Chihuahua Grooming - Hair, Teeth, and Nails Oh My!

a wet chihuahuaBreathe a sigh of relief! Grooming a Chihuahua is relatively easy when compared to other breeds of dogs, and even more so when compared to the other toy breeds. Of course this depends upon whether or not you have the short hair or the long hair variety. The short haired variety is easier to manage than the long haired, but neither is really difficult. Another factor that makes grooming Chihuahuas easier than most dogs is that they are usually kept as an indoor dog and do not spend as much time outside gathering dirt as other breeds.

 Brushing:

For the smooth coat variety, not much brushing is needed. Their hair will not get knotted like the long haired variety's will, but they should still be brushed on occasion to control shedding and to maintain a healthy, strong coat. Simply wiping them down with a damp cloth is also beneficial if you do not prefer brushing. For smooth coats, brushing once a week or once in between baths will be enough depending on what season of the year it is and how much they are shedding.

Grooming long haired Chihuahuas requires a little bit more attention than their short haired counterparts, but not anything as drastic as some websites suggest. The frequency in which you brush your Chihuahua depends alot upon different factors and personal preference. How long is your dog's hair? How much does your dog shed? Do they play outside alot? How nice do you want your Chihuahua to look? A lot of websites recommend that you brush your long coat Chihuahua a minimum of once per week to avoid getting knots and tangles in their hair. I have personally gone months without brushing my long hair Chihuahua, and saw no knots or tangles develop. That being said, I do bathe my Chihuahuas regularly, and that particular long hair of mine has an exceptional coat (she rarely sheds).

For brushing your Chihuahuas, it is recommended that you use a rubber curry brush when grooming them so that you do not irritate their skin or cause discomfort. You can use a regular human (boar hair) brush if you have to, but your Chihuahua may end up dreading being brushed.

 Bathing:

 There are numerous benefits to bathing your dog regularly. Bathing your dog reduces shedding as well as reducing allergens for you and your dog. Bathing your dog regularly will also help with your dogs itchy and irritated skin, and will provide you with the opportunity to give attention to often overlooked parts of your Chihuahua and possibly detect fleas, ticks, or other bugs that may be attached to your dog. The most obvious benefit of bathing is that your dog will look good and smell. Last but not least is the psychological benefit for your dog. When done properly your Chihuahua can feel especially loved and cared for.

Typically, bathing your dog once every two months is sufficient depending on how often they go outside and collect dirt. You will most likely need to bathe your long haired Chihuahua more often than your short haired variety. The Golden Rule is that you should bathe them when they need it. If they are start becoming too stinky or if their hair is beginning to get tangle or visibly dirty or matted, it is probably time for a bath.

Bathing a Chihuahua is easy compared to larger dog breeds as you can easily pick them up to place them in the kitchen or where ever your washing area is. Use lukewarm water when bathing your Chihuahua (slight warm to your skin). Use caution when washing and rinsing around your dog's eyes, ears, and nose. You do not want to get excessive water in a dogs ears and this can lead to infection. When bathing, try to make the process as enjoyable as possible for your Chihuahua. Talking to your dog throughout the whole process will encourage a relaxed state. You should also use a massaging motion when washing as opposed to scrubbing. When completed, use a dry towel to thoroughly dry off your dog.

If you wash your dog often, it is important to purchase specially formulated shampoo so that the frequent washing does not irritate their skin.

 Toe-Nail Trimming:

Trimming a Chihuahua's Nails, or any dog's nails for that matter is not an easy task. Dogs in general do not particularly like their paws to be handled as it is a sensitive area. It is important to have your dogs nails trimmed before they get too long so that they don't get snagged on something and do severe damage to your Chihuahua's feet. A large amount of Chihuahua owners elect to have their dogs taken to a professional groomer to have their nails trimmed. With practice and consistency, the difficulties with trimming your dog's toe-nails yourself can be overcome.

Start trimming your dogs nails as early in their life as you can to get them used to the routine. It is important to only trim a little bit at a time so that you don't cut to the quick. The quick is a small vein that runs through the middle of the dog's nails and will bleed and is quite painful for your Chihuahua if cut. Use a trimmer that cuts cleanly, and as quietly as possible so that they are not startled by a loud clipping sound. See our extensive Nail-Trimming Guide for detailed instructions.

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