How to Groom a Long Haired Chihuahua

BY | September 21 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY
How to Groom a Long Haired Chihuahua

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Grooming your long haired Chihuahua doesn't have to be tough, but it is a part of a good health routine. Learn how to keep your Chihuahua's coat shiny and clean.

Long haired Chihuahuas are simple dogs to groom and keep clean. Start grooming Chihuahuas when they are young, so they become accustomed to the handling and the activity. The most important aspect of grooming for a long haired Chihuahua is cleanliness, and the ASPCA recommends bathing your pet at least every three months. Chihuahuas are often indoor dogs, but if they sleep in your bed or travel in cars regularly, you may want to wash them more frequently.

Bathing

Brush the dog thoroughly to remove all loose hair and matted sections. Fill a basin or bathtub with approximately 4 inches of lukewarm water, and place a rubber bathmat or towel at the bottom of the tub to prevent the dog from slipping. Place your Chihuahua in the water, and wet all their hair using a plastic jug. Massage in a specially formulated dog shampoo, working your fingers through the hair from head to tail. If you live in an area where ticks and fleas are prevalent, choose a product that helps to repel them from the dogโ€™s coat. Wash the top of the head and around the snout gently, taking care to avoid the dogโ€™s eyes. Rinse well with the jug, and dry the dog with a big, soft towel.

Drying

Dry your Chihuahua naturally in the warm sunlight if possible because many dogs dislike the noise of an electric hairdryer. If the weather is cooler, you can dry your Chihuahua by lying the dog down on a towel on the bed. Take the hairdryer in one hand and set it on the lowest warm speed setting. Blow the dogโ€™s stomach gently with the dryer held some distance away, while stroking or reassuring the dog with your other hand. As the dog gets more comfortable with the dryer, bring it closer carefully and keep it moving to avoid concentrating the heat in an area. Shield the dogโ€™s eyes and face with your hand while you blow dry the head and ears and avoid blowing into the ears. Lastly, monitor the heat of the hairdryer at all times, so it doesn't overheat your little pup.

Brushing

This breed of dog has a long coat of soft, fine guard hairs, which can take up to two years to develop to its full thickness, and frequently has an undercoat. When the Chihuahuaโ€™s coat is completely dry, brush it gently using a pin brush, or spinning pin brush with rubber tips to avoid irritating the skin. This removes dead hair and dander from the undercoat. Brush the coat afterwards with a soft, natural bristle brush, which conditions and shines the coat, and end with a gentle combing using a double-sided comb. This helps to lift the hairs and comb them into place.

Trimming

Use a hair clipper or shaver to trim the hair around the Chihuahuaโ€™s toes, as well as the extra hair growing between the pads underneath. Use blunt scissors for a sanitary clip for the area around the tail to keep it short and tidy. This will help to prevent feces from sticking to the hair. Cut the dogโ€™s nails using a professional nail clipper, which commonly has safety guards that prevent you from cutting the nails too short. Clipping nails too short can cause damage to the blood vessel in the nail called the quick, which can be painful for the dog. Grind or file the nails after clipping to reduce the risk of splitting the nail and to smooth its sharp edges.

The Chihuahua: Tiny Dog, Big Personality

While many people make the mistake of judging Chihuahuas by their size, these little dogs are tougher than you might expect. Chihuahuas make good apartment dogs since they are usually no more than 6 pounds and can fit in just about anywhere. Chihuahuas are intelligent, fun-loving and make devoted companions that are equally happy to go for a walk with you or to sit by your side while you watch TV.

History

The exact history of the breed is uncertain, but, according to the American Kennel Club, they may be descended from the Techichi, a tiny dog kept by the Toltec people in Mexico as long as a thousand years ago. At some point these dogs may have been crossbred with the small, Terrier-type dogs of the Spanish Conquistadors, contributing to the tiny size and feisty nature of todayโ€™s Chihuahuas. During the latter half of the 19th century, American visitors to the Mexican state of Chihuahua encountered the breed and brought some of the little dogs home with them. At the same time, Chihuahuas were introduced to Europe, and they have remained popular throughout much of the world since that time.

Size

Chihuahuas vary in size, from very small dogs weighing less than three pounds to those that reach the breedโ€™s maximum size of six pounds. While some Chihuahuas may get even bigger than this, the Chihuahua Club of America and the American Kennel Club both disqualify any dog that does. Sometimes you may see Chihuahuas referred to as teacups or pocket dogs, but these are unofficial terms and simply mean that the dog is very small. Despite their size, these dogs need to learn good behavior just as the bigger dogs do, and Chihuahuas that have been allowed to get away with misbehaving may end up yappy and nippy and not well-behaved around people outside of the family or other pets. This is not the best breed to have around young children, since rough handling may injure a Chihuahua, but children 10 years old and older often do very well with this breed.

Temperament

Chihuahuas are feisty dogs, very similar to Terriers in many ways. These little dogs donโ€™t seem to be afraid of anything, and they make ideal alarm dogs, letting their owners know when a stranger approaches. It's important to protect Chihuahuas when theyโ€™re around other dogs, since these tiny bundles of energy wonโ€™t hesitate to challenge other dogs of any size if they feel it is called for. The breed standard calls for Chihuahuas to project a Terrier-like attitude and display self-reliance, confidence and self-importance, and dogs that have been raised with adequate social interaction clearly show these traits, though Chihuahuas that are not well-socialized may display lots of fear and even urinate when stressed. This is called submissive urination.

Care

As you might expect with dogs that originated in a hot climate, Chihuahuas are bothered by cold weather and should not be left outside when temperatures drop. Many owners find that their Chihuahuas are only too happy to share the bed with them, sliding under the covers and snuggling up to share as much body heat as possible. Due to their active nature, this breed enjoys having room to romp and likes to go for walks on a regular basis; but because of their small size they donโ€™t require nearly the same amount of space as larger dogs. Their grooming requirements are minimal, and a weekly brushing combined with regular toenail clipping and an occasional bath usually takes care of their needs. The smallest Chihuahuas typically need frequent feedings and special supplements to prevent hypoglycemia, but as soon as they reach three pounds, diet is not so much of a problem. Diet is especially critical in tiny puppies, and if not fed properly they can become very ill and die in a matter of hours.

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