General Chihuahua Care!

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Note: This document is provided for information purposes only. Umpqua Valley Kennels LLC does not guarantee the veracity of this information. Under no circumstances should this information replace the advice of your vet.

Chihuahuas, like any other purebred dog, need some special care.

Children and Chihuahuas

Children and Small Chihuahuas ( maturing under 5 pounds) do not mix. This is not necessarily because the Chihuahua might be aggressive towards children, but because toddlers and small children can easily fall or drop a toy on a Chihuahua, or kick a Chi when suddenly racing across the room, or slamming a door on it. A Chihuahua can instinctively sense that a toddler or child is comparatively speaking, uncoordinated and "out of control" and can pose a danger. This is especially true as children are more uncoordinated and clumsy than adults. Chihuahuas are not only small, but the vast majority of Chihuahuas have a soft-spot on top of their head, making them more prone to injury. Even a child that means well and loves the little dog can accidentally hurt the tiny breed by hugging a Chihuahua too hard or dropping it. Also, children move quickly and impulsively, and can kick or step on a Chihuahua when they run across the room. An active family, however well-meaning, can be very hard on a Chi.

The mother, who already has enough to do in the family, would have the worrisome task of "watching out for the Chihuahua" around the clock on a daily basis added to her responsibilities.

For families that wish to get a small dog, we would recommend getting a larger sized Chihuahua that is a little more sturdy. The larger sized Chihuahuas are also loving and make great companions for the whole family. The bonus would be that daily life at home would be more relaxing while the children grow up.

PLEASE BE UNDERSTANDING IF WE WILL NOT PLACE A TINY ONE WITH YOUR FAMILY, IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN UNDER 7 YEARS OLD!

BRINGING PUPPY HOME

When you get your puppy, you should receive from the breeder:

1.) Either the puppy's Registration Certificate or its Application for Registration

2.) A record of its immunizations

(exactly what shots and when given) and wormings

3.) A sales contract/ health guarantee

4.) Written care instructions

5.) A supply of the food the puppy eats

If you do not receive one of these items you should get a written, dated and signed statement from the breeder stating when you will receive that item or why you will not.

When you arrive home with your puppy, remember - your puppy is a baby Chihuahua. Like all babies, he needs lots of love and cuddling, lots of rest and sleep, lots of love and cuddling, lots of good, nourishing food and more love and cuddling.

Moving to a new home, leaving his dam and litter mates and the only humans he has ever really known is a very traumatic experience for the puppy, so try to make the move as easy as possible for him. For the first couple of weeks, try to change his life as little as possible.

Follow the breeders feeding routine. The same times, the same amount, the same brand of food, the same supplements. Feed him in the same place at each meal. Be sure he has a special area all his own for his bed. Give him lots and lots of cuddling and petting.

Do not let him play so long and hard that he becomes exhausted.

Sometime during the first week, you should take him to your veterinarian for a check up and get to know you visit. Take along the record of his immunizations and wormings.

Once the puppy is settled securely into his new home, you can begin to introduce him to your way of doing things.

if you want to change the brand of puppy kibble he is eating, the change should be slow and gradual. Substitute a small amount of the old food with the new brand and slowly increase the ratio of new to old until the old brand is completely replaced with the new.

EXERCISE

While your Chihuahua is young try to avoid any forced jumping exercises, these include allowing your puppy to jump up onto the bed and back down from it, forced jumping or jumping up and down the stairs. This is mainly due to the vertical movements of this kind can increase the pressure on the cartridge of the articulations, any harm done to these early could cause deformation of the position of the legs. Chihuahua are still considered young until around 18 month of age!!

TOYS

Never ever give your Chihuahua a rawhide toy. Even Chihuahua puppies can tear a piece off the rawhide and choke on it.

Puppies like knotted socks to shake and play tug of war with. They also like Nylabone and Gummabone toys. Many like to play with balls, but be sure the ball is too big to lodge in the throat. They like cotton tug toys like Booda Bones. Some People give their puppies and dogs Choo-Hooves and the dogs really like them, but be cautious with these. They are an "only when I can watch you" toy. The only real difference between the toys for a puppy and the toys for an adult Chihuahua is size. The puppy gets a fairly small Gummabone, (the adult gets a big one). Just be sure the toy is too big to swallow. (Throw a Nyla or Gummabone etc. away before it gets so small the dog can get the entire piece in its mouth.)

FEEDING

Most breeders feed a two to four month old puppy on a "free feed" Method. There are several good brands of puppy kibble. If you are not satisfied with the kibble he is eating,try another. You want a kibble the puppy likes and which produces a nice coat, keeps the puppy round but not obese, and produces solid stools. We Feed Diamond Naturals. Check the list of ingredients on the sack. Do not feed your Chihuahua a kibble which contains Corn, Wheat or Glutens of any kind.

You may feed the puppy on a set schedule, or have food available to him at all times. The pup will flourish under either regimen. The choice depends on which is more convenient for you.

How much you feed him depends on the puppy. In most cases, a growing puppy which gets sufficient exercise should eat as much as it wants. If the puppy does become obese, you may need to regulate the amount he eats, but do not put a growing puppy on a severely restricted diet unless it is supervised by a veterinarian who is knowledgeable about Chihuahua puppies.

From four to six months a puppy's feeding regimen should remain the same but the number of feedings may be reduced to three. At about six months this number can be reduced to two. In most cases continue feeding the puppy as much as he wants.

How often you feed a dog a year or more old depends on your preference and the dog's. Most dogs do well on one meal a day. Some do better on two meals a day. You may prefer to feed in the morning or the evening. This is up to you. If you like it and the dog likes it, it's the right way.

A Chihuahua usually eats puppy kibble until it is at least a year old. If he is thriving on puppy kibble, leave him on it until he is at least two years old. You can feed him puppy kibble all his life, if it agrees with him. Most Chihuahuas are changed from puppy to adult kibble at around twelve to eighteen months. The best change is to the adult version of the puppy kibble you have been feeding him. It does not hurt your Chihuahua to change from one brand of dog food to another and then to another and so on as long as each change is done by gradually, substituting more and more of the new brand for the old.

If your Chihuahua is spayed or neutered or as it ages and becomes less active, you may need to start feeding a reduced calorie dog food to keep it from becoming too fat. Most good brands of dog food have such a kibble. Again, it's best if you stay with the same brand you've been feeding and change to the lo-fat version.

Whatever its age, your Chihuahua should have fresh water available at all times.

BEDDING

Bedding material used for Chihuahuas ranges from Basic to special dog beds of all types and prices. The most common is cottonrugs or blankets which can be washed with ease. The fake sheepskin rugs available from most pet stores and dog catalogues make good beds as they are soft and wash and dry with ease. The important thing for bedding is that it be easily washable and provide a soft nesting area for the dog. As long as it meets that requirement, any bedding will do.

GROOMING

Your Chihuahua should be thoroughly brushed at least three times a week. Most Chihuahua love to be brushed. Use a soft bristle or rubber brush. Follow this with a good rub down. This will keep his hair shiny and his skin healthy. During shedding time, spring and fall, you may need to brush more often, give more frequent rubdowns. The idea is to remove the dead hair and distribute the natural oils.

BATHING

A Chihuahua that receives frequent brushings and rubdowns does not need frequent bathing. Most People bathe their dogs when the dog is dirty - when it obviously needs a bath.

Where do you bathe a Chihuahua? Any place you want to and can! Some people have a big deep sink, some use the bath tub, some use the kitchen sink. You need a place where you can control the dog, where you can easily control the water supply and where you can rinse the dog thoroughly. It's a good idea, especially with a puppy, to take the dog outside to do his thing just before you bathe him.

Gather up all the things you will need before you start. You will need:

Shampoo, any rinses you plan to use, cotton balls, Q-tips, eye ointment or mineral oil, Vaseline, wash cloth, towels.

You will want a mild, no tears shampoo. Most people use a dog shampoo. You may on occasion need to use a flea shampoo but since these are quite harsh, don't use one unless you really need to.

Put a couple of drops of mineral oil or a bit of eye ointment in the eyes and place a cotton ball securely in each ear before you wet the dog. Wet the dog thoroughly from just behind the ears to the tips of the toes on his hind feet. Be sure his underside is wet, too, not just the top and sides. Apply the shampoo starting at his neck and working back. Work the shampoo in to be sure you get all the way through his hair to the skin. Pay special attention to his paws (wash between the toes), his tail (clean all around the base), and the genital area. On a bitch, be especially careful to clean the vulva. Wet the wash cloth and use it to dampen the dog's face and ears. Now rinse. Rinse until you are sure every bit of the dog, especially in the wrinkles and tight places, is thoroughly rinsed and there is no shampoo any place. If you are applying a rinse, do it now, following the instructions.

Dry the dog with towels. Take the cotton balls out of the dog's ears and clean any wax carefully using a dry Q-Tip or one with a dab of Bag Balm. Rub a dab of Vaseline onto his nose to help keep it soft. You can then let him air dry or use a hair dryer on low to finish the drying. It's best to keep the dog inside until it is completely dry - about two hours.

NAILS

Most Chihuahuas need their toe nails cut on a regular basis - about every two weeks. The nails should be kept as short as possible. You may use dog nail clippers or an electric grinder. Most people use the clippers, either guillotine or scissors type. Which type you use is up to you, but they should be sharp. When the blade begins to dull, replace it or buy new clippers - dull blades can be painful to the dog. Each person seems to have a different way to clip nails. Find the way that works best for you. The important thing is to be able to control the dog so that you do not hurt it. We advise two people do this - one to hold and one to clip. Be especially careful not to cut into the quick.

If you do, DO NOT FREAK OUT! Have a paper towel and powdered or liquid clotting product ready to apply. If you react in a negative way the puppy will mirror your energy and you will have a more difficult or impossible time the next time you clip it's nails. This is why there are numerous owners that cannot clip their own dogs nails, but the groomer has no problems with it!

On white nails you can see where the quick begins. On black nails cut just to the curve of the nail. The clippers usually leave a rough edge. Use a good dog nail file to smooth them off. If you use en electric grinder, be very, very careful. It is easy to grind into the quick.

The main thing is to make the experience as pleasant as possible for the dog so be really careful when cutting nails and don't cut into the quick. If you dog takes frequent walks on pavement or such, it will usually wear the nails down, so again, be careful as there may not be very much nail to cut.

NOSE

It is a good idea to put a little Vaseline on the nose of your Chihuahua every now and again to stop it from drying out, a normal nose should be cool or wet but never dry and hot. If the nose is hot then you should take the dogs temperature and seek the advice of the vet.

TEAR STAINS

You will see a sizable number of Chihuahuas have tear stains of varying degrees of color. If the stain is bad, in addition to cleaning you may want to try to remove the stain. There are many treatments, you may have to try several before you find one that works for you.

You can make a paste of I Tbs. Hydrogen Peroxide and enough corn starch to make a thin paste (some people add I Tbs. Milk of Magnesia to the hydrogen peroxide and mix the cornstarch into that mixture). Apply to the stain, let dry, brush off excess. Apply on a daily basis until the stain in gone, then weekly to keep stain from returning.

FLEAS

The best way to treat fleas is to prevent them. Some dogs are allergic to flea saliva and can develop really serious skin problems so try to keep the flea population to a minimum. If you do get a bad flea infestation you may need to bomb your house or kennel, spray the yard and/or dog runs.

Frequent brushing is the first defense. Frequently changed bedding is very important.

If you do use a flea collar, do not put one on a wet or damp dog and do not allow the dog to wear a wet collar (this includes letting the dog out in the rain with its flea collar on).

You may need to give the dog a bath with a good flea shampoo or use an anti-flea rinse when you bathe. The chemicals used in these shampoos are harsh so use them only when necessary and follow instructions carefully. Avon Skin so Soft mixed in the rinse water is an effective, non-irritating flea deterrent used by several people. You can also use the Skin so Soft mixed with an equal part of water in a spray bottle, or, if you feel that's a bit too strong, try two cap fulls in a pint spray bottle. This is also reported to repel mosquitoes and ticks. Above all else, a clean environment, especially his bed, is the best flea prevention.

TEETH BRUSHING AND CARE

Periodontal disease is a common disease in toy dogs. Fortunately it is preventable and treatable. Proper diet (crunchy foods), chew treats and toys, along with tooth brushing at least twice per week can go a long way toward preventing dental disease in Chihuahuas. Taking an active role in the care of your dog's dental care will help reduce dental disease, bad breath and potential life threatening heart and kidney disease. This guide will show you how to brush your Chihuahua's teeth.

Start brushing your Chihuahua's teeth early when she is a puppy. With older and rescues who have not had previous dental care, you should start immediately after a professional cleaning.

What you will need:

You will need a soft-bristled tooth brush or finger brush and pet safe toothpaste. Human toothpastes and baking soda may cause problems as it is virtually impossible to keep your Chihuahua from swallowing the paste. Pet safe toothpastes are edible and are available in flavors that are appealing to dogs. A bristled toothbrush is imporant so that you can get below the gum line when brushing.

Where to brush:

Periodontal disease most often affects the upper back teeth first. Plaque builds up on the tooth surface daily, especially just under the gum line. It takes less than 36 hours for this plaque to become mineralized and harden into "tartar" (calculus) that cannot be removed with a brush. Because of this, we recommend that you try to brush your dogs teeth daily. Make this a part of your daily routine just like cleaning wrinkles for example. If this it not possible, make it a point to brush at least every 3 days or so. Providing hard chew toys and toys designed to keep teeth clean will help with this.

Pick a time of day that will become a convenient part of your pet's daily routine. Just before a walk or before a daily treat can help your pet actually look forward to brushing time. Take a few days to let both of you get use to the process. Follow with praise and a walk or treat each time.

The key to success is to make it fun and rewarding for your dog. In many cases, the flavor of the toothpaste itself may be enough - though this can also make it more difficult to brush as your Chihuahua will be more interested in eating it than in letting you brush her teeth!

Start by offering your dog a taste of the toothpaste. The next time, let her taste the toothpaste, then run your finger along the gums of the upper teeth. Repeat the process with the tooth brush. Get the bristles of the brush along the gum line of the upper back teeth and angle slightly up, so the bristles get under the gum line. Work from back to front, making small circles along the gum lines.

It will probably take less than a minute to brush the teeth. Concentrate on the outside of the upper teeth. Eventually you should be able to work up to brushing most or all of her teeth.

Professional Care

A Chihuahua may need an occasional professional cleaning. By brushing your pet's teeth daily you can reduce periodontal disease and the frequency with which your Chihuahua needs professional dental cleanings. Your Chihuahua will be put under anesthesia for this process.

TRAINING

House Training

The key here is consistency. Take the pup outside, preferably to the same area each time, as soon as he wakes up, about ten minutes after each meal, about every hour when he's awake, just before his nap or night bedtime. The puppy must empty bladder and bowels before he goes to bed for the night. Always praise the puppy as he is going, and move away from the area as soon as he is finished. Very few dogs will soil their beds, so it is best to keep him confined at night and any time you cannot watch him. If you see the pup "hunting" (sniffing and circling) take him outside immediately.

If you see him urinating or defecating in the house, take him outside at once. Do not scold him when you catch him in the act. This will only cause him to sneak around and potty in the house away from your presence and may inhibit him from potty while you are present outside with him! Praise for correct behavior works much better than punishment for incorrect behavior. Remember, a puppy is a baby, his capacity is small, his muscle control limited. Be consistent, be patient, and you will succeed in training him to go outside not inside.

Lead Training

The earlier you start the better, but if your puppy has not had any lead training before you get him, wait a week or so until he's settled comfortably into his new home before you begin. You will need a light weight Harness and a light weight lead. Fasten the lead to the Harness and let the puppy lead you around. If he doesn't move, move a bit and coax him to move after you. Do not ever pull on the lead and drag or choke the puppy. This should be a happy experience for the puppy so give him lots of praise. As he becomes used to walking about with the harness and lead, begin to give little tugs and encouragehim to follow you rather than you following him. Always keep him on your left side. Keep his lessons short. Several five to ten minutes sessions a day are better than one half hour session. Do not play with the puppy during his lesson, but do praise him often when he follows you.

Once he is following you with consistency you can begin taking him on walks around the neighborhood. You will probably need to give him several gently tugs the first few times to keep him with you rather than exploring on his own. You may need to stop and talk to him a few times. Again, do not pull on the lead and drag or choke him. A quick jerk and immediate release on the harness is the way to control him. Do not try to rush this. A few minutes a day, every day, lots of praise when he does it right, a quick jerk and release to correct when he doesn't, lots of praise, patience and consistency and he will soon be walking nicely at your side. If you plan to show your puppy, you will also need to train him to stand still and let you hold his head. Start this training along with the lead training as early as possible.

TRAVELING WITH YOUR CHIHUAHUA

So you've decided to take a road trip and bring your best friend with you? Your dog will love you for it, however there are some very important guidelines you should follow to ensure a safe trip for you and your friend.

Riding in the Car:

Chihuahuas that enjoy car travel should be confined to a carrier or you may use a restraining harness (available at most pet-supply stores). Your friend should always be kept safely inside the car. Pets who are allowed to stick their heads out the window can be injured by airborne debris or become ill from having cold air forced into their lungs. Never transport a pet in the back of an open pickup truck.

Stop frequently to allow your pet to drink, exercise, and eliminate. Never permit your pet to leave the car without a collar, ID tag, and leash.

Never leave your pet unattended in a parked car. On warm days, the temperature in your car can rise to 120 in a matter of minutes, even with the windows opened slightly. Furthermore, an animal left alone in a car is an invitation to pet thieves. General Items:

In addition, to keep your Chihuahua safe, there are several other items that should be included in your Chihuahua's travel bag:

Benadryl

Baby wipes

Bandana

Poop disposal baggies

Toys

Brush

Lead, Leash or a Harness

Current License and rabies tag

Just like us, Chihuahuas need an over night bag also. When you do take your Chihuahua out make sure they have their license and rabies tags on it just is a safe precaution. Carry a current photograph of your pet. If your pet is accidentally lost, having a current photograph will make the search easier.