So you just got your first Chihuahua, and you’re BEYOND excited! You want to make sure you do everything right for your new baby and help them grow into the perfect dog, right? We know that’s why you’re here…to learn how to care for your Chihuahua!
As you might have guessed, Chihuahuas aren’t like other dog breeds; you are going to want to read about their special characteristics and needs to be the best Chihuahua parent you can be.
If you take the time to learn about your new dog now (now meaning before you have problems), you are going to be a much better owner because you will avoid common mistakes that many first-time Chihuahua owners make. Read on for a rundown of Chihuahuas that will cover everything from personality to feeding to health care. The more you know, the better you will be able to care for your Chihuahua!
Personality of Chihuahuas
Chihuahuas bond strongly with one person in their family. This can lead to issues such as separation anxiety and resource guarding, so it’s important to consistently socialize your Chihuahua with other people and dogs.
- Note: socializing is a continuous process. Your dog may be doing great socially, but don’t think you’re good to go and stop socializing them. If you do, the above-mentioned problems can develop, so make sure you continue to socialize your pup throughout its life.
- If you’re already struggling with common Chihuahua socialization issues such as separation anxiety, resource guarding, and etcetera, hang tight…we are working on some great articles just for you to help you work through these common Chihuahua problems! You can also join our Facebook Group where we share tips and more with fellow-Chihuahua owners.
Food for Chihuahuas
Chihuahuas can easily become very picky eaters. If they don’t like the food they are fed, a Chihuahua might refuse to eat for days until they feel like there is no other option. To prevent this:
- Feed your Chihuahua a variety of food so they don’t become set on one type of food (moist vs. dry) or on a certain flavor.
- Don’t give in when your Chihuahua refuses to eat; they will learn quickly to refuse to eat anything new or different.
- When a picky eater refuses to eat, there is a significant risk of hypoglycemia. Because of this, it’s a good idea to keep Caro Syrup on hand to quickly regulate blood sugar levels.
- Don’t feed your Chihuahua table scraps, as pancreatitis can develop from too much fat in this type of food.
- BUT, treats and people food are fine in moderation.
One of the best things about taking care of a Chihuahua is that you don’t have to keep buying food every single week because they don’t eat as much as other dogs. Most Chihuahuas only need between 1/8 cup and 1/2 cup of food in a day, depending on the size, activity level, metabolism of the dog, and the quality of the food.
Training Tips for Chihuahuas
- Because Chihuahuas have such a small body, they need potty breaks a bit more often than most breeds. If you don’t want to be running in and out of the house with your dog, you can train your Chihuahua to use pee-pads, litter boxes, and real and imitation indoor potty grass trays. You can read more in our article: How to Potty Train Your Chihuahua. Still have questions? Let us know in the comments on that article and we’d be glad to help you!
- Just because they are cute and you can carry them everywhere does not mean they don’t need training! Get them the proper training and socialization from the time they are a puppy and keep it up. You’ll be glad you did!
Activity Tips for Chihuahuas
- Even though they are small and do not require much exercise, Chihuahuas need some physical and mental activity each day to stay healthy. Make the time to play with them or take them for a walk. This alone is super important for the care of your Chihuahua!
- Just because Chihuahuas are small does NOT mean they don’t like to play and chew! Make sure they have dog toys around to play with and chew on, or you may find them chewing on shoes, furniture, or other inappropriate or dangerous items. On a budget? We will be doing some fun DIY toy and chew ideas in the future. Or, check out our DIY Dehydrated Chicken Feet post today!
General Health Tips for Chihuahuas
- Chihuahuas shed just as much as any other dog. If you don’t groom them regularly, they will shed hair all over the carpet, couches, clothing, and even your bed. Daily brushing (for long-hair Chihuahuas) and weekly baths (for long and short hair) help cut down on shedding, odor, and pet dander. For more info on shedding, check out our articles Are Chihuahuas Hypoallergenic? and Do Chihuahuas Shed?
- Chihuahuas reverse sneeze more frequently than most other breeds. Usually it’s nothing to worry about, but if it increases in frequency or is persistent contact your vet as these changes can be a sign of serious issues like kennel cough or a collapsed trachea.
- Chihuahuas can have anal gland problems. Some groomers and all veterinarians will expel your dog’s anal glands for you if you notice they are booty-scooching frequently.
- Brush their teeth! Chihuahuas have the same number of teeth in their tiny mouths as the larger breeds. Because of this, crowding can occur leading to dental problems such as gingivitis. Unhealthy bacteria in the mouth can lead to bad breath and also loss of teeth or even degeneration of the jaw bone and abscesses. Regular brushing and occasional dentals at your veterinarian’s office are best to prevent any problems. Need some ideas on how to care for your Chihuahuas teeth? We have an entire article dedicated just to taking care of your Chihuahua’s bad breath…click here!
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), is a more common issue in small breeds like Chihuahuas. Signs of hypoglycemia include listlessness, slow movements, shivering, and trembling. Severe hypoglycemia can lead to seizures (convulsions), a coma, and even death.
- If your Chihuahua is showing signs of hypoglycemia, rub something sweet like Caro Syrup or honey either on her gums or under her tongue as a first aid measure, then take her to your veterinarian immediately.
- Chihuahuas are prone to allergies, especially during spring and fall. Many vets recommend keeping Benadryl or Zyrtec around for battling allergies. Check with your vet to see what dose your dog needs and to be sure any medicine you want to use is approved by your veterinarian.
- Buy health insurance! We will be writing an article soon about choosing health insurance for your Chihuahua. We recommend (and use) Figo. Get a free quote from Figo today at: https://chipets.com/Figo. And if you sign-up using our link, Figo will give you 5% off your policy!
Miscellaneous Info to Help You Care for Your Chihuahua
- Keep the floors picked up! Keeping the floor clear of anything that could choke or harm your Chihuahua is important – they have very small airways and stomachs so even small items can be dangerous.
- If you travel with your Chihuahua, it is extremely important to check under the hotel beds and dressers before letting your Chihuahua roam freely. It is not uncommon for pest poisons and bug poison traps to be hidden in these locations and be eaten or chewed by your dog!
- Use a harness instead of a collar. Chihuahuas have tiny necks that are very delicate. So, while the tiny Chihuahua collars are cute, when on a walk it’s probably best to attach your leash to a harness, not a collar. You’ll be surprised how much better your Chihuahua walks with a harness! Need help finding a harness? Check out our recommendations on Amazon!
Congratulations – you are now a much smarter, more informed Chihuahua owner!
You are well on your way to developing a wonderful bond with your Chihuahua and keeping them happy, healthy, and well-balanced, because you took the time to learn more about how to care for your Chihuahua! Want to learn more about Chihuahuas? Click here to see a list of great Chipets blogs about everything Chihuahua.