If you have a larger dog or one with a thick coat, you typically don’t have to worry about them in colder weather. In fact, many dogs with thick or double coats enjoy cold weather and will frolic in the snow or rain before coming inside and covering your house in mud. If you have a smaller dog, like a Dachshund, you may have noticed that they’re reluctant to go outside in cold or wet weather. Your Dachshund may even shiver and shake if your home is chillier than they like or may burrow deep under blankets and refuse to come out. But why do they do this when other dogs don’t? What is it that’s special about Dachshunds? Read on to find out!
The Root of the Behavior
Most dogs are born with a coat that protects them from all types of weather. Their fur keeps them warm in colder months and helps ventilate heat in warmer months. However, some breeds of dog have thin fur that doesn’t work well as an insulator, especially as dogs have been more domesticated. While Dachshunds may have once been able to deal with cold, wet weather conditions, their short, thin fur doesn’t provide them a lot of protection. Even long-haired Dachshunds don’t have great insulation; the hair is long, but not thick or layered, and their closeness to the ground means that they’re a lot more likely to have to deal with the cold and dampness. Dachshunds can also be prone to medical conditions that make them more sensitive to cold, like diabetes or kidney problems. And because Dachshunds are a long-lived breed, it becomes more likely that they’ll have trouble controlling their temperature the older they get.
As the owner of a Dachshund, you also have to worry about “wet-belly syndrome.” This is where your dog refuses to go outside in damp weather because they suffer perpetually damp tummies and paws and will try to avoid water at all costs. If you’re not careful with your dog, their consistently wet belly and/or paws can cause issues like hypothermia or even frostbite if you live in cold conditions! While your Dachshund’s low frame was ideal for their original purpose as a hunting dog, it means you have to take extra care with your pet, as their thin hair and proximity to the ground means that they can get cold faster and find it more difficult to warm up again once they are cold. It’s important to pay attention to the signals your pooch is giving you and recognize if they need to be warmed up or dried off!
Encouraging the Behavior
You definitely don’t want to encourage your Dachshund to get cold. However, Dachshunds are prone to issues with obesity, so you do want to be sure they get the exercise they need to keep them lean and fit, as obesity can cause problems with their long backs, like slipped discs or nerve damage that could keep your puppy from walking at all. One of the best things you can do for your pet is to continuously check in on them and make sure to pay attention to their behavior. If you notice they’re constantly balking at going outside, sitting in front of your heater or fireplace, or covering themselves completely in blankets, you may want to consider investing in a sweater or other clothing for them.
While dog clothing can be controversial, breeds like Dachshunds and other thin-haired, small dogs can really benefit from an extra layer of warmth, especially in the cold months. Protective outerwear also helps when you are taking your dog for a walk as keeping them safe from rain, wind, snow, or damp, muddy conditions can ensure that your dog does not have issues with hypothermia. It is very easy for a Dachshund to get too chilled, which can lead to other health complications, so it is important to keep your pup warm.
Other Solutions and Considerations
If you notice that your dog still shivers or acts cold despite the precautions you’ve taken, you may want to take them to the vet for a general checkup. It’s possible that your pooch is experiencing a health issue that causes them to have problems with regulating their body temperature and the sooner you get that handled, the safer your pup will be. If your Dachshund is older, they may benefit from warm clothing even indoors, as age can also impact your pet’s ability to regulate their body temperature. While it can be difficult to get your dog to adjust to clothing initially, you will find that once they realize the benefits of the warmth, they will love their sweaters!
Dachshunds are great pets that are incredibly loyal to their owners, which is why it’s important that we return their loyalty by paying attention to their needs. Because of their small stature and thin hair, they’re more prone to getting cold, damp, and uncomfortable than many other breeds of dog, and can usually benefit from weather protection, winter gear, and sweaters. Plus, consider the benefits – you and your pooch can wear matching outfits, and be the cutest dog-owner couple on the block. If you keep your Dachshund comfy, you’ll enjoy many fun years together!
By a Poodle lover Sarah Jeter
Published: 04/26/2018, edited: 01/30/2020