A complete guide
Dog owners know that grooming our best friends can be quite a chore. Tending to their nails, teeth and hair alone can be quite intensive and time consuming. Fear not, we have some good news for those of you that plan on taking care of a Chihuahua. You might no know but Chihuahua grooming is relatively easy compared to that of any other dog breed! Results may vary depending on whether or not you have a long or short-haired Chihuahua. Whichever type you prefer we believe that grooming your Chihuahua can be easier than you think.
Now, why do we consider grooming your Chihuahua easy? Well, for one Chihuahuas aren’t very large. Less “fur to cover” means less work! Secondly, we tend to keep our Chihuahua’s indoor. This makes them considerably cleaner to start with than those dogs which splash in muddy puddles in your neighbours garden!
When assessing Chihuahua grooming, we need to focus our efforts into three main areas:
- Chihuahua brushing
- Chihuahua bathing
- Chihuahua trimming
Each area has its own best practices. We’ll cover them in the following chapters belonging to Chihuahua grooming.
Let’s start off with brushing. This is widely considered the most important thing you can do to keep your Chihuahua’s coat clean and healthy. No matter what type of Chihuahua you own, brushing their coats is a must. Brushing will keep the coat clean, free of knots and improves the overall health of your Chihuahua. As there are several main types of Chihuahuas. With respect to coat length, we have two: long haired and short haired.
Short haired Chihuahuas require very little effort in terms of brushing. A general rule of thumb is to brush their coat once a week. Make sure to brush their whole body and not to forget any spots, including their lower belly and tail. Furthermore, we also advise you to clean the coat with a damp cloth for extra measure. This combined with a good weekly brushing should be more than enough to keep them healthy!
Next up are the long-haired Chihuahuas. As you might expect, these require a bit more effort grooming wise. As they have longer hair, the risk of knots and an overall unhealthy coat is higher. Therefore, greater attention to grooming is required. Let’s go over some tips and tricks for maintaining a healthy coat with long haired Chihuahua’s:
- Just like the short-haired Chihuahua’s, brush your Chihuahua’s coat once a week.
- Mist the coat before brushing using a spray. A damp coat has a lower risk of hairs splitting when being brushed.
- After brushing you should perform a general check with your hands and look for any knots. Untangle the knots if you find any.
That’s it! Owning a long-haired Chihuahua just requires a little bit more proactive attention and patience.
Before we move on to bathing, the second chapter in Chihuahua grooming, it’s important to realize that what is stated above are just best practices.
The second important chapter in Chihuahua grooming is bathing. When done correctly, bathing your Chihuahua can be a very fun experience for yourself and of course your Chihuahua. Indeed, the overall experience should be an enjoyable ritual. Bathing will reduce hair shedding, reduce itchy skin, rash and improves the overall health of your Chihuahua’s coat. Furthermore, it serves as a strong bonding experience between you and your Chihuahua. What’s not to love?
A good tip is to bath your Chihuahua in a sink. Indeed, a clean sink is often a better pick for bathing your Chihuahua than a bath. Due to the size of a bath and the amount of water that can fit in a bath, Chihuahua’s can be intimidated. Therefore we at Planet Chihuahua recommend you using sink instead! Next, to be less intimidating for your Chi, it’s actually a lot more practical for bathing. It allows you to better handle your Chihuahua and have more control over the amount of water used. Chihuahua grooming is not the easiest, but with the correct steps, you can train your dog to be helpful.
Next up is water temperature: make sure to use lukewarm water. Not too hot, not too cold! Chihuahua’s are freckly little dogs and don’t like being scared by too hot or too cold water. Make sure you feel the temperature with the palm of your hand before exposing your Chihuahua to it. We recommend filling the sink with a couple of inches of water before putting the Chihuahua in. It will make for a more relaxed bathing experience. Pro tip: use a non-slip mat to keep your Chihuahua from slipping all over the sink. A small towel that covers the bottom of the sink also works perfectly.
Never use human bathing products! Ladies, no Head ‘n Shoulders shampoo please! Dogs are not made to be treated with these kinds of products. Their skin/fur requires an entirely different Ph balance. Instead, buy some quality canine shampoo or conditioner. You can buy some at your local pet shop.
After soaping up your Chihuahua and you feel the fur is nice and clean: rinse, rinse and rinse some more. A general rule of thumb is to rinse until you feel the fur is clean and free of soap. Then rinse some more! It’s very important to not leave any shampoo in the fur as this can damage your Chihuahua’s fur on the long run.
When taking your Chihuahua out of the ‘bath’ / sink, make sure to wrap her in a warm fuzzy towel. Scrub thoroughly but softly and make sure your Chihuahua gets nice and dry. Warming up your Chihuahua is important so that it doesn’t get cold after.
Last but not least: your attitude is very important during this grooming ritual. Have a positive attitude and talk to your little Chi during bathing. Establishing this connection during bathing is very important as it forges a strong emotional bond. It will also determine how your Chihuahua behaves during this grooming ritual. Keep it fun and loving.
Trimming is the third an final chapter within Chihuahua grooming. Just like with any other dog, Chihuahuas need to get their nails trimmed. Walking and running will help to file the nails, however not sufficiently. Typically it will file down some of the nails and keep others long. Actual filing / trimming needs to happen every 3 months or so. We like to recommend a trimming session every season. However, trimming the nails of your Chihuahua is not an easy task. Indeed, the paws and nails are rather sensitive body parts so Chihuahua’s don’t like them to be handled. It’s entirely possible that your Chihuahua will not be the most cooperative little being when attempting to trim the nails yourself. We therefore recommend seeing a professional to make sure you don’t hurt your little dog. After a while, you can definitely start trying it yourself. It comes down to having the right technique, tools and not rush things.
When you are confident about your Chihuahua grooming skills, here are a few tips:
- Start early: the younger the chihuahua is when you start trimming, the more they’ll be used to this grooming ritual
- Use the right tools: We prefer to use a grinder instead of a clipper. While a grinder will make more noise, it’s also faster and more efficient.
- Don’t rush things: When your Chihuahua is starting to become scared or is resisting too much, don’t worry if you’re not 100% done yet. You can always continue a while later.
Last but not least: don’t cut too far! People often forget that every dog’s nail has a vain running through it. This vain is called the ‘Quick’ and when cut will bleed quite a lot. We can’t pinpoint very accurately where the Quick ends. In general, it suffices to know it exists and not cut too far. Pro tip: have some styptic powder ready to help stop the bleeding should you accidentally cut through it.
Chihuahua Grooming Take-aways
Chihuahua grooming is an important element in keeping your Chihuahua clean and healthy. On top of that, it’s an excellent opportunity to set-up healthy habbits all whilst bonding with your little friend.
Keep in mind that there 4 main sections in grooming:
- Brushing your Chihuahua
- Bathing your Chihuahua
- Nail clipping / trimming
- Miscellaneous: ear inspections, anal glands & eye gook removal.
Stick to the basics and you are going to make your Chihuahua a very beautiful (+great smelling) and happy dog!
Planet Chihuahua team