Chihuahua Care Tips

They're one of the smallest dog breeds, so chihuahua care is extremely important if you would like to add one to your home. Since they are also the one of the longest living breeds, with proper care and training, you could have your chihuahua for around 18 years.

Careful Handling

Chihuahuas are small, making them very fragile. This isn't the best breed for a house of rough children or large dogs. These dogs can't handle a lot of rough housing and should be handled with care. In particular, a chihuahuas skull never fully develops, so a blow to the head could kill your chihuahua instantly. Be careful when playing or allowing your dog to meet strangers.

They can also develop knee or back problems, so be careful allowing them to jump on and off furniture. If you want your chihuahua on the furniture, consider adding ramps or teaching your dog to wait until he has been picked up and placed on the furniture.

Proper Grooming

Short hair chihuahuas don't require a lot of grooming, though long hair chihuahuas require daily brushing. It's important to make sure your chihuahua is comfortable no matter the weather, and that may require clothing.

Chihuahuas are extremely intolerant to cold weather and may start shivering violently if the temperature drops below 40 degrees. If your dog must be out in this weather, add a sweater. During the winter, provide him with a warm bed or a spot in the sun. Just like cats, chihuahuas love to curl up in the sun.

Be sensitive when teaching sit or down. You may need to teach on carpet or grass before you try to teach on a cold or slick surface.

Exercise Regime

Chihuahuas have plenty of energy but it often comes in bursts, preventing them from sustaining long term energy for long hikes or jogs. Short walks will usually suffice for getting them out in the world, but frequent play sessions are required to keep your chihuahua well-exercised and out of trouble. Teach your dog how to fetch a toy and interact with him through games rather than longer walks.


Chihuahuas are often extremely cautious around strangers so it's important to begin socializing as soon as you bring your dog home. Even if he's not a puppy, it's never too late; you just have to move a little more slowly.

However, as important as socialization is, it's even more important that it be done properly. You can create more fear than you reverse if you just toss your dog in a stranger's arms and give him treats until he calms down. Instead, allow your dog to initiate all interactions himself.

For example, if you meet a new child, don't allow the child to pet or even give a treat. Instead, reward your dog yourself with praise and treats if she doesn't bark. When she moves forward to sniff the child, reward her with treats yourself. Don't allow the child to pet or give treats until your dog is obviously comfortable, which may take a few meetings.

For stimulus like skateboards, stay far enough away that your dog seems curious but not frightened. Gradually, move closer. If your dog reacts, you're moving too quickly. If you move the correct speed and wait until your dog is comfortable, you will soon have a friendly, confident adult chihuahua.