Are Chihuahuas Indoor Pets?
It’s hard to believe we ever lived in a time where it was weird or abnormal to have a pet dog inside your home. Many people have kept dogs for centuries, but they started as working animals that stayed outside. As we have started letting pups into our homes, it’s become obvious that some breeds prefer to spend a lot of time outdoors, and some dogs…simply don’t. Chihuahuas are definitely one of those breeds! Should we keep them indoors altogether though?
Are Dogs Indoor or Outdoor Pets?
Gone are the days where we have dog houses in the backyard meant to be the primary dwelling for our pooch. Despite their burliness or furriness, we now know all dogs should be brought into the home at some point. Aside from changing seasons and weather conditions, our canine companions crave our affection and attention. Any time spent away from you is spent eagerly awaiting your return. Of course, many dogs love to run, hike, or swim with you, and it’s great for their health! However, having your dog live in your home as part of the family is likely to prolong their life.
That being said, is there such thing as a strictly indoor dog? There are many indoor pets, but generally dogs aren’t thought to be in that category. It’s true, many breeds prefer to stay inside where it’s warm and cozy, with the comfort of their owners. However, all dogs do need minimal outdoor time for exercise and fresh air. They may not like it, but they do need it. At least in small doses.
Your pups’ individual preferences will decide how much time they spend outdoors in the end. Usually, it also comes down to their breed. Chihuahuas for instance, are one of many breeds that really could care less to go outside. In fact, they’re happy to stay indoors as long as you let them.
Now that we know there is really no such thing as a true “indoor dog,” it’s safe to say that there are many dogs who wish they were – chihuahuas included. If you have a little ChiChi, you already know how skittish and picky they can be. How many times have you had to beg and plead for them to go outside to do their business? It’s a little more than just being fussy though. There are a few reasons why Chihuahua’s are better suited to spend most of their time inside.
For a little Chihuahua, the world can be a big, scary place. Their size alone makes them at risk of encountering predators or being harmed by the elements. Plus, they're well-known for being very sensitive to both hot and cold temperatures. It’s important to look out for some of the following hazards when your tiny pup spends any time outdoors.
Being one of the smallest toy breeds, chihuahua’s must be monitored closely when they spend any time outdoors. They are fast and sneaky little pups that can fit through small holes in the fence and run away, or get stuck in places they shouldn’t be. Plus, being so tiny it’s even more imperative they don’t come in contact with dangerous plants or other toxins. Even small traces could cause a critical situation!
Other animals are always an important thing to keep in mind when spending time with your chi outside. Chi’s should never be left unattended in a yard or large open space. It can take mere seconds for your pup to become another animals’ dinner. Whether you live in the country or the city, there are plenty of predators that could bring harm to your best friend. Keep an eye out for birds of prey such as hawks or owls, but also coyotes or other neighboring dogs.
Chihuahua’s are well-known for having trouble regulating their body temperature. If you have one of these pups, I’m sure you’ve watched them get the shivers, even when it doesn’t seem that cold to us. These little guys usually don’t grow to be more than 10-inches tall, at most! Being that close to the ground makes them prone to getting cold easily. If you live in a climate that experiences very cold temperatures, you will definitely need to invest in some sweaters for your pup. You likely have to adapt to their potty habits on some of the worst days.
If it’s not very cold where you live, you should still be cautious to let your chi spend too much time outdoors. Even though they are much better suited to warm weather, balance is key. Since the breed is so small, they are more prone to heatstroke or sunburn. If it’s an extremely hot day, it’s best to keep visits outdoors quick and limited. When you do spend time with your chi outside on a more tolerable, warm day, be sure they have fresh cold water and a shady place to lay down. If you can, providing a cooling mat could help them regulate their temperature.
Keep Your Chihuahua Safe, Healthy and Happy!
- HEALTHY INDOOR HABITS
As any parent can attest, sometimes you have to pick your battles and let them have their way. Chi’s are known for putting up a protest to go outside in less than satisfying weather. If it’s dreary outside, cut your little one some slack and make them comfy indoors. Many families have chihuahua members and have done very well to keep them happy, healthy, and safe, even with limited time spent outdoors. We have some tips to help your pup feel comfy in your home while making sure they stay active.
Although you may be deciding to keep your Chihuahua inside to keep them warm, it might not be quite enough. Toy breeds are known for having a hard time staying warm, chihuahua’s especially. Putting a little sweater or coat on your pup might be just what they need to shake a chill. Plus, there are many cute clothing options for mini pups!
- Heated Beds
Another way to provide your Chihuahua with some extra warmth is with a high quality dog bed. Beds come in a variety of sizes and styles, but be sure to pick one that suits your pup. For instance, if they’re prone to accidents a waterproof bed may also be key. Either way, your little pooch will thank you on those chilly nights!
- Potty Options
This is usually the area where many Chihuahua owners struggle when the weather is not so pleasant. Chi’s are picky pottier’s, so you will most definitely need to provide options for inside. The go-to is generally pee pads for most people, however many owners have managed to litter trained their pups. If you're curios how you can potty train your Chi, you can read our detailed blog post HERE.
- Toys and Playtime
The most important thing about having your pup spend most of their time indoors is ensuring they stay active! This cannot be stressed enough and is the number one reason that chi’s are not strictly indoor dogs. When you can’t get them outside due to weather, or their temperament, you must keep them entertained. Being such a small breed, it can be very easy for them to become overweight, which ultimately shortens their expected lifespan.
Keep your little munchkin active and healthy by offering them lots of options. Provide plenty of toys, with a variety of feelings and ways to interact. Of course, the thing they love most is you. Spending time with your pup playing and teaching them will keep them motivated. Like most dogs, they live to please you, and training is a fantastic way to keep your pooch engaged.
- SAFE OUTDOOR PLAY
When the weather is perfect and your Chihuahua is prepared to go on an adventure, there are a couple of things you can do to ensure their safety and happiness.
Although they can be timid little creatures, chihuahua’s love to socialize. Setting up playdates with other owners with small breeds is a great way to expose them to other dogs safely. Of course, size isn’t always a restriction, as many chi’s can safely play with dogs larger than them. However, closely monitored playdates are a safer way to approach play, rather than entering a dog park full of strange pups. This is also great because it allows the owners to have control over the environment.
- Restrict Area
Having a designated area in your yard is a great way to ensure that your dog stays safe while outside. Some owners may choose to have a gated kennel or separate area of the yard, while some that live in apartments may utilize balcony space. Limiting the space available to your Chihuahua will allow them the freedom to meander outside without worry of the threats we mentioned earlier.
Best of Both Worlds
Chihuahua's are one of those breeds that could almost be considered an “indoor dog.” However, as much as they may protest a pee on a rainy day, it is good for your Chihuahua to get outdoors sometimes. All dogs benefit from feeling the grass between their paws, the Sun on their face, and the wind blowing through their fur. We know petite pups need to be a little more careful and live predominantly inside, but in the end, will live a happier and healthier life with a little time spent in nature.