The Chihuahua

The internet’s most practical guide to your favorite dog breed

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*Learn more about the breed below and some of the products recommended by our team of experts, which include veterinarians, explosive detection dog handlers and the dog obsessed.

Overview of the Chihuahua Breed

Chihuahua are a small and friendly breed of pet that are currently gaining popularity. Their size makes them not only practical, but cheap to feed, easy to keep, and cute to look at. It also means that they are particularly safe pets to keep if you have children or cats that other larger dogs might inadvertently harm. For this reason, they are great pets for families with children, working adults who couldn’t find the time to walk larger dogs, or for those who want an “accessory dog” to put in their handbags.

Chihuahuas have recently gained popularity since being spotted alongside many famous celebrities as a fashion accessory. Of course, we don’t encourage thinking of Chihuahuas in this way, though! These are very cute little dogs that make great companions. They’re intelligent, practical, friendly, and endlessly amusing. Here’s how to look after the little pups.

Chihuahua Food and Health

The tiny stature of a Chihuahua is a double edged blade in terms of Chihuahua food. On the one hand it means that they are cheap to feed, requiring far less than larger pets. On the other hand however it means that you need to be particularly careful regarding their nutrition as they can be prone to gaining weight.

So, you need to feed your Chihuahua smaller amounts of food than you would a larger dog obviously, but at the same time you need to make sure that these small portions are packed with all the essential nutrients they need to remain healthy and avoid complications.

When buying food for Chihuahua you need to look for brands specifically designed for smaller dogs as these will pack more goodness into each morsel. At the same time, you need to ensure that the food you give them is small and easy to chew for their little mouths – if you feed them meet out of a tin you may need to mash or cut it up further to ensure its more edible for their little jaws. If you have another larger dog then make sure they don’t get at their food when you’re not looking and be careful not to feed them too many treats throughout the day – no matter how tempting those puppy dog eyes make it.

It’s also possible to make your own Chihuahua food like halo holistic natural wet dog food for adult dogs beef, cooking either lean beef, chicken, turkey, pork, or lamb and grilling it or roasting it. Make sure you drain all the fat off and cut the meat up into tiny portions. You can then put this with a small amount of rice and preferably sweet vegetables such as carrots to ensure they get all the goodness they need.

Chihuahua Health

Looking after the health of your Chihuahua is vitally important if you want your furry little friend to stay happy and well for as long as possible. There are many aspects of their health to consider however.

Firstly, a Chihuahua is a small dog with small brittle bones meaning that it’s prone to injury if it falls or runs into something. Be aware then if your Chihuahua is near an edge or rushing around as it may be about to run into trouble. As a small dog it’s also easy for them to get under your feet if you’re not careful and treading on their feet or back could do serious damage. For this reason, it’s important to always know where your Chihuahua is and walk with caution if they’re nowhere to be seen. Investing in a bell may also be a good move if it means you can hear your Chihuahua coming. You also need to be particularly careful around larger dogs – for even if they’re friendly and just want to play, if they get too boisterous they can end up falling onto your Chihuahua or hurting them inadvertently through other means. If you think that a dog may not be friendly, then be certain to pick up your Chihuahua as quickly as possible.

Leashes and Collars for your Chihuahua

When choosing a leash for a Chihuahua, the most important tip is just to pick something that won’t throttle your pup, but that will allow you to keep them under easy control.

The small size of the Chihuahua is a big advantage for those that don’t have lots of time to go for long walkies!

In fact, Chihuahuas are often happy to be led around the house, or left to play in the garden. That said, you should take them out on  occasion to give them the chance to explore, to socialize with other dogs, and to be seen by the world at large!

Because they are relatively small and light, you should avoid anything that will pull too tightly on the Chihuahua. Using a retractable lead can be a mistake for instance as sometimes your little dog won’t be strong enough to pull the lead out and thus won’t be able to travel very far away from you!

A simple leather or rope leash such as fairwin leather dog leash and mendota dog lead leash should suffice in this case, but try to pick something that you can easily wrap around your hand. You want to avoid allowing too much slack. Note that little dogs like this can sometimes get a bit scared of traffic. Therefore, you might have to keep them under control especially carefully when walking by the road.

When considering the collar, you need to be especially cautious to pick something that will be comfortable for them. The mistake that a lot of people make is to keep the collar loose, thinking that this will avoid them hurting themselves. Not only does this make it easier for your Chihuahua to slip their collar and run off (which puts them at risk), but it also means they are more likely to hurt themselves by running and pulling into the collar. If they run fast and the collar is loose, it will suddenly tighten when the leash becomes taught and this can choke them. You shouldn’t be able to fit your finger down the side of the collar, so make sure you find a collar specifically for small dogs.

And of course, keep in mind that collars for Chihuahua are also designed to be aesthetically pleasing like blueberry floral print dog collar. These are very much attractive little dogs that people like to show off – so why not pick a leash that will do that for you? Find something with space to hang a little name tag – this can also help to keep them safe.

And if you are still worried about your Chihuahua, then you can consider getting a harness instead which will wrap around their chest rather than their neck.

Best Crates, Beds, and Doghouses for Chihuahuas

Crates beds and houses are all options for where your little Chihuahua is going to live when they aren’t in your handbag or following you around the house!

A crate or bed gives you somewhere indoors that they can rest and that will be ‘their space’ in the home. Try to make sure this is comfortable and big enough (not hard!) and that it leaves a little space for a few toys or other items of theirs as well.

You can now do some crate training in order to encourage your Chihuahua to sleep in that spot. This is a very good way to give them somewhere they can relax that is their own, which in turn can provide you with a little respite from yapping, jumping and whining. It’s a useful way to help them understand their place in the social hierarchy and is generally good practice when training.

Dog houses provide a place for your Chihuahua when they are outside. These can keep them dry and also shelter them from direct sun when it is hot – important depending on the area that you live. Just know that this isn’t somewhere for your dog to spend the night. Chihuahua are small, they have very fine fur, and they have very thin skin. Keeping them outside will make them unhappy and could make them ill – these are indoor dogs!

Grooming Insights for Chihuahua owners

It is up to you if you want to get your Chihuahua professionally groomed. These little dogs have fine hair that does shed, but which can still grow quite long around the ears, the pads of the feed, and the rear. We recommend trimming in these areas when they get too long to prevent discomfort and health issues that can come from feces getting matted, etc.

You should also clip your Chihuahua’s toenails every so often in order to prevent them getting very sharp or breaking. Don’t clip too close to their paws though, or you can break their blood vessels.

Chihuahuas like to be combed and this is something you can do once every few weeks. It’s a good idea to comb to remove malting hair and dead skin. If you don’t do this, then it can build up and that can lead to issues like infections and bad odors. This is also a good opportunity to look out for any problems. That means not only things like ticks and fleas, but also other health problems like bad knees – which is a common complaint for the breed. In short, grooming Chihuahuas provides an opportunity to get a little closer to them and to ensure that they are healthy.

You should also bath your Chihuahuas from time to time. If your pet is getting a little on the smelly side, then this is a good idea and we recommend bathing around once every four to six weeks.

Be careful however as if you bath your pet too frequently, you will find that you can actually do more harm than good. Chihuahuas – just like humans – have an important layer of natural oils that are secreted by their skin. If you wash your Chihuahua too regularly, then you will remove this layer – called the skin barrier – and that can leave them dried out and more prone to issues like infection, rashes, and dry skin.

Types of Chihuahua Fur

When choosing your Chihuahua, you can pick from a number of colors and hair lengths – and this will have some impact on your grooming.

Brown Chihuahua are common and attractive. For both short haired and long haired Chihuahua, the brown coating is probably what most people think of when they imagine a Chihuahua and it’s also a good look for a dog of that size – making them really look like a fluffy little teddy bear with a mind of its own. An added bonus is that because of their abundance, brown Chihuahua are actually cheaper than the rarer colors such as white.

Brown Chihuahua also have many benefits over paler colors. For instance they don’t show dirt as well as paler pups meaning your Chihuahua can have fun in the mud as only a dog likes to do without ruining his nice looking fur.

As though these weren’t good enough reasons, brown Chihuahua also age particularly well, not showing their grey hairs as easily as black Chihuahua and not showing their balding spots as badly as white Chihuahua.

If you do fancy a lighter or darker colored pet however, it’s possible to get mixed colored Chihuahua. So, you could get black and brown, or white and brown and get the best of both worlds.

Whatever the color of your Chihuahua however you’ll find that you quickly grow to love that hue over all others.

Chihuahua Accessories

Clicker

A trained dog is a happy dog, so anything you can find to help make training your pup easier, will ultimately make for a more peaceful relationship between you and your dog. That’s where the clicker comes in – a device that you click in order to reward your dog. This works when you have created an association between the sound of the clicker, and a reward for your dog.

Essentially, this comes down to something called ‘classical conditioning’ as was so famously demonstrated by Russian psychologist, Ivan Pavlov. The idea is simple: that humans and dogs alike will learn by creating associations. If two things occur often enough together, then eventually they become linked in our brains. Brain plasticity suggests that this actually occurs through a physical link between brain cells.

By creating this association, you can eventually make the clicker synonymous with reward. This then allows you to make other things synonymous with reward – such that your dog will eventually feel happiness merely as a result of carrying out the correct action.

See: a trained dog really is a happy dog!

Dog Stroller

A dog stroller is exactly what it sounds like. This is a stroller just as you might see a parent pushing a child in, but instead of a child passenger, it is instead going to house your little dog!

While a stroller for a dog – a dog that is supposed to enjoy walking – might seem a little over the top, the truth is that small dogs can often struggle to walk. They occasionally get tired owing to their small size (their little legs have to travel a lot further!) and they can get scared of traffic. As they get older, they can be more prone to knee problems. And if you live in a very hot, or very cold climate, then that can have an impact too.

A dog stroller like pet gear stroller for dogs gives you an easy way to pick up your pup and carry on walking once they tap out. That said, a lot of women enjoy carrying their Chihuahuas in their handbags!

Clothes

If it is cold weather, then you should look into getting clothing that will keep you warm and dry. You’ll be walking more now that you have a dog, and so you want to ensure that you can do this in any type of weather. We recommend some walking shoes and a warm coat.

And speaking of warm coats, you know who else could benefit from one? That’s right – your little furry friend!

Chihuahuas are very small and thus they get cold very easily. Getting a warm coat can help them to walk in any weather and this is especially important if it is cold out. Not only that, but Chihuahuas can also get a lot of very cute and hilarious outfits, so if you shop around it can be a lot of fun dressing them up!

Conclusion

So then, make sure that you’re feeding your Chihuahua a balanced diet that’s designed for smaller dogs and that you’re not over feeding them so causing them to gain weight (a problem with smaller dogs).

Use these training tools and toys to keep your dog happy and obedient. And use clothes to dress them up so they are warm and happy.

Finally, look out for other health problems that might effect your Chihuahua. Be aware that in particular they are susceptible to bad knee joints and problems with their eyes. If your Chihuahua seems to be experiencing these or other problems then get them to a vet as quickly as possible.

Do all this and you will have one very happy and healthy Chihuahua!