Your toy breed’s body can quickly lose heat when the temperature drops. They are prone to get colds, frostbite, and hypothermia. Similarly, they also get affected when the temperature rises. They develop breathing problems and struggle to stay cool.
Can Shih Tzu Tolerate Cold?
Shih Tzu can get cold in winter. Brachycephalic breeds are naturally sensitive to lower temperatures. Their bodies suffer a quick heat loss. Due to their elongated soft palate, they have breathing issues.
Keep in mind that your pet is sensitive to cold in winter. They can be dehydrated and suffer hypothermia in dangerously low-temperature environments. Take special care of them during this season.
How Cold Is Too Cold for a Shih Tzu?
Be extra careful, especially if the cold climate is combined with wet weather. If the temperature drops to around 40 degrees F (4 degrees C), it is too cold for your Shih Tzu. You do not want your fur buddy getting wet in temps like this.
Can Shih Tzu Go Out in the Snow?
Your Shih Tzu tolerates cold weather fairly. It doesn’t mean they can’t go outside in winter. Even if the temperatures drop to around 45 degrees F (7 degrees C), your canine can tolerate it as long as it’s sunny and dry.
Do Shih Tzu Get Cold Easily?
Shih Tzu get cold quickly, especially in wet weather and winter nights. Since their bodies’ heat drops quickly, take precautions to keep them warm.
How to Keep Shih Tzu Warm?
Here are suggestions to ensure your Shih Tzu stays warm when temperatures start to drop.
Bring Your Dog for a Winter Health Check.
Bring your pet to the vet for a checkup when the weather gets colder. The vet will rule out anything that could affect how your Shih Tzu would handle the cold.
If you have a puppy or a senior dog, they are more prone to difficulties in the cold weather. The season can make them sick or exacerbate an existing medical condition. A visit to the vet will help you cope in the coming months.
Upgrade Their Bedding.
In the cold months, temperatures tend to drop lower at night. Move your Shih Tzu’s bed to a warmer area inside your home. Adding blankets can also add to the warmth. If you can, raise their beds so they can avoid the cold floor.
Decide Whether to Go Out or Not.
If you think it’s too cold outside, plan your exercises indoors. Your Shih Tzu can spend their energy indoors. Find creative ways to enjoy movement without the risk of being cold outside. Constantly keep their fitness level and weight in check.
For your pup’s toileting needs, you can use puppy pads. They may have used it as a puppy, but it will work just as well with adult dogs.
Adjust Their Diet Accordingly.
Don’t Give Them Cold Water.
Cold water can make your Shih Tzu sick. It can worsen existing symptoms and even cause a sore throat. Water from the tap or left in the bowl can become cold in the winter. Ensure that their drinking water isn’t freezing over. Leave it in a warm area in the house.
Have Your Shih Tzu Wear Winter Garments and Accessories.
Shih Tzu accessories and clothing lines may seem to be just a gimmick. But they are essential in keeping your pup warm in the cold season. The winter jacket is beneficial when going out for winter walks.
Protect your Shih Tzu’s paws with winter boots. Always check their paws for cracks and wounds if they don’t wear one. Paw cracks are common in cold weather. It can become excruciatingly painful and can even initiate frostbite!
Always Keep Their Nails Trimmed.
If your Shih Tzu does not have winter boots, keep their nails short in winter. Long nails and claws do not have traction on ice and snow. They may cause skidding and slipping, which can lead to serious injury.
Consider a Collar and Chip When Going Out.
Losing your pup any time of the year is distressing. If it’s not that cold and you go for a walk, remember that winter is a difficult time for dogs to get lost. Always put your Shih Tzu’s collar and chip on so they can be easily identified and returned to you when they get lost.
Never Let Them Eat Snow.
If it’s the first time your Shih Tzu is seeing snow, it will get excited. They will probably want to explore and have a lick. However, it would be best if you did not let them. There might be something on it that could make them ill.
Avoid Using Salt or Chemicals Outside.
Refrain from putting street salt and antifreeze chemicals on your walkway. If your Shih Tzu walks on it with their bare paws or licks it, it can be painful for them.
Ensure That They Don’t Get Wet.
During winter, being cold and damp is one of the most significant blows to your Shih Tzu’s health. The combination of these two can lead to hypothermia or colds.
Should you decide to go out, dry them with a towel or blower upon returning inside. Check their paws and fur for stuck snow. These become cold water, which can make them damp and cold later.
Never Leave Them in Your Car.
Never leave your pup in your car, no matter how quick your errand is. Cars become a lethal element in extreme temperatures. Staying in an extremely hot or cold vehicle can cause death.
Can Shih Tzu Handle Hot Weather?
Unlike humans, dogs don’t sweat all over to cool themselves. They mostly expel heat through panting. The hotter it is, the more your canine needs to pant. Having the ability to do so effectively is crucial to avoid overheating.
Brachycephalic breeds have a compressed skull and short snout. Their internal breathing passages are denser than with other breeds. Belonging to this group, your Shih Tzu finds it challenging to take deep or quick breaths.
Furthermore, most Shih Tzu has stenotic nares or pinched nostrils. It prevents them from taking long and deep inhalations. Hence, it makes it difficult for them to pant effectively and cool off.
Some Shih Tzu even have an elongated soft palate. This gives them another breathing issue. It involves an extra tissue at the back of the throat that becomes inflamed in hot weather. The presence of this also interferes with cooling off.
What Temperature Is Too Hot for a Shih Tzu?
Avoid bringing your Shih Tzu outside when temperatures rise over 103 degrees F (39 degrees C). They will not be able to sustain extreme heat even for a few minutes.
How Do You Keep a Shih Tzu Cool?
On a hot and humid day, do your best to keep your Shih Tzu cool and comfortable. Read the following tips:
Ensure That Your Shih Tzu Is Hydrated.
Your Shih Tzu will naturally drink when they are thirsty. The amount of water they will consume will be insufficient on hot days. Encourage them to drink once in a while throughout the day.
Bring water to hydrate your pup during your walks. Clean their water bowl once a day and refill it often. You may also offer water-rich fruits like strawberries and blueberries.
Adjust Your Dog’s Exercise.
Just as in winter, opt for indoor games in the summer when temperatures are dangerously high. Do not push your pet too hard to avoid the risk of overheating.
Protect Their Paws.
Paw pad burns are one of the top dog injuries in summer. Prevent it by testing the ground before having your Shih Tzu walk on it. Walking before 10 in the morning and after 5 in the afternoon will also help.
Choose grassy and shady routes for walking. Also, using paw wax is beneficial. Paw wax adds a layer of protection against heat. It prevents dryness and can also deter irritants such as pollen and chemicals.
Cooling Pads Can Help.
Your Shih Tzu will surely appreciate cooling pads. These are small mats that serve as ice packs for your pet. It gives them a refreshing and cooling respite from the heat.
There are portable cooling pads that are self-activating. You don’t need to worry about cords and plugs. Put it on your porch or patio, inside your Shih Tzu’s bed or stroller, or in the car.
Consider a Short Coat Trim.
Just as humans get ready for the summer by cutting their hair short, your Shih Tzu can also feel cool and light with a trim. Depending on the season, you may vary its coat length and type of cut.
Style your pet’s coat longer in the winter and shorter in the summer. Be wary that the risk of sunburn increases if your pet sports a shorter cut.
Use Canine Sunscreen.
If your Shih Tzu has a light and short coat, consider using FDA-approved pet sunscreen. It shields them from excessive UV rays that can cause sunburn and increase the risk of skin cancers and diseases.
Pet sunscreens are also strongly recommended if your pup has a history of sunburn, is fond of lying belly-up, or if they spend a lot of time near the water. Water reflects the sun’s rays onto your pet’s belly and underside.
Rearrange Your Dog’s Favorite Furniture at Home.
Observe your pet’s favorite hangout spaces at home. Ensure that glaring sunlight is not pointing directly into these areas.
Be Aware of the Signs of Heat Stress.
The average temperature of a dog’s body is between 101 and 102.5 degrees F (38.3 to 39.2 degrees C). Heat stress sets in when their temperature goes up to 103 degrees F (39.4 degrees C).
It is considered a heat stroke if your Shih Tzu’s body temperature goes up to 106 degrees F (41 degrees C). It can be life-threatening. Before this happens, you need to intervene to aid your canine companion in cooling down.
Symptoms to watch out for are as follows: Rapid panting, bright red tongue or pale gums, thick and sticky saliva, depression, weakness, dizziness, vomiting, and diarrhea. If heat stroke is not treated, it can lead to shock, coma, and eventual death.
Help your furry friend to cool down before transporting it to the veterinarian. Do this by soaking towels with cool water and gently laying the towels all over your pet’s body. Facilitate slow but steady water intake. Use a fan to spread and circulate the air around your dog. Keep track of its temperature by rectal measurements.
Once its temperature reaches below 103 degrees F (39 degrees C), bring your Shih Tzu to the vet or the nearest animal hospital.
Why Does My Shih Tzu Like the Sun So Much?
All dogs love lying under the sun because it feels good. Like humans, your Shih Tzu likes sunbathing because it improves their mood. The activity helps them to relax. It is one of the things both humans and their fur babies enjoy in summer.