difficult – they tend to struggle to adjust to cold weather. Don’t worry, your little gremlin isn’t doomed to shake and shiver – let’s find out How You Can Take Care of Your Chihuahua During the Winter!
Steps to Take to Keep Your Chihuahua Warm During the Winter.
- Keep your pooch indoors.
- Invest in winter wardrobe.
- Buy Chihuahua Boots or Shoes.
- Protect your Chi's Paws.
- Try a heated bed.
- General winter care.
- Additional tips.
Chihuahuas are the smallest breed in the world. As a result, they have very fast metabolisms, they burn through fat quickly, and they tend to get low blood sugar levels. Originating from Mexico, the breed is used to a hot climate.
Today, Chihuahuas are bred all around the globe. With that in mind, owners need to be mindful of their dogs’ needs. Chis are very susceptible to the cold, and we need to take measures to keep our Chihuahuas warm and happy.
Keep Your Chihuahua Indoors.
It’s quite simple – if it’s freezing outside, keep your dog indoors. Just like humans, dogs can get frostbite, regardless of the breed (with a few obvious exceptions). In extreme conditions, it’s best to just keep your Chi in your warm home than to force daily walks outside.
Luckily, Chihuahuas are very grateful house pets. They can reach their daily energy expenditure requirements just by running around the home. As a result, hourly walks aren’t a necessity during the winter.
If your tiny companion is housebroken (trained to potty outside) – don’t worry, a few seconds in the cold won’t harm your pooch. Just make sure to keep the outdoor adventures to a minimum. As soon as your Chi is finished doing its business, get back inside.
However, if the outside is almost inaccessible due to snow or sub-freezing temperatures, consider using puppy pads to ensure your Chi won’t have to spend a second in an uncomfortable environment.
Invest in a Winter Wardrobe.
If you’re still on the fence about clothes for your Chihuahua, let’s set the record straight. Yes, dogs have hair, fur, or coats that keep them insulated and help deal with the weather. However, not all dogs have the same type of coat, and as we’ve mentioned – Chihuahuas come from a hot climate.
As a result, added layers of clothing are crucial to keep your Chihuahua healthy and warm. If you wouldn’t go outside without a winter jacket, neither would your pooch. Luckily, a canine wardrobe has come a long way, and you can easily find high-quality winter attire for your Chihuahua.
Buy Boots For Your Chihuahua.
By the same token, dog boots are a must for Chihuahuas in the winter. We’ll discuss the importance of paw care in general later, but for now – keeping your dog’s paws dry and warm is vital. However, you may run into a setback.
The truth is – some dogs hate wearing winter boots. It feels unnatural to them (remember, they don’t know it’s for their own good!), and, as a result – they will struggle to get used to wearing a pair of shoes. Once your Chi tries them on, you’ll quickly notice that it will be confused, unstable, and maybe even unable to walk.
This is perfectly normal and most dogs should get used to them quickly. Let your dog try wearing the boots a couple of times at home before you go on a real walk. As always, make sure to use a lot of positive reinforcement in the form of treats, pats, and loving language.
Keep in mind that there are a few things a quality pair of boots should have. First of all, they need to fit properly and cling to the legs without falling off. They should be warm and soft on the inside, with a sturdy bottom. The soles need to be textured to prevent slipping on ice.
Protect Your Chihuahua's Paws.
As we’ve mentioned, a dog’s paws, in particular, require special care during the winter (especially if your dog refuses to wear boots). Before anything else, paws tend to get cracked due to the cold, which can make them vulnerable to infections. As a result, we recommend investing in a nice moisturizer for your Chi’s health and comfort.
Next, streets are often covered with anti-icing salts and fluids that can irritate your dog. If you’ve gone on a walk with no boots, make sure to wash your Chi’s paws as soon as you get home to get all of the de-icing substances off. That being said, you should definitely take a look at this Portable Paw Cleaner.
Trim your dog’s paw pads regularly. Although it may seem counterintuitive, long-haired Chihuahuas can get ice on their fur, which makes matters much worse and can further hypothermia. Clean between the toes after every walk.
Try With a Heated Bed.
If your Chi’s regular dog bed doesn’t seem to be enough to keep the shivers away – you can always try a heated one. Don’t worry, they are completely safe and if all else fails, a heated dog bed provides great comfort to a freezing dog.
Even if your home is already warm enough, a heated bed may be a good idea. If your Chi has just gone on a walk and needs a place to warm up quickly, or after a bath when it's susceptible to the cold – the innovative bed is the perfect solution.
If a bed seems excessive for your situation, there are also heated pads. Senior dogs especially benefit from having a nice, warm place to nap during the winter.
Now that we’ve discussed the steps you can take to keep your Chi warm during the winter, let’s move on to general winter dog care. It’s important to adjust to your pup’s needs, so be mindful of its behavior. What works for your dog may not work for others and vice-versa.
With that in mind, the first piece of advice is to keep bathing your little fur baby regularly. Even if your dog doesn’t go out as often and, as a result, doesn’t get as dirty as it does in the summer, it still needs regular baths. Baths remove excess oils and keep your Chi’s coat healthy and beautiful.
Next, be mindful of the humidity levels in your home. The indoors tends to be too dry during the winter, which can cause health problems for your dog. Invest in a home humidifier, or find alternative ways to add moisture to your space.
On a similar note, it’s especially important to keep your Chi’s nose healthy. The dry, cold air can cause a cracked snout, which can be painful and even dangerous, as it makes your dog more vulnerable to infections. Find a nice nose butter or balm to maintain your pup’s snoot.
Winter comes with a lot of additional problems, no matter if you own an adorable Chihuahua or a goofy Retriever. We’ve gathered some more tips to make the chilly weather more bearable until sunny spring comes around.
- Antifreeze is poisonous to dogs. If you have antifreeze at home or use it regularly, make sure to keep it away from your Chi. Additionally, be mindful of what your dog sniffs on its walks since antifreeze can also be found on the streets.
- Do not let your dog walk on ice! No matter how safe it may seem, ice can crack and the water below can freeze your dog. Although it’s difficult for a Chihuahua to break a layer of ice, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
- Keep your dog’s bed away from windows and doors to avoid cold drafts.
- Don’t leave your pooch alone in a car.
- Raise the temperature in your home. Heat rises, and since Chihuahuas are so tiny and closer to the ground, it’s colder to them than it is to you.
- Feed your pooch more in the winter. Chihuahuas can require an additional treat or meal during the frosty season. However, be mindful you don’t overfeed it.
- Some dogs require even more special care. If your dog has health problems, if it’s elderly or just a puppy, there may be additional steps you need to take to make the cold bearable. When in doubt….
- Consult a vet. If you think your Chi has hypothermia, frostbite, or requires better care – don’t be afraid to talk to a vet. If you are a new proud Chihuahua owner, be sure to read our blog post about How To Choose The Right Vet for Your Chihuahua.
To sum up, winter can be a difficult time, both for dogs and their owners. This is especially true for Chihuahuas, who require special care due to their size, metabolism, coat, and breed background. Luckily, there are steps you can take to keep your Chi healthy and warm during the winter.
Limit your pup’s time outside, and when you do go for walks – make sure your dog is all bundled up. A variety of winter coats, sweaters, and boots will make the cold unnoticeable for your dog. Learn the signs that your little munchkin is freezing and take the necessary measures to warm it up.
Prevention is key during this frosty season. Keep your room temperature high, your dog’s bed warm and away from drafts, and its paws and nose moisturized. There’s no reason you can’t enjoy the beautiful season now that you’ve learned How to Take Care of Your Chihuahua in Winter!