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.
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 dog’s coat. Wash the top of the head and around the snout gently, taking care to avoid the dog’s eyes. Rinse well with the jug, and dry the dog with a big, soft towel.
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 dog’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 dog’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.
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 Chihuahua’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.
Use a hair clipper or shaver to trim the hair around the Chihuahua’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 dog’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.
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