Are Shih Tzus cold weather dogs? This is a question that many Shih Tzu owners have asked themselves at one time or another. Shih Tzus are not cold weather dogs by nature. They are not meant to live outside. Shih Tzus are bred to live inside and are even considered lap dogs.
They are a small breed dog and that can make it tough to keep warm in cold weather but with the right preparation, they can be made to feel comfortable in colder climates.
Why are Shih Tzus Generally Not Cold Weather Dogs?
Shih Tzu are small dogs, and they have very little body fat. This means that they are not well-equipped to deal with cold weather and can easily become chilled. Shih Tzus also have long fur, which ironically does not provide much insulation against the cold.
In addition, Shih Tzus are bred for companionship, and they do not have the same instinct to seek out shelter from the cold that other breeds have.
For these reasons, Shih Tzus are generally not considered to be cold weather dogs.
What Temperature is Too Cold for a Shih Tzu?
The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, including your Shih Tzu’s coat type, body fat percentage, and activity level. If your Shih Tzu has a thick, double coat, he may be able to tolerate cooler temperatures than a Shih Tzu with a single coat.
Similarly, a Shih Tzu with a higher body fat percentage will be able to tolerate cooler temperatures than a Shih Tzu who is leaner. A Shih Tzu who is active and playful may be able to tolerate cooler temperatures than a Shih Tzu who is more sedentary.
That being said, as a general rule of thumb, the temperature should be above freezing before taking your Shih Tzu outside for extended periods of time. Anything 40 degrees Fahrenheit and below is too cold to be outside too long.
How Long Can Shih Tzus Stay Outside in Cold Weather?
Even though Shih Tzus are not considered cold weather dogs, that does not mean that you can’t take them out in the winter. With temperatures above freezing (40 degrees Fahrenheit and above) on a sunny day, your Shih Tzu would do fine being outside for a short walk.
Anything below that, make it really quick and bundle up your Shih Tzu in sweater or jacket.
How Do I Know if My Shih Tzu is Too Cold?
Once the temperature begins to fall there are a few signs that you can look for to determine if your Shih Tzu is too cold:
- Does not want to go outside
- Is Shivering
- Lifts paws off the ground when walking outside
- Starts barking or whimpering
- Seeks shelter
- Seems anxious or uncomfortable
- Pulls at blankets or burrows in bed
- Pinched tail
- Tense muscles
If you notice your Shih Tzu experiencing any of these symptoms, get them warmed up as soon as possible.
Do Shih Tzus Need Sweaters in Winter?
If your Shih Tzu has a thick coat, he may not need a sweater in winter. However, if your Shih Tzu has a thin coat or is not overly active, he will likely benefit from wearing a sweater in colder weather.
In addition, if you live in an area with very cold winters, it is a good idea to invest in a sweater or coat for your Shih Tzu, even if he has a thick coat. This will help to keep him warm and comfortable when the temperature drops.
Should I Cut My Shih Tzus Hair in the Winter?
It is generally not necessary to cut your Shih Tzu’s hair short in the winter. In fact, doing so may actually make it more difficult for your Shih Tzu to stay warm in cold weather.
However, keep coats a reasonable length in winter, but not too long. You should get trims to avoid matting and be sure to brush daily. If taking your Shih Tzu to the groomer, you can request a winter cut.
Can Shih Tzus Get Sick from Cold Weather?
Yes, Shih Tzus can get sick from cold weather. In fact, Shih Tzus are susceptible to a number of health problems that can be made worse by exposure to cold weather. These health problems include pneumonia, hypothermia, and frostbite.
For this reason, it is important to take precautions to keep your Shih Tzu warm and safe in cold weather.
Signs that your Shih Tzu may have a cold:
- Runny or Congested nose
- Watery eyes
While these symptoms could be the result of a cold or virus, it could also be symptoms of more serious conditions like kennel cough, influenza or bronchitis.
If your Shih Tzu is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is always best to contact your veterinarian. It is always better to be safe and error on the side of caution when it comes to our beloved pets.
Overall, Shih Tzus are not considered cold weather dogs, but they can tolerate cold weather better than some other dog breeds. However, keep in mind factors mentioned that will affect how well a Shih Tzu tolerates the cold, including coat type, body fat percentage, and activity level.
If you are concerned about your Shih Tzu being too cold in winter weather, you can take steps to protect him, such as investing in a sweater or coat and keeping him inside as much as possible when the temperature drops.
You should also be aware of the signs that your Shih Tzu is too cold and take action if necessary.
If the weather is too cold for you then it’s too cold for your Shih Tzu.
So, bundle up when your outside and snuggle up with your Shih Tzu when your inside to keep him warm, happy, and healthy all winter long.