|Your New Chihuahua
|Care Tips for Your New Puppy
|by Shayna Gatzke
You got your new puppy today. You are ready to take him or her home to meet the family. You finally have the puppy
you've been looking for.
That sweet, playful little Chihuahua you just saw at our house may have some behavioral changes when you get him home.
Don't worry this is only temporary and perfectly normal. Chihuahuas can be timid at times. When they are introduced to
new environments, this characteristic may come out more than you expected, but only for a
When you get your puppy home, he may become less active and shyer. Allow him to explore. Watch him carefully to
ensure that he doesn't get into anything that would be dangerous for him. Chihuahuas are very curious and yours will be
very interested in his new surroundings. He is getting accustomed to his new home. He is learning all the sights and smells,
testing out new floor surfaces, and finding new things to play with.
Be careful not to overload your puppy with new people. Allow each family member to introduce him/herself one at a time.
Your puppy will still be quite small, so let each family member hold the puppy at eye level, using both hands and holding
securely, so that you can both get a good look at each other. Talk to the puppy in a calm voice for a few minutes and then
pull him close to your body and pet him. Chihuahuas love to snuggle so your puppy will begin to feel right at home in your
lap before you know it!
That First Night: What to expect.
After introductions are over and your puppy has had time to explore his new home you may want to offer him some food
and water. Soon it will be time for bed. Take your puppy and let him get acquainted with his new bed.
Bedding should be simple and washable. Your puppy will not be fully housetrained and may have accidents on his sleeping
materials until housetraining is complete. Our suggestion is to purchase a small crate for him to sleep in. This crate may
also be useful in housetraining your puppy. Inside the crate put a layer of newspaper and a towel or light blanket for your
puppy to sleep on.
When it is time for bed, after giving him lots of love, put your puppy inside the crate and close the door. Remember, it is
his first night in a new home, and a new crate and he may need some adjustment time. He may stand at the crate door and
bark or cry. We know how hard it is to let your puppy cry, we have to do it too, but if you want him to get used to the
crate, you must. If you let him out every time he cries, he will soon learn that crying will get him anything he wants, and at
that point, your puppy will have trained you!! He will get tired and curl up in his towel before long. It may take several
nights of this before he gets adjusted to his crate, but he will, we promise! Try giving him a stuffed toy to cuddle up with.
In most cases, this helps with the crying. Just make sure it’s washable, in case he has an accident during the night. His
crate will eventually become his own private space, and he will enjoy being in it.
As an alternative to jumping right into crate training, you can reproduce our "playpen" in your home. We use a large pen
with a wire crate inside it. The crate contains bedding, and we put newspaper (you can also use puppy pads) outside the
crate, but inside the pen. We leave the door to the crate open all the time (except when we are cleaning). We also provide
food and water outside the crate. The puppies learn very quickly to sleep in the crate and come outside of it to potty, so
this method also gives you a great start on crate training, without confining a young puppy to a crate for a long period of
time. You can also reproduce this in a small room, without the large pen.
We do not recommend allowing your puppy to sleep in your bed with you. They are much too small and beds are much too
high off the floor.
The Next Day
The day after you bring your puppy home may be a relatively stressful time for you both. Your puppy may not be the
playful little fella you were hoping for. He may cry or sleep a lot. He may refuse food and water. He may even refuse to
be held, or he may just sit in your lap and sleep all day. These things are normal parts of the process of getting acquainted
with his environment. For this reason it is not recommended to change your puppy’s food in the first week. If you puppy
refuses all food and water for more than 24 hours, you should purchase some Nutri-Cal (or similar supplement) from your
vet to get his appetite going again. If he still will not eat, get him to the vet for a check-up.
Feeding your puppy…Food and Treats and Edible Chew Treats
While he was with us, your puppy was fed
Purina Pro Plan Chicken and Rice Shredded Blend Puppy.
Our recommendation is to continue feeding this. Most of our puppies are eating their food dry when they go home, but for
the smaller ones, they may need some special feeding routines. At first, you may need to soften the food in a little warm
water. This may be required until your puppy is between 3 and 4 months of age, for tiny puppies. At that point, his jaw
muscles and teeth will be strong enough to crunch hard food.
Should you decide to change your puppy's food, you will want to choose a puppy food, not an adult food. The food should
have good balanced nutrition. When choosing a food, please try to avoid "small breed" specific foods, as they are heavy in
corn, which is not only not a dietary requirement for dogs, but is also not easily digested. You could choose dry or canned,
however, dry food helps keep teeth healthier. If you choose to feed canned food, be sure that you purchase some crunchy
treats (to be fed occasionally) and perhaps a bone or chew toy that is made to promote dental health. Also, canned food
will make a puppy's stool softer, which will make accidents in the house messier. It is our recommendation to avoid semi-
moist foods (such as Gainsburgers) altogether. You should never feed your puppy table scraps. Table scraps make dogs
overweight and it is hard on a Chihuahua’s legs, knees and heart to be overweight.
If you cannot free feed like we do, you will want to put your puppy on a feeding schedule. Your puppy will need to be fed
at least twice daily, but three times would be better when your puppy is little. You will want to set a feeding schedule and
stick to it, especially if you are only able to feed once daily. Avoid waiting too late in the day to feed your puppy. If you
work, a good time to set for feeding would be as soon as you get home from work each day. For twice daily feedings, you
may consider feeding in the morning, before you leave for work, as well. On weekends, feed at those times as well. Most
puppies will eat ¼ to ½ cup of food per day, but some may need more. You should feed based on your puppy's needs.
Chi’s love treats. The best treats for them (unless they are fed canned food) is soft chewy flavored treats such as Beggin’
Strips or some similar product. Treats may or may not provide nutritional value and its ok if they don’t, as long as they are
fed in moderation…sort of like doggie chocolate. (Which reminds me...NEVER feed your dog real chocolate. It’s very
toxic to dogs.) Since treats are not designed to provide nutrition, and they should not be fed too liberally, the brand you
choose is much less important than finding something your Chi loves. Use treats sparingly, not in excess. If used in
excess, they are likely to put much unwanted weight on your Chi.
There are several wonderful and nutritious treats on the market now that dogs and puppies really seem to like. They make
yogurt treats for dogs. You can also get dried chicken tender strips for dogs, which double as great chew treats as well. It
is important to provide your puppy with edible chew treats. It is our recommendation that you avoid rawhide treats,
however, because they are difficult to digest and often cause health problems when they become lodged in the digestive
tract. You can get pig skin chews that are much more easily digested and provide a great, long-lasting chew for your
puppy. Also, several companies now make a more easily digestible rawhide treat or bone, or they make a product to help
replace rawhide. Nylabone has a Healthy Edibles line, which come in small sizes for our teeny babies, provide vitamins and
minerals, a long lasting chew, and are easily digestible. They also make potato bones, which can be micro waved to
become a very crunchy treat. Also, their edible snack bones are a good treat and long lasting chew. The best of all though
probably is their Healthy Edibles Roar-hide bones, which are specifically designed to be the most easily digestible rawhide on
Another great company for these kinds of treat is Booda. Their Velvets line is a wonderful substitute for rawhide on an
occasional basis. They have chew sticks, bones, bimple bones (great for cleaning teeth), chips and many other treats.
These treats are made of cornstarch, so they should be given in moderation, as corn starch is not a major component of a
balanced diet, but one of these bones (or a couple of chew sticks) a month would be a great little treat. They also make
these in smaller sizes for our tiny little guys.
And finally, probably the absolute best edible chew treat we’ve ever found is the Greenies. Nylabone makes their version of
these called NutriDent chews. Our dogs love these chew treats. They are shaped like little green toothbrushes. The
Greenies come in a size called “teeny” which are the perfect size for Chi puppies. These chews are designed to clean teeth,
they are not made of rawhide but are completely edible, and dogs adore them….they are the perfect chew treat.
Managing your Chihuahua’s Weight
Many Chihuahuas have a tendency to become overweight. This is partly due to their small stature, and partly due to the fact
that, as family pets, they are almost always inside dogs who are babied, pampered, don’t get enough exercise, fed table
scraps, and given tons of treats….all of which can pack the pounds on your Chihuahua. You can determine if your
Chihuahua is overweight easily. While you should not be able to see his ribs just in looking at him, you should be able to put
your hands on either side of your dog and feel his ribs with relative ease. If there is a layer of fat that is preventing you
from feeling his ribs, or making you search for them with your fingers, your Chihuahua may be developing a weight
problem. Consult your veterinarian if you are unsure about your Chihuahua’s weight.
To manage your Chihuahua’s weight, you must begin by feeding him only the recommended amount of food, which for
most Chihuahuas is 1 cup or less per day. If you feed twice a day, you should divide up the recommended amount between
the feedings. We also recommend that you switch his food to a weight management food. Almost all of the dog food
companies are making them now, but our recommendation is Purina Pro Plan weight management or Purina One Healthy
Weight Management formula. Also, keep the treats to a minimum. No dog should be given more than 4-6 treats daily, and
some vets may even say that’s too many, especially for an overweight dog. There are also “healthier” treats on the market,
such as Pup Corn, which can be purchased at Wal-Mart or PetSmart. Dogs love them and they do not have as many
calories in them as other treats.
Being overweight is very hard on a Chihuahua’s little body. It puts stress on their hearts and knees among other things. It
is important to bring your overweight Chihuahua’s weight down to a normal weight and then help him maintain that weight.
Do not reduce your Chihuahua’s food though. This can lead to disastrous side effects such as hypoglycemia, which can be
fatal if not caught in time. You must keep your overweight Chihuahua on a fairly strict diet. Now, that’s not to say that a
small piece of turkey on Thanksgiving is out of the question, even for overweight Chihuahuas. They can all have a little
something special once in a while…but only once in a while. And “once in a while” does not mean once a day. Our rule of
thumb for our Chihuahuas is they can have a little something at holidays….the same time that we partake of a little
At the extreme opposite end are those Chihuahuas who have a tendency towards being underweight. This is easily seen
because in most underweight Chihuahuas, the ribs and/or spine can be seen just in looking at them. Because of their tiny
size, some Chihuahuas have extremely high metabolisms. Often, these underweight animals will eat all the food you give
them and would eat more if you gave it to them, and still never put the weight on. In this case, you will want to look for a
food that is higher in fat content. Check the labels on the dog food bags. They tell you the fat content. Keep the protein
level as high as possible too, but your underweight Chihuahua needs the fat. Also, for these animals, human food is a bit
more acceptable, but you still must use it in moderation. Don’t switch your dog’s food strictly to whatever you had for
dinner that night. The best method of using human food for an underweight dog is to mix yogurt or chicken noodle soup,
or something similar, into your dog’s regular food. You can probably do this 2-3 times per week. The dog food companies
also make gravies that you can put on the dry food that may help your dog to put on some weight. And of course, canned
dog food can also be a good way to put weight on your dog, but please note, if you’re feeding strictly canned food, it is
very important to have dental chew treats for your dog as canned food is not good for their teeth. Nutri-Cal, which is a
high calorie supplement, can be used, either as a treat or mixed with your dog’s food. This product offers balanced
nutrition and often helps to put weight on. Your underweight Chihuahua may go through 1-2 tubes of Nutri-Cal per week.
If you follow these guidelines and consult your vet if you need additional help, we’re sure you’ll be able to easily manage
your Chihuahua’s weight, even if they do have a tendency to one extreme or the other.
Housetraining your puppy
For housetraining, we recommend crate training your puppy. This process should begin as soon as you bring your puppy
home, but it may take several weeks for him to get it down.
First, a note on reducing potential stress associated with crate training. Dogs are den animals, so the goal of crate training is
to make the crate a den for your puppy. However, for a puppy who isn't used to being confined, the initial crate training
attempts may be a bit stressful for him. To reduce the stress associated with confinement, you will want to start slowly,
and convince your puppy to go into his crate on his own, rather than just poking him in there and closing the door. For
young pups, you will want to have short training sessions (no longer than 5 minutes at a time, but you can do it several
times per day). Start with your crate door open, all bedding in side and nothing else. Sit with your puppy and the crate and
encourage him to sniff the crate and/or bedding. Then, put a favorite toy and irresistible treat inside the crate and encourage
him (perhaps by giving his hind end a gentle nudge when he sniffs inside the crate) to enter the crate to retrieve the
toy/treat. Once inside the crate, give him a/another treat to get him to stay in there for just a second or two. With each
training session, get him to go in and start to close the door. Don't latch it the first few times, so that he can push it open
and come out if he wants too. Then, begin to latch it. Start with latching the door for under a minute, and gradually
increase the time that it is latched. The goal is to open the door before your puppy becomes distressed so that he does not
start to whine. If you open the door for a whining puppy, you are not training the puppy. He is training you! Using this
method, however, you should be able to get your puppy crate trained with minimal amounts of stress and whining.
You begin with a small crate. To determine what size crate you should purchase, go to a store such as PetSmart, where
they allow you to bring your pets with you. Find a small crate that is assembled and put your puppy in it for a short time.
Watch to ensure that he can stand up and turn around in the crate. That is all the room he needs. If you purchase a crate
that is too large, your crate training efforts may be unsuccessful.
Once you have the correct crate, line the bottom with newspaper to make accident cleanup easier, and include some
comfortable bedding. Crate training involves a lot of time in the crate for the puppy, but only temporarily. After your initial
training sessions (detailed above), you will be able to begin your training at night, before you put your puppy to bed for the
evening. Take him outside and let him sniff around. Repeat the word “outside” in a firm voice (not scolding.) When you
notice that he is doing his business, tell him “good boy, outside.” When he finishes, reach down and pet him, or give him a
small treat. If he doesn’t do anything, stay out with him for 10 to 15 minutes, repeating “outside” a few times, and then
take him back in.
Once inside, put him straight to bed, even if he didn’t do anything outside. First thing in the morning, take your puppy
outside again, repeating the same process as the night before. When you bring him in, check his cage to ensure that he didn’
t have an accident in it during the night. At this point, you may either put him back in his crate, or hold him and play with
Another method to crate training begins with a crate much larger than your puppy actually needs. Put his sleeping material
in the back of the crate, and a puppy pad or newspaper in the front of the crate. Most puppies instinctually go to the door
of their crate and potty there, probably trying to get out of the crate. So, as your puppy becomes good at pottying only
right in front of the door of his crate, on his puppy pad, gradually begin to move the puppy pad. Start by moving it just
outside the crate, directly in front of the crate door. Bear in mind, the crate door must stay open at all times when you
begin to move the pad. If you need your puppy to stay in his crate while you are not home you will have to put the pad
back inside the crate for him, when you are gone. Once your puppy has the hang of coming out of the crate to potty on the
puppy pad, gradually move the puppy pad towards the door. With each distance you move it, wait till your puppy is used to
going to find it to potty on before moving it again. If your puppy is pottying on the floor instead of finding the pad, you
have moved it too far and you will need to put it back where you had it before you moved it, let him get used to finding it
again, and then move it again, a shorter distance this time. Eventually you’ll have your puppy pad directly in front of the
door. Once it’s there, leave it there for a little while. Make sure your puppy has spent some time outside and is used to the
grass, concrete, etc, before moving the pad outside. Bring him in and out of the same door that you want him to eventually
go in and out on his own. Once you’re confident that your puppy will do well outside, and he consistently finds the puppy
pad in front of the door, then you can move it outside, just on the other side of the door (if it’s a glass door that your puppy
can see through, even better because he will be able to see the pad. By now your puppy should be old enough that he has
the idea, and he will go to find that pad to potty on. However, this is where some new owners run into trouble. The catch
is you must be there to open the door when your puppy goes looking for his pad. A better idea might be to have a doggy
door installed so that your puppy can go in and out on his own. If you choose to do this, please make sure that the area
where your puppy will be going outside is secured with fence. Once your puppy has the idea of going outside, and is
consistently going out and using his puppy pad, you can begin to move the pad further out into the yard, away from the
door. Gradually move it to the spot where you want your puppy to potty, as most dogs will potty in the same spot or two
all the time. Once you have your puppy in the spot you want him, it’s time to think about doing away with the pad. Allow
him to use the pad, in the correct spot for a few days to a week. Then, when you have a dirty pad in that spot, rub the top
side of the pad, with the urine and feces, on the grass in that area….make sure you get your puppy’s scent on that place as
much as possible so he will know that is his spot. Immediately after doing so, bring your puppy back to the spot, even
though he already finished, while his scent is fresh, so he can begin to understand that the grass smells like him. He may
actually potty again and he may not. But next time he comes outside, bring him straight to that spot and let him potty before
letting him loose to play.
You can let him down, but remember, if he didn’t go outside, he may have an accident in the house. If you see him doing
his business inside, pick him up while he is in the process, hold a towel underneath him to prevent dripping, and take him
outside, where he may or may not finish. Once outside, tell him “outside” as before. If he finishes outside, praise him. If
not, wait with him for 10 to 15 minutes. Sometimes the interruption will be enough to stop him, but probably not for long.
Do not rub your puppy’s nose in his urine or feces. This is not healthy for him and it isn’t teaching him anything. Also,
“spanking” him or hitting him with your hand or any other object serves no purpose in housetraining, but it will eventually
teach your puppy not to trust you, not to mention the dangers of hurting him (cracking a rib, knocking out fragile puppy
teeth, or a host of other injuries associated with hitting an animal.)
Crate training will work better if you are able to keep the puppy in his crate for longer periods of time, at first. The reason
crate training works is because the crate becomes the puppy’s bed, and dogs instinctually do not potty where they sleep,
but sometimes it takes them a little while to figure out exactly what is going on. Once you’ve taken him out (which should
be done every time he comes out of his crate) you can hold him and play with him, but it is recommended not to let him
down. When he tires, put him back in his crate until next time. If you work during the day, it is not recommended to leave
him free to roam the house all day. You should leave him bedded in his crate while you are away. (Don’t worry. He won’t
cry all day. He’ll calm down soon after you leave and curl up and go to sleep.) Take him out immediately before you leave
and again as soon as you get home. Younger puppies have smaller bladders, so he may have accidents in his crate during
the day (as well as at night) but as he gets older, he will have more control over his bodily functions and crate training will
become easier. Once he gets to a point where he is going nearly every time you take him outside, you will be able to leave
him out of his crate for longer periods of time. Our rule of thumb is that until the puppy is completely housetrained, when
you notice that he is slowing down his play and getting ready to take a nap, that is when you should put him in his crate.
Puppies will be ready to potty after waking from a nap and after eating, so those are the best times to take them out.
Sometimes it can be difficult to housetrain a puppy, and on average, males do tend to take a little longer to housetrain than
females. But be consistent and hang in there. The day won’t be too far off when your puppy will be completely
housetrained and will be able to be kept out of his crate as much as you wish.
Your Puppy’s Toys, Bedding, etc.
First let me say we highly recommend that you purchase Chihuahuas for Dummies. This book is chalk full of very helpful
and useful information for Chi owners. It’s the most complete Chihuahua book we’ve found yet.
Chihuahuas are very playful little guys. They enjoy toys very much. But there are a few things that you should know
before deciding what type of toys to give your puppy.
Chihuahua puppies especially love stuffed animals. Stuffed animals are fine to give them as long as they do not have any
hard plastic pieces on them. Remember that puppies will begin teething around three months old, and may take 3 to 5
months for all their “baby” teeth to be replaced by “adult” teeth. During this time, they love to chew on things, and those
hard plastic eyes and noses on some stuffed animals will be just the thing they like. But, if they manage to get them chewed
off of there, the pieces can choke the puppy or get lodged in the digestive tract and cause many problems. Not to mention
the potential for broken teeth. A better option would be a plush puppy toy, made especially for playful puppies.
Another thing to watch for is shoes and socks. Puppies love them, but if you don’t want them to chew on them while they
are teething, you shouldn’t let them play with them from the beginning. We all love to use an old sock or rag to play tug of
war with our puppies, but later in life, the puppy won’t know the difference between an old one that he can play with and a
new one that he can’t, so it’s just better not to let him have them at all. Instead, they make ropes with knots on each end
especially for dogs. My Chihuahuas love them. We use them to play with them, and they also play with them by
themselves. Be careful when playing tug of way with your puppy. You cannot jerk on the rope because you may pull out
fragile puppy teeth with it.
There are also numerous products on the market that can be used as teethers for puppies. We recommend that you stay
away from rawhide, but better solutions may be any of the many rubber bones and chew toys out there, or hard, edible
bones made of something other than rawhide (there are many, many of these products out there.) Look for product names
like Nylabone, Booda, and Kong.
Watch out for your puppy chewing pieces off of toys that are not edible. Occasionally, puppies will take a favorite toy and
chew on it till it falls apart. When you start to notice that a toy is coming apart, or that your puppy is chewing pieces of it
off, throw it away and replace it. Especially watch out for stuffing from stuffed toys and the squeaker mechanism in
squeaky toys. Usually it is best not to give your puppy a plastic or rubber squeaky toy to chew on. Reserve those for
teaching him to play fetch, after teething is over. However, Chi’s do love the squeaky sound, so you may consider using
squeaky toys when you play with your puppy, monitoring him to make sure he is not working the squeak mechanism out of
it as he chews on it, and then picking it up and putting it away when play is over.
Playing with your Puppy
Your Chihuahua puppy will be tons of fun to play with, and we say, play with him all you want. But do remember a few
things while playing together. First, Chihuahuas are small dogs. They are the smallest breed of dog. While, as adults, they
are not as fragile as they look, Chihuahua puppies are a bit more fragile. Besides being careful not to pull out teeth during
tug of war, you also want to be careful at other times. Be careful not to step on your puppy. Also, be careful not to turn his
head too far.
And until he’s a little bigger, try not to let him jump off of high furniture on his own. Once he’s at his adult height though,
he shouldn’t have any trouble with this.
In saying that, we also want to put your mind at ease and let you know that while they are somewhat fragile, they are not
glass. And they are very smart. They will usually get out of the way if they think they are in danger. If you are walking
through the house and puppy is under your feet (which they tend to do at first) and you accidentally push him with your
foot across the floor, you will probably not break him (as long as he doesn’t hit a wall or some other object hard.) He will
learn soon enough that he can’t walk under your feet and will take to walking beside or behind you.
Socializing Your Puppy
While we begin the socialization process of each and every puppy while they are with us, socialization is a much longer
process, usually lasting for the first several months of the puppy’s life. Some of the task of making sure your puppy is
properly socialized will fall on you, the new owner. It’s really pretty easy to do this. Take your puppy with you
everywhere that you can. Allow people to pet and play with your puppy once he’s had his full series of shots. If you have
children in your neighborhood, take the puppy into your front yard…we promise, he will attract the attention of the
children. Allow the children to play with your puppy, under your supervision, so that your puppy gets used to the quick,
unorganized movements of children. Take your puppy to an old folks home (with permission from the management, of
course.) Most of the folks in those homes are rather lonely and would enjoy the company of a visitor with a cute little
puppy. Chi puppies are small enough that you can usually take them into stores without notice. That is good for him too,
even if nobody pays any attention to him, because it introduces him to a new environment. Of course, it’s a given that you
do not ever allow anyone to be cruel to your puppy, as this will result in his being terrified of strangers. If time allows, join
a playgroup with your puppy. Most Pet Smart/PetCo locations will have information on local breed playgroups. Enroll your
puppy in obedience classes. Teaching your puppy to obey basic obedience commands will further his socialization a great
Chihuahuas are notorious for their burrowing habits. They love to have big loose blankets or towels to wrap themselves up
in. Once your puppy is house trained, a combination of a soft bed and a blanket or towel would be the best bedding.
However, during crate training, it would be best to provide shredded paper for your puppy to sleep on. A washable towel or
blanket would also be alright, but a bed is very difficult to clean, so it’s not recommended until your puppy is a bit older.
You may also give him a stuffed toy to sleep with, to make him more comfortable, but be sure you have a few on hand, so
you can rotate them as they need to be washed, in case of accident.
Shedding and Grooming
Chihuahuas, like all breed of dog, do shed. The long haired variety shed a bit less than the short haired variety, but both can
be controlled. NuVet vitamin supplements are formulated to help control shedding. Samples and ordering information have
been provided to you in the puppy kit you received from us. There are also some foods that claim to be formulated to help
control shedding. There are other vitamin formulas on the market, along with food additives (gravies and granules and
such) that claim to help control shedding, but we have not tried any of these so we cannot recommend any of them except
NeVet. Ask a sales person at your local pet supply store about these foods, supplements and additives. Also, keeping your
puppy brushed will help control shedding. We recommend a human hair brush. The kind with the bunches of tiny plastic
bristles works best for removing the loose hair and it is gentler on puppy’s skin than dog brushes. Your puppy can be
brushed several times a week, but only once every week or two is necessary. Many puppies love to be brushed, and very
few fight it, even if they don’t love it. If your puppy is fighting you excessively when you brush him, you may be brushing
Your puppy should not be bathed more than once every couple of weeks, as excessive bathing will dry out his skin. If he
becomes soiled, attempt to clean him with a wash cloth dampened with warm water, or a cleaning wipe made for puppies
(can be purchased at Wal-Mart) before giving him a full bath. When it is bath time, we recommend Hartz Living Groomer’s
Best Puppy Shampoo (or some comparable puppy shampoo) for dogs of all ages because it is easier on their eyes. Puppies
over the age of 8 weeks may be bathed with a gentle flea shampoo (if fleas are a problem. If not, it is best not to use flea
shampoo.) We recommend Sergeant’s Skip-Flea and Tick Shampoo for dogs and puppies, or some comparable brand.
When bathing, be certain that you rinse the shampoo from the fur and skin thoroughly. Leaving shampoo on puppy’s skin
will cause itching. Also, be careful not to allow too much shampoo to drain into his eyes. While most shampoos will not
hurt their eyes in moderation, excessive soap in the eyes should be avoided. Be sure to thoroughly dry your puppy’s ears
after a bath too, both inside and outside. Be gentle with his ears though, especially if they are not standing yet. Excessive
handling of his ears can cause breakdown in the cartilage that holds his ears up.
Cleaning your puppy’s ears may also be a necessary part of grooming, though that depends entirely on your puppy. Many
puppies will keep their own ears clean enough, but for those who don’t, you may have to help a little bit. You can purchase
ear cleaning solution from your vet, but warm water will do the trick too. Dampen a cotton ball with the solution or warm
water (do not make it so wet that it drips) and put it just inside your puppy’s ear. Pull the ear together from the sides gently
and massage gently for 30 seconds to 1 minute and then remove cotton ball. If done gently, this should not damage the
cartilage in the ear.
Generally, vets will recommend a yearly or bi-yearly teeth cleaning for your puppy. We recommend that you follow the
advice of your vet on this. However, you may also want to brush your puppy’s teeth now and then. Probably a few times
a month will be sufficient. You can purchase tooth brushes and tooth paste for dogs at most pet supply stores. Also, there
are several chewable treats on the market now designed to promote dental health. Chi’s usually love these treats, especially
the Teenie Greenies. Allowing your puppy one of these treats a week will help with dental health as well.
Some Chihuahua puppies have tearing of their eyes, which may produce brown spots under their eyes. This is a normal
occurrence in Chihuahuas and it does not generally cause any problems with them except in the show ring. The NuVet
vitamin supplements will help a great deal with this. And there are solutions that you can use to remove these brown spots
should the need arise to do so. Bathing usually does not remove these spots because it is very difficult to wash this area
without getting the shampoo in their eyes. The solutions are available at most pet supply places. Again though, this is only
a problem if it is a problem for you. It does not cause the puppy any problems.
Trimming nails is an aspect of grooming that new owners are often hesitant about. It can be tricky if you’re not careful,
but with practice, you will become confident with it. We recommend human fingernail clippers for very young puppies, or
the guillotine type dog nail clippers for older animals. If your puppy’s nails are clear or white, they are much easier to clip,
as you can see the cuticle inside. Clip the nail as close to the cuticle as possible without clipping the cuticle itself. For
puppies with darker nails the rule of thumb is to clip the “puppy hook” off the end till they are about 3-4 months of age.
There will be a definite defined “hook” at the end of the nail that can be easily trimmed. For older puppies and adult dogs
with darker nails, look at the nail carefully. The cuticle usually ends just above the section of the nail where it begins to get
bigger (it becomes less of a point.) Trim the nail as close to this larger section of the nail as possible. Don’t panic if you
accidentally trim a nail or two a little too close. Your puppy may jump and give you a little squeak, and there may be some
bleeding. Keep a container of styptic powder handy in case you need to stop bleeding (also known as “stop bleed” and can
be purchased at most animal supply places, such as PetSmart.)
Having Your Chihuahua Altered
Having your Chihuahua altered simply means having your female spayed or your male neutered. There are many benefits to
having your puppy altered, and to our knowledge, only one easily controllable drawback. We encourage and recommend
having your Chihuahua spayed or neutered as early as possible.
Spaying your female means no messy heat cycles. Heat cycles can be difficult to manage, especially if you have other pets
in the home, and even more so if any of your other pets are males. Having your female spayed does not put her at any
higher risk for any known disease or illness and in fact reduces her risk of certain types of cancer. A spayed female will be
just as loveable and loyal a companion as an unaltered female, and there will be absolutely no worry of unwanted breedings
or puppies, which can, if bred by the wrong male, prove to be fatal for your female Chihuahua. The idea that if a female
has at least one litter of puppies, it will somehow complete her is false. Animals work on a strictly stimulus/response basis.
A female cares for her puppies because their whining triggers a response in her, not because she feels she has to or she
should, or not even necessarily because she wants too. It’s strictly instinctual and there are no human-like thought
processes or emotions that go along with it. It is not necessary for a female to have puppies to complete her physical or
mental development. And where female Chihuahuas are concerned, breeding can be a difficult and dangerous prospect.
Neutering your male brings many benefits. If you have your male Chihuahua neutered before he begins to lift his leg, the
chances are high that he will not ever begin the behavior of “marking his territory.” Often, having an overly energetic male
neutered will have a greatly calming affect on him, making him much more easily managed, which in turn makes him a
much better family pet. Neutering your male puts him at a much lower risk of developing certain diseases and illness,
among which are testicular and other reproductive cancers. In some cases, having a male dog neutered will also decrease
or eliminate any aggressive tendencies he may be showing, and can put an end to any fighting or bickering between two
males sharing the same home. A neutered male Chihuahua will still be a loving pet, and in many cases, even more so than
Now to discuss the one drawback of having your Chihuahua puppy altered. As discussed previously, many Chihuahuas
have a tendency to become overweight. Having your Chihuahua altered may make this problem worse. Often times, even
a Chihuahua that didn’t have a weight problem before may develop one after being altered. However, the good news is, this
problem can be easily managed. The best way to manage your Chihuahua’s weight after alteration is to monitor your dog’s
weight for a few months after surgery. If he appears to be gaining weight steadily, it’s time to help him manage it by
switching him to a weight management food, eliminating human food and cutting back on treats, as discussed in the section
about managing your Chihuahua’s weight. Keeping your Chihuahua at a normal weight is not particularly difficult, and the
benefits of having your puppy altered far outweigh the possibility of having to manage his weight.
We highly recommend that you speak with your vet about having your puppy altered at your first vet visit. Vets prefer to
spay and neuter at different times in a puppy’s life, so the sooner you ask about it, the better.
Chihuahuas and Children
Many people ask us if Chihuahuas are good with kids, and our answer is an overwhelming…” YES! IF…” All of our
puppies are raised with and socialized around children. However, our children, and any others that come into contact with
our puppies are supervised very closely until we are confident that they know how to handle out puppies. You must do this
also. Just as the puppy must be trained not to bite or scratch the child, the child must also be trained how to handle the
puppy. We will almost never send a really tiny puppy home to a family with small children, but larger puppies usually do
just fine in homes with small children. At first, never leave your puppy and your small child alone together. Always be
there to supervise. You may even want to hold the child and the puppy together and insure that the child is petting and
holding the puppy properly. Of course, never allow your child to pull on your puppy’s ears or tail. Never allow your child
bite or chew on your puppy (believe it or not, we’ve seen it happen.) Puppies are not teethers. Never allow your child to
run around the house while your puppy is on the floor. Often, young puppies are afraid of the random movements of small
children, so whenever your puppy and your child are in the same room together, try to keep your child as calm as possible.
Keep him or her engaged in calm, safe play with your puppy. When the child tires of playing with the puppy, it’s probably
time for the puppy to take a nap too, so it’s a good idea put your puppy in his bed or crate, away from your child, until it’s
time to play again. Careful socialization of your puppy to your child should result in a puppy who is eventually very
protective of and loving with your child.
Your Puppy’s Health
When you purchase your puppy from us, he will have already been vet checked. We allow one week for you to take your
puppy to the vet of your choice to confirm his health. See the sales contract for more details.
You will want to choose a veterinarian and take the puppy to see him immediately. Your puppy will need more shots after
you bring him home. A schedule of vaccinations is found in this packet, but your vet is the best person to contact for those.
In choosing a vet, you will want to find someone who is knowledgeable about small breeds. Small breeds have much
different care needs than large breeds, so you will want to make sure the person you choose has some experience caring
for small breeds. Ideally, you would want a vet who has some experience caring for Chihuahuas specifically. You should
also be interested in how your vet views nutrition as a preventative of disease.
To help ensure that your puppy remains healthy throughout his life, we highly recommend NuVet Vitamin supplements. We
have found that they purify and beautify the coat, reduce tearing, and help to keep your puppy at his ideal weight, in addition
to helping to protect your puppy from over 50 major health problems common to canines. Unlike other “vitamin
supplements” on the market that are almost completely sugar and wheat, holding absolutely no nutritional value for your
puppy at all, NuVet Vitamins are a complete vitamin and mineral supplement that is proven to help reduce the risk of disease,
and help reduce the risk and severity of many problems associated with small breed dogs (not necessarily all associated with
Chihuahuas) such as cancer, reproductive disorders, joint problems, upper respiratory problems, heart disease,
hypoglycemia and many others. (NuVet also offers a vitamin supplement specially designed to help improve joint health,
which is important in Chihuahuas due to their size.) A sample of NuVet Vitamins, along with ordering information, is
provided in your Puppy Care package. Many vets will tell you that your puppy does not need a vitamin supplement. Vets
are trained in clinical care, and have very little to no training in nutrition. But we know that vitamin and mineral supplements
are great for humans, to help ward off disease and other problems. Chihuahuas have the same needs, and their nutrition
must also be balanced, so that they get all the nutrients that they need. There is no better way to do that than by giving
them NuVet Plus supplements.
Schedule of Shots
Your puppy has already had his six-week shots for sure. If he has been with us longer, he may have already had others as
well. We’ll provide you with a shot record at the time of pickup so you will know which shots he has received. He will
also have received the appropriate number of worming treatments while he was with us. Your vet may or may not choose
to continue worming treatments. Our shot schedule is 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 weeks.
All vets differ in their shot schedules though. Some give 4, some only give 2 or 3. This will be up to your vet. By age 15
weeks, your vet will give your puppy a Rabies vaccination.
Rabies vaccinations should be updated each year, and it is required by law that you do so. You also must have the Rabies
tag on your dog’s collar. Your vet will probably want your puppy on heartworm preventative treatment, and he/she may
wish to give annual booster shots of the combination vaccines for added protection.
All dogs are prone to parasites, including but not limited to fleas, ticks, round worms, hook worms, and tape worms. Your
puppy will have been dewormed for round worms and hook worms before leaving us. We do not have a problem with tape
worms here, but they are treated differently from hook worms and round worms. Your vet will provide treatment for those
if necessary. Symptoms of parasitic worm infestation in your puppy can vary from lack of appetite to excessive appetite,
and rapid weight loss to something that resembles the “pot belly” effect. Also, whitening of the gums and even a slight
fever can be an indication of parasitic worm infestation. Your vet will be able to treat this fairly simply and inexpensively.
Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes are a bigger problem for dogs. Ticks can cause several diseases such as lyme disease, Rocky
Mountain spotted fever and several others. Mosquitoes can carry the larvae for heartworms, and infect dogs with them by
biting them. Fleas can pass on parasitic worms of the digestive system. But, the good news is that there is a simple way to
prevent this. We recommend using Frontline Flea and Tick preventative with added mosquito repellant. You can use either
the spray or the drop formula that is placed between the dog’s shoulder blades. Especially for puppies, the drops are safer.
But be sure to follow the instructions on the package and do not use anything on puppies that are too young for it. For very
young puppies, a mild flea and tick shampoo should do the trick. We recommend Sergeants Skip-flea and tick Shampoo
Recommended Place to Purchase Pet Items
For your puppy’s basic needs, such as food, food/water bowls, treats, bedding, crates and some basic toys, Wal-Mart is as
good a place as any to purchase these things, and they usually cost less than pet supply stores. (Wal-Mart doesn’t carry
some brands of dog food, such as Max, Science Diet and Eukanuba.)
If you live in the Fort Smith area, there is a Petco store on Rogers Avenue. They carry many premium dog foods, toys and
treats. You can also check PetSmart online at www.petsmart.com . They have the largest selections of those things your
puppy will need, including items you cannot get at Wal-Mart, but they do cost a little more.
There are many other reputable pet supply places online that sell pet supplies at greatly discounted prices. Some of these
places prices are lower even including shipping. We have many links to pet supply places on our website at www.
chichibabies.com/links . There are many others, but these are some of the places we recommend:
Drs. Foster and Smith www.drsfostersmith.com
King Wholesale www.kingwholesale.com (requires a minimum $25 order)
Jeffers Pets www.jefferspets.com
Myths about the Chihuahua
There are many myths associated with Chihuahuas. We just wanted to clear a few of them up for you.
First, Chihuahuas are not naturally mean or temperamental. In fact, they are probably one of the most loving and loyal
breeds of dog there are. They are very “owner-oriented.” They attach very strongly to their owners. For this reason,
people think that they are not good for families, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. They have the ability to attach
strongly to more than one person, and the more family members you have, the more people your puppy has to love. Some
people also think that Chihuahuas are not good with children, but that is a myth as well. Chihuahuas are small, true, but
they actually love children if the children are taught how to handle them properly. We do recommend a puppy that will be
larger as an adult for a family with children though, as the really tiny puppies are more susceptible to injury. Chihuahuas
are not mean unless they are trained to be mean or they are mistreated. They are very friendly and loving. Sometimes they
are skeptical of strangers, but once they get to know you, they usually fall in love with you.
Next, in looking around online and in local newspapers and such, we have become disheartened by the use of words such
as “teacup” and “tiny toy” and “pocketbook” when used to describe Chihuahuas. The fact is there are only two varieties of
Chihuahua…long coat and short coat. All Chihuahuas fall under the category of “Toy Breeds” no matter what their size. So
called “teacup” Chihuahuas are not a special breed of dog. They are small Chihuahuas and nothing more, and their
monetary value is no more or less than a bigger Chihuahua. Unfortunately, breeders are taking more and more to breeding
their puppies for the smallest size possible, calling them “teacups” or “tiny toys” and selling them for ridiculous prices. The
truth usually is, if you are purchasing a puppy that the breeder calls a “teacup” what you are really purchasing is the runt of
Often these “teacup” Chihuahuas are unhealthy and have shorter life spans, require much more medical treatment
throughout their lives, and besides being more expensive to
purchase, they also tend to be more expensive to raise and keep. Chihuahuas are not normally supposed to be 1-2 pound
dogs. That is an abnormality that popped up somewhere along the way and some breeders out there decided it was
different so they wanted to enhance it. As a result, the reputation of the breed has suffered along with the health and well
being of the animals.
History of the Chihuahua
While the origination of the Chihuahua is not certain, and there is much debate among breed historians whether the
Chihuahua originated in Mexico or Asia, the average person associates Chihuahuas as being of Mexican descent. A canine
looking remarkably similar to the Chihuahua has been found in ancient paintings and pictures from cultures such as the
Aztecs, Toltecs and Olmecs that once ruled the lands which are now Mexico. It is believed that the Aztecs domesticated
the early Chihuahua as house pets and may have even worshipped them.
There are several theories about who early Chihuahuas exactly were. The best source of information on this subject is the
internet. The following are some of the interesting website we’ve come across during our search:
Problems you may run into with your Chihuahua
The most common problem with Chihuahua puppies is hypoglycemia. This problem occurs because their tiny bodies need
more food for energy than their stomach can hold at one time. It usually corrects itself as the puppy grows and is able to
eat more at mealtime, but with the tiny adults (under 3 pounds) sometimes the problem never corrects because they never
get big enough to take in enough food at one time to meet the energy requirements of their active disposition. Many puppies
never experience the problem at all. But, in case you ever see it, we want you to be able to recognize it. The symptoms of
hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can range anywhere from very subtle, almost unnoticeable, to much more severe.
Symptoms can be unsteadiness or “wobbly” when walking, disorientation, lethargy (puppy seems sleepy), decreased
appetite, mild to excessive drool or salivation from the mouth. Some of these symptoms can also indicate a more serious
problem, so we encourage you to check with your vet should any of them appear with your puppy. In the meantime,
should you see these symptoms, don’t panic. Hypoglycemia is easy to treat if caught early enough. Give your puppy sugar
water (or kayro syrup), by syringe if necessary, and follow up with food. It would also be a good idea to purchase a tube
of Nutri-Cal (you can get it in any vet’s office for about $7-8/tube.) If you have this handy when you recognize these
symptoms, following up the sugar water with Nutri-Cal and then food will help your puppy to recover faster. Recovery
usually occurs fully within an hour or two. If not, you should contact your vet and investigate other causes for your puppy’
s symptoms. If your puppy is experiencing more severe symptoms, or if, after the sugar water, your puppy’s condition
continues to worsen, it is imperative that you seek the advise of your veterinarian immediately. If not treated properly,
hypoglycemia can be fatal. The Nutri-Cal, if given one teaspoon daily, will also help to prevent hypoglycemia.
Another problem, though not as common as hypoglycemia, is hypocalcemia, or low blood calcium. This has the same
cause as hypoglycemia and it also causes the same symptoms in many cases, but there is one characteristic symptom that is
not common to hypoglycemia, and that is uncontrollable shivering. All Chihuahuas may shiver when they are cold or
nervous, but hypocalcemia produces shivering without any noticeable cause and the shivering can be mild to severe, but is
always uncontrollable. This has a very easy fix as well. Your puppy is telling you he needs calcium, so that’s what you
give him. He can have warm milk or yogurt to stop the shivering immediately, and afterwards, you should consult your vet
about a calcium supplement additive for his diet.
Kennel Cough, also called Bordetella, sometimes appears in puppies, though we do not have a problem with it in our dogs.
Most of the time, the only real symptom of this condition is wheezing or coughing. Treatment is available through your
veterinarian for this condition, and it usually clears up in a matter of 7-10 days with treatment.
Worms are another common problem with puppies. We try to ensure that our puppies go home worm free, but we do not
guarantee that your puppy will be free from any worms, as some of them do not show in the stool until after treatment. We
do begin worming puppies for round worms and hookworms at two weeks of age. Other types of worms require different
treatment. For instance, tapeworms require a pill (called Dronsit), which can be purchased online and probably most feed
stores without a prescription.
Tapeworms look like bits of rice. Generally the only symptoms of tapeworms are actually seeing segments of the worms
passed with the stool, but sometimes diarrhea or whitening of the gums may be present also. The pill containing Dronsit,
mentioned above, administered 1-2 times, will be effective in getting rid of tapeworms.
Roundworms look a bit like spaghetti, long and round and brownish white or pinkish white in color. Symptoms of
roundworms are dull coat, pot-bellied appearance, poor weight gain, vomiting or coughing, diarrhea or constipation (often
alternating between the two.) An over the counter wormer containing pyrantel pamoate administered every 5-7 days for 2-
3 weeks should be effective in ridding your puppy of roundworms.
Hookworms are very thin and about ½ inch in length, but they will not be present in the stool until after treatments, as they
hook into the small intestine of the animal. Symptoms of hookworms are weight loss, loss of appetite, diarrhea (especially
bloody or dark diarrhea), and vomiting. The same over the counter wormer used for roundworms (pyrantel pamoate) will
treat your puppy for hookworms also.
Whipworms are long and thin and usually larger on one end (the head) and tapering off to a point on the other end, but you
usually will not see these until after treatment either because they attach to the large intestine wall. Symptoms of
whipworms are blood-streaked diarrhea, lethargy, and weight loss. Panacur (or other wormer containing fenbendazole)
purchased from your veterinarian will rid your puppy of whipworms.
Please always be sure to contact your vet if you see anything happening with your puppy that you are unsure of.
A Final Word
We know that we have provided you with a great deal of information in your puppy kit. And we know that you may have
already researched some of these topics on your own. We also know that you may have read conflicting or different advice
on any given topic, so with all this different information floating around, it’s easy to get confused. In the end though, no
one technique works every time, on every puppy. That’s why there are so many different ways to do things. You may
have read three different methods for housetraining. There is a good possibility that all three methods have worked for
someone, with some puppy, somewhere. No one method is more or less right than the others. It’s just a matter of finding
the method that works best for your puppy. Our final piece of advice to you is, try each method for any given topic and
see which one your puppy responds to better. If your puppy does not seem to pick up on crate training, then try paper or
pad training and see if he does better at that. It’s trial and error when it comes to raising puppies. No one method is ever a
guaranteed means of getting every single puppy trained the way you want them trained. Be patient with your puppy and
eventually, you’ll find the best method for you and your new furry friend. But, if you find that you get lost in the sea of
information that you have in front of you, please feel free to contact us. We’re always here to help.
Chihuahuas for Dummies, by Jacqueline O’Neil, published by Howell Book House, Hungry Minds, Inc.
Found at www.amazon.com, www.hungryminds.com or your nearest PetSmart store
Kennel Club Books, Breeder’s Best, Chihuahua, by Ann Hearn, published by Kennel Club Books, LLC
Found at www.kennelclubbooks.com
Chihuahuas, by Beverly Pisano, published by T. F. H. Publications, Inc.
Found at your nearest PetSmart store
Chihuahua, A Comprehensive Guide to Owning and Caring for Your Dog, by Barbara J. Andrews, published by Kennel
Club Books, LLC
Found at www.kennelclubbooks.com
A New Owners Guide to a Happy Healthy Pet, The Chihuahua, by E. Ruth Terry, published by Howell Book House, Hungry
Found at your nearest PetSmart store
The Essential Chihuahua, consulting editor, Ian Dunbar Ph.D. MRCVS, published by Howell Book House, Hungy Minds Inc.
Found at www.hungryminds.com