Having owned “Big Dogs” for most of my life, I decided to write a blog on cold weather safety tips, specifically as it relates to cold weather when raising Micro,Tiny & Teacup Dog Breeds. However, the below guidelines also apply to all puppies between 8 weeks to 6 months old, when puppies are still learning to regulate their own body temperatures.
Little known fact: Puppies can’t regulate their body temperature until they’re 6 weeks old!
Small and Tiny breeds, defined as being fully grown at 25lbs, are all about the lap and being carried. Puppies 8-12 weeks old are similar to 6-12 month old babies. They get cold fast, even in the summer on a chilly night.
Don’t forget this one, especially:
Shivering, for any dog of any size, due to cold is an emergency. They must be warmed immediately and gradually.
Necessary Clothing & Bedding
Temperatures below 60 or cold and wet/windy weather; Small dogs and doodle puppies will need protection from the elements, just like kids. Depending on the temperature and wind, a puppy sweater, jacket/coat, raincoat, fleece onesies and/or booties. These are the tools necessary for small dogs, in order for them to maintain body temperature. However, Mini & Standard doodles and poodles need clothes too below 50 degrees.
They will need (chew proof) bedding in their crate for warmth and the crate should be next to the bed. Avoid draughty areas. After puppy is house trained, I always enjoy having them in the bed. However, if you don’t, keep the crate. Most dogs like having their own “den” anyways.
Body Temperature for Dogs:
Generally, between 100-102.4 degrees (fahrenheit) is normal. Under 100 degrees, I’d throw a sweater on them. Over 102.5 is a fever indicating either an infection or the need to poop. Then retake temp 10 mins after pooping for a more accurate temperature reading. Poop causes a false high temp.
Cold vs. Scared Shivering
I know that you’re all going to do a great job socializing your puppies by bringing them out to new places everyday! Especially if you don’t have kids, you’ll socialize puppy with kids. If you do a great job socializing your dog/puppy, they shouldn’t be scared shivering very often at all. Socialization immediately upon coming home and throughout the first year (at least) is critical to having a laid back adult dog.
Our Tiny’s & Teacups’s are very laid back and happy to go anywhere with you in a sling or backpack etc. They snuggle right in, like a newborn. They’re also the size of a newborn at 8 weeks old. They are freaking adorable!!! You’re going to fall in love fast. Socialize them well so you know if they’re shivering, they’re cold.
Here’s one thing to know..if the puppy is meant to be a comfort, ESA or service dog to one specific person, we want them to bond with them first. That means they spend most of the time with that one person. The intended person needs to be “their person” so it’s important that they are the first ones to bond and she/he holds him most of the time when lounging around and sleeping. They like to sleep on or just below the pillow, next to your head/shoulder, when fully house trained. They’re like teddy bears.
Tiny’s are more fragile!
They may look like teddy bears but they won’t bend like one! Teach kids how puppies do not bend because kids don’t know until you teach them. Kids are concrete so if it looks like a teddy bear, it moves like one too! Not! Teach the kids how to hold puppy comfortably and also what could hurt them.
Kids want puppies to lay belly up so we work on that from birth to 8 weeks old. Sometimes they aren’t a fan of it until they realize belly up means positive attention, playing and belly rubs. Keep doing that with them but no treats in the belly up position. It’s not a requirement but a “nice to have”.
Play with their feet often so nail trims aren’t a problem in the future. Puppies grow fast and need nails trimmed once a week until 4 months old. The pavement doesn’t file them down. That’s a myth.
A good game of “pass the puppy around” is important for both socialization and to prevent l guarding behavior. Little dogs can sometimes “guard” their human, like a dog bone, if they are always held by the same person or people. They are as well socialized as they can be, based on their age/safety, going home at 8 weeks old. From 8+ weeks old, your job is to bring them everywhere you can. They haven’t been near cats yet. Watch out for their eyes because they doesn’t know about cats at all yet!
Will they land on their feet, like a cat?
Nope. They will face plant. Some people think little dogs are like cats and will catch themselves if dropped within a few feet of the floor or that they can jump off the bed/couch. Nope. Not puppies or Tiny dogs. They could break a leg. They are smart though. They usually won’t try to jump off something that’s too high by themselves.
Training Treats for Tiny Bellies
Have a few treats broken into tiny pieces ready to go for training and potty times. They have a small stomachs and bladders so tiny bits of treats go a long way as do more frequent potty breaks. Once an hour during the day and right after playtime and nap time (carry them outside, they will not pee or poop on you). Much longer at night.
Watch out! Don’t assume all dogs like small dogs and/or puppies. In fact, assume the opposite until you know. They’re fragile and easily injured, like a baby.
They’re also the size of prey for large birds and other wild animals. From a birds 🦅 eye, they’re about the size of a bunny. Don’t leave them alone to go potty, even if your yard is fenced in. Watch out for birds.
I hope this is helpful! ~Kim