Chihuahua Grooming

In contrast to their needy personalities, Chihuahuas are pretty low maintenance in regards to grooming. This can be done at home quite easily but, due to the frequency required and the Chihuahua's propensity for stinking, many owners choose to have their pets professionally groomed. This page will offer you do-it-yourselfers some basic tips in the following areas:

  • Brushing
  • Bathing
  • Nail Care
  • Dental Care
  • Ear Care
  • Eye Care
  • Styling

Chihuahua Coat Care

Coat care is extremely important for your pet. Keeping in close contact with your pet via brushing and bathing can sometimes clue you in to any health issues they are having-- for example, your balding Chihuahua may just need a hypoallergenic shampoo and a more thorough rinsing, or he may need to be rid of fleas or mites. The point is, the more you take notice of the coat, the healthier your pet will be. Grooming for this breed is pretty easy but we will briefly cover the two coat types below:

Long haired Chihuahua grooming, although more involved than short coated grooming, is still doable at home. Weekly brushing and combing, monthly bathing, and perhaps a little trim around the neck, under the tail and on ears will keep them in excellent shape. The following sections will give you more in-depth info and tips if you'd like to know how to groom your long haired Chihuahua.

Short haired Chis are even more simple. A few times per month brushing and monthly bathing will keep them neat. These coats don't get tangles like their longer counterparts.

Brushing

Brushing your Chihuahua is a great time to bond with your pet and get them used to being touched. The best brush for a short haired Chihuahua is a rubber curry mitt and you simply brush in the direction of hair growth every week or so to lessen the amount of shedding. A long haired Chihuahua will need to be brushed weekly (or more frequently) to prevent tangles in the coat. A rubber curry brush will work for them also but you can use a pin brush if you prefer. A comb is also recommended for working through tangles; some owners also keep a detangling spray handy.

Getting Out Tangles

Of the two variations of Chihuahuas, there should be no problems with getting out tangles in short-haired ones. If so, then there are far worse issues to address! A Chi with a long-haired coat, however, is prone to the possibility of getting tangles as well as mats and other such problems.

The best comb for this breed is not so much a comb as a rake. If she has a long-haired coat, you should get a deshedding brush or a Furminator for chihuahuas or similar breeds. This will help to get down to the base of her hair without damaging her skin as you root out entanglements.

Whether combing a Chihuahua with long or short hair, there are steps to follow for making the task easier and less painful:

  • Wet the coat first with a de-tangler solution
  • Locate any thick tangles with your fingers
  • Comb out tangles (and mats) first
  • Comb the entire coat
  • Brush and comb after bathing to help prevent future tangles

Bathing

These little cuties are notorious for developing a doggy smell even after a bath so the number one question on an owner's mind is usually "How often should I bathe my Chihuahua?". Once per month is the recommended Chihuahua bathing schedule, however, many owners have doggy wipes, deodorizing spray or waterless shampoo on hand for an in between bath freshen up. Here are a few tips for bath time:

  • Choose a gentle, canine shampoo for your Chihuahua; the best shampoo is whatever the situation calls for. For instance, you may need a flea shampoo or hypoallergenic shampoo. Most importantly, never use a human shampoo because it is not formulated for your pet's skin.
  • You may want to put a non slip mat in whatever tub or container you are washing your Chi.
  • Fill the tub up with a couple inches warm (not hot) water before introducing him/her to the bathing area.
  • Make sure they are thoroughly brushed before bathing and that long haired Chis are free of tangles and mats (which will get worse if not removed).
  • You can put a piece of cotton in the large ears to keep water from getting in them.
  • Make sure the sensitive eyes don't come into contact with too much soap.
  • Rinse well, then rinse again. Leaving soap behind is the easiest way to irritate your dog's skin.

Paw Care

Since these are usually indoor pets, Chihuahua nails don't get as worn down naturally as many breeds by outdoor activities. You should check her nails once a month, however, if they appear very long or you hear them clicking on surfaces when shes walking--time for a trim! We will give you the basics on how to cut your Chihuahua's nails but some owner's may choose to have a groomer take care of this task. Remember, the earlier you start nail maintenance, the easier it will be to do it yourself since your pet will get used to it as a puppy.

A pair or doggy nail clippers will keep your Chihuahuas nails in great shape, although some owners opt for a spinning file. A thick emery board will also do the trick if your pet is very nervous. It's best to start with a small amount until you get used to it rather than to try to clip a large portion at once; the quick is the the living portion at the bottom of the nail that hurts and bleeds of you cut it. Keep styptic powder on hand to stop the bleeding in case you nick it.

Other Care

Teeth- There are plenty of good reasons to clean your Chihuahua's teeth and even puppy teeth should be cared for. First this breed already is prone to dental problems like misaligned teeth that trap food and cause bacterial overgrowth; this can lead to gum disease which has been linked to much worse such as heart disease! Second, bad Chihuahua breath not only signifies this problem but is unpleasant for you and your guests..especially since the Chi is an in-your-face breed.

If you need instructions on how to clean your Chihuahua's teeth, it's fairly simple (as long as they cooperate). Simply put a drop of doggy toothpaste onto a finger brush or small canine toothbrush and rub along the teeth and gums once per week.

Tear Stains- Tear stains under Chihuahua eyes are very common as the eyes are large, protruding and very susceptible to infections. Gently wipe the tear stains with a wet cloth as you see them appear. If you feel as if you're constantly wiping, it may be time for a vet visit to check for eye infections-- especially if there is colored discharge.

Ears- Often an owner may notice a pet scratching their ears or rubbing them on furniture which usually signifies a problem such as an infection or fleas. The upright ears of the Chihuahua are easy to check regularly (once every couple weeks) for signs of dirt, mites and fleas, or excess hair and wax. If there are hairs inside the outer ear canal you can pluck them. Take a cotton ball or pad soaked in a doggy ear cleaning solution and gently wipe inside to remove dirt and excess wax.

Fleas, Ticks, & Other Pests

Chihuahuas get fleas- period. This breed, being very small, is low to the ground and more susceptible to pests like fleas and ticks. Brushing your pet at least weekly will help detect these in the fur as will a once per month bath. Ticks and fleas on long haired Chihuahuas may be more difficult to detect; these pests can easily hide in tangled or matted fur so it's especially important to keep up with your grooming routine.

Flea treatment for Chihuahuas includes:

  • If you want to try to rid them of fleas at home first, use a canine flea shampoo and lather into the skin for 5-10 minutes. Make sure to rinse thoroughly.
  • Take them to your veterinarian-- he/she will provide multiple options such as a topical ointment or flea dip which will be much stronger than the shampoo
  • If your Chi is too young or small or the more harsh treatments you can try bathing them in a mixture of 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1/4 cup gentle puppy soap, and a cup of water.
  • Once your pet is flea free there are tons of prevention options (natural and non) so we'd recommend getting a flea spray.

Chihuahua Styling & Haircuts

The Chihuahua is an easy dog to maintain- whether short or long haired. In fact, a haircut for a short haired Chihuahua is unheard of; regular brushing will keep their coat tidy. We will say that Chi owners are more- uhm- "enthusiastic" sometimes about hairstlyes and it's not uncommon to see one with pretty nail polish or even a completely pink Chihuahua. We don't offer tips on how to dye your pet's fur and recommend visiting a professional groomer if you choose to do so to avoid damaging the fur and skin.

Long haired Chihuahua haircuts and grooming styles are still not as intricate as you might expect. Most owners (especially ones that choose to show their dogs) leave the long coat intact while others opt for a completely shaved long hair Chihuahua; for this style just get yourself a pair of canine clippers, some hair trimming scissors, and a comb. If you want something in between these two extremes and are wondering how to cut it yourself, simply trim around the ears and under the belly and tail with a pair of trimming scissors.

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