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5. Chihuahuas: Care and Maintenance




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This article is from the Chihuahua Breed FAQ, by melinda@badger.idiscover.co.uk (Melinda 'Bob' Casino) with numerous contributions by others.

5. Chihuahuas: Care and Maintenance

Chihuahuas are a good breed for city-dwellers, or those who just
don't have the time to walk their dogs that often. They are quite
happy in apartments, as long as there is enough to play with and
explore. (They love exploring like most dogs.)

Opinions from dog authorities differ on how often to bathe a
Chihuahua. Some say that bathing too often removes the natural oils
from the coat, and thus dandruff will result and the coat will look
dull. Others say that shampooing on occassion with certain brands of
shampoo can actually enhance the sheen of the coat.

It has been my experience that Chihuahuas should be bathed at least
once a month, otherwise they develop an unpleasant smell. This is
actually due to the skin cells that humans slough off onto the
Chihuahua! So humans are the main contributors to that smell that can
develop.

When bathing, take care not to get water into their ears, as an
infection can develop.

Since the Chihuahua is mainly a housepets, you will need to trim
their nails at least once a month. On the smaller Chis, cat claw
trimmers can be used. It's good to start a nail-trimming routine
early-on so that your dog becomes accustomed to your handling its
paws (not to mention getting used to the big shiny clippers!).

You should consult your veterinarian about the nutritional needs of
your Chihuahua. According to some of the dog care books I consulted:
after weaning (up to six weeks), puppies should be fed four meals a
day until three months old; from 3 months to 6 months they should be
fed three meals a day; and from six months to a year they should be
fed twice a day. After 1 year, once a day is fine. However, it has
been my experience that even into adulthood, Chihuahuas prefer
several small meals as opposed to one big meal per day. I have found
that regular adult dog food is just fine for this breed. Dry food or
a mixture of dry food with canned food is preferable, since in some
cases canned food is difficult for this breed to digest (resulting in
diarrhea).

Like all dogs, Chihuahuas appreciate "treats." Be careful, though, in
your selection. The following treats, in small quantitites, are
useful as rewards when training or as general special snacks: cheese,
Alpo snacks, raw-hides, Bonz, peanut butter. However, do be careful
not to over-indulge with snacks, as overweight is a health-hazard for
dogs in general.

Consult your veterinarian on the periodic cleaning of your
Chihuahua's ears and teeth, booster shots, and vaccinations.

There is an excellent web resource for general health care for dogs,
called "Health Care Issues," which can be found at
http://www.zmall.com/pet_talk/dog-faqs/health-care.html. However,
please note this document isn't a substitute for regular veterinary
check-ups and attention for health problems.

 

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