During wintery weather, our 14-year-old 10-pound female Chihuahua mix dog doesn’t want to go outside. Normally, we go for walks two to three times daily to take care of her toileting needs. Because of the snow and cold weather, however, she refuses to have bowel movements outside and will wait almost the entire day to urinate. Occasionally, when she waits too long, she has accidents in the house. Just today she was outside and did not urinate but did so on the carpet as soon as she ran back into the house.
She wears a pet coat or sweater when she goes outside. We have cleared snow from areas of the lawn to give her a place to go. This has worked some for urination, but not for BMs. Is there anything you can suggest to help her go outdoors?
– Rosalie, Naperville, Illinois
Peeing and pooping in frigid temperatures stresses some dogs. As soon they return to their warm homes, their bodies relax, and they have “accidents” in the home.
It’s great that you created a potty space for her by removing a patch of snow in your yard. Make sure the space is at least 6 ft. by 6 ft. and in an area protected from the wind to improve the chances she will use the space to pee and poop.
You also could begin training her to “go potty” on command, so she is ready for next winter. Because of her age and because she is a tiny dog, I think it might be easier to put down some pee pads in your house or garage to see if she will use them. The pads are lined, so the urine soaks into the pad and not onto your floor. To clean up, just throw the used pads away and replace with new ones.
Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, children’s author, syndicated pet columnist, and pet expert with more than 30 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to email@example.com. Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal