Miriam and her husband are proud dog parents to a sweet Chiweenie, and they've learned a lot about how to keep him warm in winter.
California Winters and Backyard Chiweenies
Living in Southern California is not always about sunshine and great weather; we get our share of cold weather. Between the heat waves and chilly weather, it can be a challenge keeping our Chiweenie comfortable.
We got through summer with its 106˚F heat waves, and now we are suddenly faced with low temperatures that we are not accustomed to. The drastic change in temperature is uncomfortable, and your backyard Chiweenie will need your help to keep warm in the cooler months ahead.
Sensitive to the Cold
Shadow is our 11-year-old male Chiweenie. He has always lived outside in the backyard, but I often worry about him during the cold weather. Since Chihuahuas get cold easily, it makes sense that your Chiweenie will also be sensitive to the cold.
During the day, the temperature is pleasant enough: about 75˚F. But by the middle of the night, the temperature drops down to about 40˚F, and I know Shadow is probably shivering or burrowed in a hole in the backyard.
You would think he would sleep in the garage in the little bed I bought him, but the garage gets colder than it does outside!
Is Your Chiweenie Cold?
Chiweenie experts and owners agree: If you are cold, so is your Chiweenie. You can use this as a guide if you are female, but men tend to be warmer than us, so this "rule" may not work in your dog's favor if that is the case.
For instance, when I think Shadow is cold, I tell Jerry (my husband). He always says, "It's not hot, it feels good. It's cool." But I know better. I always have a hooded sweatshirt on when I go outside to see Shadow, and if I am still cold, then Shadow needs his sweater.
Temperature Gauge: Ear Folding
So, how do I know that Shadow is cold? If he is not shivering, I check his ears, and if they are cold, so is Shadow.
Shadow likes to fold his ears so the cold air does not get in them. He closes them by folding them over like an envelope; it reminds me of "origami". For all I know, all Chiweenie’s fold their ears like this! All I know is that when he starts folding his ears like this, he is cold.
Please Remember: Older dogs, disabled dogs, puppies, dogs with short fur, and specific breeds (Chihuahua, Dachshund, Greyhound, and so forth) have a tougher time retaining warmth than other dogs.
Please read the following tips so you can learn how to keep your Chiweenie warm this winter, yes, even in Southern California.
Keep Chiweenie Indoors for Longer Lifespan
Outdoor Chiweenies Have a Shorter Lifespan
Veterinarians and dog experts all agree: Dogs that live outdoors do not live as long as dogs that live indoors. This is because they must brave the elements of cold, wind, sun, and so forth. Plus, there are predators to worry about in mountainous areas, unforeseen dangers in the yard (thorns, holes in the yard) and who knows what else. Backyard living is not as easy as it seems.
Shadow Was Raised as a Backyard Dog
Although Shadow was raised an outdoor dog all his life (11 years), a few days ago I started bringing him indoors so he could sleep inside and avoid the icy-cold temperature he has been struggling with.
Here in Southern California, it is only fall, yet the air at night feels unusually cold and crisp. To me, it feels like mountain air. The newsman may say it is 60˚F, but to me, it feels more like 40!
My husband made a gate yesterday that blocks the kitchen off from the rest of the house. So, last night was his first time sleeping inside. He was an angel. He did not bark or make a mess.
After I picked up my daughter from work, we went out to the backyard and called Shadow. He came trotting up from out in the yard somewhere, shivering really hard!
Shadow Now Sleeps Indoors at Night
I felt bad seeing him shake hard like that, so I brought his old bed that usually sits on the mat next to the back door. I placed his bed under the table, near my chair by my computer; this is where I usually sit.
Right after I let him in the house, he started wagging his tail, and then he found his bed, curled up in a ball, and went right to sleep. He is so cute.
My Best Advice for Keeping Chiweenies Warm
If you can, bring your Chiweenie in the house when it is too cold for him/her. But if you are unable to bring him/her inside, then be sure to find warm bedding to help your pet stay warm through the cold winter nights.
Please do not leave your dog outside for the night if he/she is shivering. Bring your Chiweenie inside for a little while. Let him/her warm up, and then put a sweater and some little boots on him/her before putting him/her outside again.
More Ideas for Warmer Winters
You can use old clothes, towels, and blankets to make your Chiweenie's bed softer and warmer. Plus, Chiweenies like to burrow in piles of bedding. Here are some tips you may want to try.
- Warm bedding made from old clothes is ideal; plus, your pet will love them because your scent is on them. Please remember: Wash bedding once a week to keep it clean and fresh.
- Buy or make a jacket for your dog. Use dog clothes such as sweaters, boots, coats, and hoodies unless your dog refuses to wear them or keeps taking them off . .
- Be sure that your dog always has clean, unfrozen water available. Heated bowls can be purchased for outside dogs that live in snowy regions.
- Bathe your dog indoors during cold weather! If you can't bathe your Chiweenie inside, then maybe you should wait for a warm day. Do not bathe your pet outside in cold weather; it is just mean.
- No haircuts in the winter. Your dog needs all the fur he can get during these cold months. Long fur helps insulate your pet by holding the heat in and works the same as wearing a sweater or jacket.
Tips for Selecting Your Dog's Sweater
If you have never shopped for a dog sweater, you may need help selecting one that fits properly. Before you purchase or make your dog a sweater, you should take the following measurements using a cloth measuring tape; and then bring this info with you:
- The dog's width: Measure the widest area, usually around the rib cage.
- His/her length: Do this by measuring from the back of your dog's neck to the end of his back/rear end.
- Neck measurement: Start the neck measurement at the base of your dog's neck, then wrap it around lightly to where the tape meets.
- Weight: Normal weight for Chiweenies is between 8–20 pounds (lbs.) depending on the type you have (some only reach 10 lbs., while others can reach about 20 and not be fat).
Remember: Chiweenies and Dachshunds have longer bodies than other dogs. If you get a standard dog sweater, it may fit poorly and be uncomfortable.
Shadow's Ill-Fitting Sweater
Please Take This Chiweenie Poll
© 2014 Miriam Parker
Michele on November 11, 2019:
Reading this made me so sad for your Chiweenie.
Ramona Meischner on October 13, 2019:
Comment is this if you have to leave your pet outside and not make it a family member you do not deserve it. Those fur babies need love companionship and affection! They are not to be left outside like a piece of lawn furniture. For those of you that said that you leave here chiweenies and Chihuahuas outdoors in the cold weather they should be taken away from you. I have four dogs and two cats and I'll live inside plus a Chiweenie long haired chihuahua chihuahua terrier mix and a chow chow shepherd. None of them live outside away from me if they have to be outside they would not be here. I didn't put my kids outside to raise them! These comments are absolutely ludicrous
Dahian Santiago on February 20, 2019:
If it were true that small dogs that chiweenies can't be left outside my chihuahua wouldn't have have lived 18 years
1. Don’t Trim Their Coats
2. Protect Outdoor Animals
If you have an outdoor animal, it’s critical to protect them during cold weather. Here are some tips:
- Provide Shelter. Outdoor pets need shelter to keep them out of the wind, snow, and rain. While this shelter can come in many different shapes and sizes, the essential aspects are that the shelter has a roof and at least three walls to keep the elements out. The shelter should also include some insulation, in the form of straw, blankets, or hay.
- Offer Ample Food and Water. Digestion keeps pets warm. With this in mind, be sure to offer plenty of food and water. Since water freezes during the cold weather, consider adding a heater to keep it warm and ice-free. Check food often to ensure your outdoor pet always has enough.
- Bring Pets in During Extremely Cold Weather. If the weather gets frigid, bring your pets in. Pets can quickly freeze to death or suffer frostbite during chilly weather, so it’s essential to protect them when the weather dips.
If you’re shopping for pet shelters, remember that you can buy heated shelters, water bowls, and other items online. Just pick one that is large enough to provide ample space for your pets and will stand up to the severity of your environment.
3. Bundle Them Up
4. Keep Toxic Items Away From Pets
5. Provide Some Extra Traction
How to Keep Your Pets Warm
If you’re wondering how to keep your pets warm, the good news is that there are many simple places to start. While the exact approach you take will depend on whether you have indoor or outdoor animals, and what type of pets you keep, it’s still essential to pay close attention to them and ensure, at all times, that they’re well-equipped for the rigors of the outdoor world. As the winter progresses, be sure to check in frequently on your pet. If you notice that your animal is cold or seems to need additional assistance to stay warm, be sure to provide it. Pets need simple things, like food, water, and shelter in ample amounts during the winter.
If you need more help figuring out how to care for your pets during the winter, don’t hesitate to contact your local veterinary office or the humane society in your area. If you’re moving this winter, Move it Cube it can also help you take the steps you need to get into your new home.
Cold Weather Tips for Dog Owners
Even if your dog has a thick, heavy coat, they might still feel chilly in the winter. Pets are just as likely to get frostbite (frozen skin and tissue) and hypothermia (low body temperature) as their owners.
But it’s easy to protect your pooch from the cold. Many of the same safety measures you take for yourself will keep your best friend safe and warm.
Limit time outdoors. No dog -- not even the toughest Arctic sled dog -- is meant to spend huge amounts of time outside in the winter. A thick coat doesn't protect all body parts.
"Their ears are exposed, their paws are in direct contact with cold cement, their nose is sticking out there in the wind," says K.C. Theisen, director of pet care issues at the Humane Society of the United States. "Never leave dogs outside unattended for any length of time. Only take them outside if they're going to be active and exercise." Even then, you may need to shorten a walk if it’s really cold.
Dress them warmly. Small dogs and those with short hair need extra help when there’s a chill in the air. Puppies and older canines also may find it hard to control their body heat.
"A sweater or coat can be a really nice addition that makes the pet more comfortable," Theisen says. But leave their head bare. "If it's so cold that you think you should cover their head, you probably shouldn't go outdoors."
To keep your pal's coat healthy during the winter, bump up the protein and fat in their diet.
Wipe down their paws. Ice, snow, salt, and toxic chemicals like antifreeze and de-icers can build up on your dog’s feet. If they lick them, they could swallow the poisons. Antifreeze, in particular, tastes sweet but can be deadly.
Make sure you wipe their paws down with a towel every time they come inside, Theisen says. Also, check their pads regularly for injuries. Ice and snow can cause painful cracks and bleeding. Trim the hair between their toes to prevent ice buildup.
Don't leave them alone in the car. You know not to leave your dog in a vehicle when it's hot. The same goes for cold weather. "It really is a bad idea," Theisen says. "People [often] don't think about how fast cars can cool down in winter. Even if it's not a direct health risk for pets, they're likely to be uncomfortable."
Pet-proof your house. Keep an eye out for winter dangers inside your home, like space heaters. Dogs can burn themselves or even tip them over and start a fire. Heated pet mats could burn your pal’s skin. A dog bed or blankets should keep them plenty warm.
If you top off your car’s antifreeze inside the garage, clean up any spills quickly, and store the container in a safe place. Products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol are safer.
Know the warning signs. Be on the lookout for symptoms of frostbite and hypothermia, and know when to call your vet.
Get your pet inside right away if they:
- Whines or acts anxious
- Can’t stop shivering or seems weak
- Has ice on their body
- Stops moving or slows down
- Looks for warm places to burrow
These can be signs of hypothermia. Once they are out of the cold, wrap them in blankets and call the vet for more instructions.
Frostbite symptoms can take longer to show up. Check your dog every day for any unusual changes like painful or pale areas, says Barry Kellogg, VMD, of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association.
Protect against the elements. If you have no choice but to leave your dog outside for a time, make sure they have a dry, roomy shelter out of the wind. The floor should be raised several inches off the ground and sprinkled with cedar shavings or straw. Keep the doorway covered with waterproof plastic or canvas. Give them plenty of food, and check as often as you can to make sure their water doesn’t freeze over.
University of Maryland Medical Center: "Frostbite."
K.C. Theisen, director of pet care issues, The Humane Society of the United States.
CDC: "Emergency Preparedness and Response, Hypothermia."
Humane Society of Utah: "Cold Weather Care For Dogs.
American Veterinary Medical Association: "Cold Weather Pet Safety."
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: "Cold Weather Tips," "Pet Care: Living with Small Dogs."
The Humane Society of the United States: "Protect Your Pet During Winter and Cold Weather."
University of Florida Small Animal Hospital, College of Veterinary Medicine: "Winter tips for pet owners."
Ventura County Health Care Agency: "Cold Weather Precautions for Pets."
Barry Kellogg, VMD, Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association.
Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: "When the temperature drops, extra care is needed."
How to Keep Your Chiweenie Warm in Winter - pets
Keeping Your Pets Warm and Toasty in the Winter
Written by: Jane Williams
Summer’s officially over, though the good news is that you can look forward to warm toasty days indoors in the company of your much loved dog or cat. As noted in Dogs Life, in past decades, pets used to have separate living spaces from humans. Today, however, our homes may be smaller, but we still wish to have our pets close by, so we can receive their love but also give them the care they deserve. Although you can still enjoy walks and daily exercise outdoors (except on very cold days), it is important to take a few steps to ensure our dogs are comfortable indoors, even during the coldest days. Follow these tips and keep your pet safe and sound all winter.
Keeping Home Interiors Warm
Set your thermostat at between 69 and 72 degrees in the winter. If your dog or cat is large and has a very thick coat, opt for the lower of the two figures, raising it slightly for older or short-coated pets. During the day, open curtains so that your dog or cat can bask in the sun. The above is only a general guide. In the end, the temperature may need to vary depending on your dog’s breed. For instance, brachycephalic dogs suffer more in the heat, while dogs with fine or very short fur may benefit from extra warmth.
Portable Heating for Walks and Visits
If the weather drops to 40ºF, it could be too cold for a pet, but even at 30ºF, you should exercise caution. Sweaters and booties can help keep your dog warm, but as a general rule, if it is too cold for you outside, it is also too cold for your dog. If you are going for a walk and visiting a shop, restaurant, or friend’s home with your dog or cat, pack a portable heating unit in your backpack. These heaters are lighter and battery-operated, and they can help you control the temperature more, even if you are away from home.
Comfy Bedding for a Cozy Sleep
Bedding should change in the winter and summer. Lighter, finer beds work well when temperatures are high but in the winter, beds should ideally be made of thick memory foam to provide support, especially for older pets with joint conditions such as osteoarthritis. Many dogs and cats love burrowing under blankets. For them, an igloo bed or a soft down blanket will keep help them feel warm and secure. A heat pad is great for the coldest of days.
Your pet may need a few extra calories to keep warm in the winter so speak to your vet about this and other possible antidotes to the cold. By providing thicker bedding and extra heat, you will help Fido or Kitty love the indoors as much as the rest of your family. Finally, remember to pack winter essentials when heading outside to visit friends and family with your four-pawed friend.