Do Short Haired Chihuahuas Need Sweaters?

by Genevieve Van Wyden, Demand Media
    A Chihuahua without a sweater can't retain his body heat in cool climates.

    A Chihuahua without a sweater can't retain his body heat in cool climates.

    While a doggy sweater may seen to be no more than a cute fashion statement for some dogs, for your tiny Chihuahua a sweater is a necessity. Think of the times you’ve taken him outdoors during cold, wet weather. He came in shivering.

    Chihuahuas and Cold Weather

    Your furry little canine isn’t very furry at all. A short-haired Chihuahua has a very thin coat. In cold weather, it's completely inadequate insulation for his tiny body. Your Chihuahua is inherently unequipped to handle temperatures much below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in a cold climate, he needs protection. Curling up against your leg or huddling in his dog bed won’t be sufficient, because he’s still losing body heat, especially if you keep the indoor temperature of your home on the cooler side.
    Go ahead and buy that little sweater, and don’t let the comments of friends and relatives stop you from protecting your Chi-pup. Get his measurements first, so you know you’re buying a sweater that will be comfortable for him to wear.

    Thin Fur Coat

    Your Chihuahua is genetically designed to thrive in hotter climates. Look at his thin coat -- it’s ideal for the dry desert heat of the southwestern U.S. If you live in a colder climate, your Chihuahua doesn’t know there are better places. All he knows is that he’s cold, shivering, and unable to change that.
    You aren’t pampering him when you buy him a doggy sweater. Instead, you’re increasing his feeling of well-being and comfort to the level anyone would want. You don't need to limit his wearing of sweaters to when he goes outside. He can also wear them indoors, be warm, and make quite the fashion statement.

    Sweaters Provide Protection

    Many large, double-coated dogs hardly feel the effects of cold at all, even when it’s below freezing outside. For your Chihuahua, with no body mass to hold heat and no insulation, a well-made sweater is a necessity. It makes up for his lack of the protections that are the natural endowment of his northern-bred cousins.

    Dangers of Cold

    Because he doesn’t have much fur or even much fat covering his body, your little buddy is at risk of getting chilled or frostbitten in cold, windy and snowy months. The tips of his ears, his toes, and the tip of his tail are particularly vulnerable to frostbite, especially when the wind chill factor is severe. Layer his clothing. Put a dog coat over your pal's sweater when he needs to go outside. Bring him right back in and remove the coat, but leave the sweater on. If it's wet, dry your Chihuahua with a towel warmed in the dryer, then put a dry sweater on him so he can bring his body temperature back to a comfortable and safe level.

    About the Author

    Genevieve Van Wyden began writing in 2007. She has written for “Tu Revista Latina” and owns three blogs. She has worked as a CPS social worker, gaining experience in the mental-health system. Van Wyden earned her Bachelor of Arts in journalism from New Mexico State University in 2006.

    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images