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
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
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
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
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.