Chihuahuas are, as everyone knows, the smallest dog breed in the world. But if you could substitute personality for size, he would approach, or even surpass the size of a Great Dane. We should point out here that this is how we measure a Chihuahua’s size and not weighing scales or a tape measure.
But, joking aside, they are the epitome of the feisty, bossy, and a bit ‘full of himself’ type of dog. Having said all that, what’s the best way to take care of a Chihuahua? Because ignoring their personality for a second, they are a relatively fragile little guy and they require special care.
If you are about to become, or already are, a pet parent to a Chihuahua, then you need to appreciate the special treatment, this lovable little rascal needs.
You want him to grow up with good manners, polite to strangers and other dogs, potty trained, and will do as he’s told. You also want him as healthy as he can be to live a long and happy life. And Chihuahuas can live up to 20 years.
Chihuahua Care Guide:
1. Chihuahua Care
We feel many first-time Chihuahua pet parents make mistakes in the early stages of their puppy’s life. There are some mitigating reasons for this. If a full-grown Chihuahua is only about 6 to 7lbs, how small is an 8-week old baby?
Tiny. In fact, so tiny it’s difficult to do anything other than pick him up and hug him every 5 minutes. We don’t blame you, but you are already setting a dangerous precedent.
Never mind, for a second, his incredible cuteness. He is still a dog, with a dog’s instincts. Not only that, but he is a very intelligent dog and never misses a trick to get what he wants.
Before you adopt him, you really ought to know and understand his personality and what makes him tick, so you can be the best parent possible.
2. Chihuahua Personality
Let’s take a close-up look at his personality, so we can get a better idea of who the Chihuahua is. So it will help you care for a Chihuahua in the best way possible.
A Chihuahua will nearly always bond with one member of the family if there’s only yourself, it will naturally be you. And we don’t use the term ‘bond’ lightly. He will stick to you like glue wherever you go he will follow.
Many Chihuahuas struggle with separation anxiety. This is not good for the health of a Chihuahua. To help him get over this, or better yet, not begin with it, is early socialization. And we mean, very early. Get him meeting other dogs and people as soon as it’s safe for him to do so. Socialization is an ongoing process, all the excellent work you and he accomplishes will all be for nothing if you stop the process.
Training is another aspect of his upbringing you should focus on at an early age. Potty training can be a hard process with Chihuahuas. With good positive reinforcement training, Chihuahuas learn quickly. They are bright little sparks.
3. Chihuahua Energy Levels
As we say they are bright sparks, and they have the energy to burn. They love to play. If you’re up for it, then so are they. They never know when they’ve had enough and can easily overtire themselves. Monitor this and if they look tired try to calm them, so they can relax and maybe grab some sleep.
4. Feeding Your Chihuahua
Which leads us to feeding your Chihuahua. Because they burn so much energy, they need to replace those calories. Now they only have tiny tummies, so you can’t plonk down a giant dish of food. They need small portions, three to four times a day, even as adults.
It would be best to get specialist advice on his diet. He might have special needs and this article only addresses feeding generally.
But, as we say, they burn a lot of energy, so a balanced diet is essential. He’s going to need about 30% protein, at least. With 7% to 8% fat content. Some fresh fruit and vegetables and a few carbohydrates. He doesn’t need large amounts of carbohydrates or he will become obese.
Choose grain-free and low sodium dog foods. Pet parents overfeeding their Chihuahuas is becoming a major issue and introduces many debilitating diseases to your dog. We know it’s hard to resist those adoring eyes, but you must if you think about Chihuahua health care long term. You should count treats as part of his overall diet and not over 10% of his total dietary intake.
5. General Chihuahua Health Care
As with all small dogs, their mouths are tiny and this causes teeth overcrowding. Clean his teeth from a baby every day. Yes, he will lose his puppy teeth, but this is for him to get used to the process when he’s fully grown.
The overcrowding will make it difficult to get in between overcrowded teeth, so you could well see a lot of tartar build-up. Your vet will need to attend to this for you. Leaving it can cause him to suffer from some nasty, illnesses. Your vet may even suggest removing a few teeth to make more room in his mouth. Don’t worry about this, he doesn’t need all those teeth, anyway.
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is another illness that can afflict small dogs. This also ties in with feeding smaller portions, and often. If you see him become listless, dizzy, trembling for no reason, then take him to your vet as soon as possible.
Chihuahuas can get allergies. But it’s rarely from food. It’s far more likely that it’s because of environmental factors. If he seems to suffer, have some doggy Benadryl at hand. If it persists, then have a word with your vet, he might need a few tests to isolate the actual cause.
The Last Word
So you’re now the proud parent of an amazing, feisty little Chihuahua. And you know how to care for a Chihuahua, better than most parents.
You will have the same fantastic relationship with him you were always going to have, but now he’s polite, respectful, and tolerant. He’s still got that 150 percent personality, though.
As a kid, I grew up with lots of dogs in my family. My earliest recollection was a Labrador mix called Bruce, and I must have only been about three years old.
When I was around seven, we began to move around frequently, so having a dog was very difficult until we adopted a baby long-haired Dachshund. I was thirteen by then. We called him Pepe; I have no idea why; all I can say was it wasn’t my idea. But he did seem to grow into the name.
I’ve personally been the parent of a Great Dane called Lady, a French Bulldog we called Spike. I have also had the privilege of being the parent of one of the gorgeous cats on the planet; a British Blue Shorthair called Ellie. Right now, we have an amazing little Havanese in our family; we call Biscuit; he’s four years old.
I pride myself on being the very best dog-parent I can be. I refuse to bring a dog into my life without investing as much time as possible to understand that dog’s particular needs. Every dog I have parented has been an experience, and they are all different with incredible personalities.
To understand dogs as much as possible, I have taken several courses regarding dog care and training. The most recent course is The Truth About Cats And Dogs, offered by The University Of Edinburgh.
My dogs and cat have been the funniest and most unique animals I have ever been privileged to spend my life with. They can teach human beings so much if we take the time to watch and listen to them. My ambition is to share what I have learned with other passionate dog lovers.
I am obsessed with writing and researching everything I can about dog health, care, psychology, and finding the best dog products available to help ensure a dog’s life is as happy and contented as possible.