Taking Care of Your Chihuahua -
Frequently Asked Questions
Do they make good family pets?
Depends on the family. Chihuahuas may be small, but they are all dog, they have bodily functions, they are not ornaments and they are certainly not toys. The majority of Chihuahuas are wary of small children because instinctively they seem to be aware they are vulnerable. If parents recognise their responsibilities to both child and Chihuahua they can co-exist happily.
Are they good house dogs?
Yes, they'll usually let you know when someone is around. They are naturally apprehensive of strangers, but they are very bright and if you train them properly they'll know when to shut up.
Do they need exercise?
Although they will derive enormous enjoyment from outings on the lead, and lots of new sights and smells, tearing round the garden will provide enough exercise. Fresh air and sunshine are always beneficial, but you can't use a chi as your excuse for a nightly trip to the local!
They're so small, do they get trodden on
Generally not after the first few encounters. When they first start to run about they do make straight for your feet, by the time they are about 3 months old they've got the message.
Do they feel the cold?
Don't we all! Unless they are conditioned by being mollycoddled, most Chihuahuas go outside for their constitutional. Of course they mustn't be left out too long, and they must be able to come in to the warm and dry. Then they will take no harm.
Are they destructive?
Some are, some aren't. Some will be content with a good supply of chews and toys. It pays to keep all electrical wires out of their reach, they may ignore them most of the time, but it only takes once. All young dogs love to chew, it pays not to leave them loose with anything you value, just in case.
Do they live very long?
Yes they do. On average the life expectancy of a Chihuahua is more than that of larger breeds, but there are always unforeseen and unavoidable earlier losses, just like people.
Do they smell doggy?
No, the strong doggy smell which comes from the coat of many breeds of dog is usually absent in the Chihuahua.
Do they moult?
Yes. Both varieties moult, twice a year, spring and autumn. The degree varies from dog to dog. 'Longcoat' might suggest to some that they need a lot of grooming. This isn't really true, the texture of the coat is good-natured. Both varieties need some grooming, the long's feathering especially needs a regular brush.
Do they need bathing?
Bath your dog if you think he is dirty. moulting, or host to parasites (fleas, lice, mites or ticks). There's a mass of doggy shampoos on the market and insecticidal ones will free the dog of unwanted company.
Are bitches better pets than
There really isn't a lot of difference. The males are just as affectionate, just as quiet, and as easy to train. When you have a Chihuahua , whatever the sex, the exercise area must be totally escape proof.
What should I feed my Chihuahua?
A good balanced diet. Many Chihuahuas scour if they are given milk. A bowl of nice clean water is a must. Something to chew helps to clean the teeth, there's a wide selection of biscuits and chews to choose from. Your chi will probably have its favourites. Never give poultry or rabbit bones because these splinter and are extremely dangerous. Moderation is essential when giving titbits and treats. Sweet things rot the teeth and can make your dog put on too much weight which is bad for its health. Liver given in excess can cause diarrhoea. When the faeces are not firm the anal glands are not emptied, this leads to infection and anal ulcers.
Chis have large eyes, because they are small dogs and near to the ground they get grit and dust in them, this causes irritation and makes them water, these tears can inflame the skin under the eye, which causes more staining. If the hair under the eye is washed thoroughly, dried and a greasy barrier, such as Vaseline used to protect it from the tears, the condition will clear up.
Most chihuahuas are good travellers. The safest way for them to travel is in a box or cage.