Grooming Needs of a Chihuahua

Owning a Chihuahua comes with the responsibility of taking care of their grooming needs. Like all dogs, Chihuahua need to be groomed and cleaned once in a while in order to not only look good, but stay healthy as well. This means taking the time to clip their nails, brush their hair, and keeping them clean in general.

Chihuahuas in Bath TubChihuahua Bath Time

The words "bath time" are often feared by many dogs and Chihuahuas alike, but it's one of the most important parts of their grooming routine and shouldn't be overlooked. Bathing will help remove dirt that has accumulated on your Chihuahua, and it will give them a clean, healthy looking coat.

How often you need to bathe your Chihuahua is going to depend on a few different things. A good rule of thumb is to bathe your Chihuahua at least once a month, or more frequently if they are dirty. If your Chihuahua spends a lot of time playing outside or rolling around in dirt, they will likely require more frequent baths. Also, long coat Chihuahuas tend told hold dirt easier than short coats, so they may require more frequent baths.

You may think this sounds kind of crazy, but it's important to not give your Chihuahua too many baths. If you bathe them too often, it can cause dry skin and dandruff, making it both uncomfortable and itchy for your tiny friend. I have a calender hung in my bathroom with a day out of each month marked to bathe my Chihuahuas. This way I know how often my Chihuahuas have been bathed and wont forget when I need to bathe them again.

Here are the steps you should follow to properly bathe your Chihuahua:

  1. Run slightly warm, almost room temperature water in the tub you plan on bathing them in.
  2. Take your Chihuahua to the tub and soak them in the warm water. I use a small cup to help pour over their body.
  3. Next, cover their head with one of your hands and start lathering their body with a tear-free shampoo that's made for dogs (found at most pet stores).
  4. Scrub your Chihuahua clean by massaging the shampoo into them with your fingers.
  5. Depending on the instructions of the shampoo, you may need to let it sit for a few minutes.
  6. Once they have been fully cleaned, rinse them off. To avoid getting shampoo running into their eyes during this, cover your Chihuahuas head with your hand.
  7. Now get your Chihuahua out of the tub, dry them off with a towel, and give them a treat for being so good!

Clipping Nails

Another not so fun activity for most Chihuahuas is getting their nails clipped. If you don't clip your Chihuahuas nails, they will continue to grow outwards, causing pain and discomfort, which is why this is an essential part of their grooming routine.

According to most professional groomers, a Chihuahua should have their nails clipped about once every 5 weeks, which is about how often I do my Chihuahuas. Although, if your Chihuahua walks on the pavement or asphalt outside a lot, it will wear their nails down naturally. Just be sure to keep an eye on their nails and clip them when needed.

If this is you're first time clipping a Chihuahuas nails, you're going to need to pick up some clippers. Don't use the ones you use on your own nail. Go to the pet store and look for special canine nail clippers made for small dogs. These will not only be easier to use, but will help prevent your Chihuahuas nails from splintering when clipped.

When it's time to clip their nails, sit down and gently hold your Chihuahua close to your chest and pick up one of their paws at a time. Just as we have quick in our nails that can bleed when clipped too far, so do Chihuahuas. Look for the where the dark stops on their nails, as this is usually where the vein stops, and only clip past that point. Be extremely gentle and take your time when clipping your Chihuahuas nails and give them a treat as a reward afterwards. If your Chihuahua has black or dark colored nails, it may be hard to spot the quick. In this case I would take them to a professional groomer to watch how they do it.

Brushing Your ChihuahuaChihuahua and Small Dog Brush

Its a good idea to get into the routine of brushing your Chihuahuas hair to keep their coat clean and tangled free. To do so, you will need to purchase a brush suitable for the delicate skin of a Chihuahua. Don't use one with the hard bristles, instead use one that is soft, so it won't hurt or irritate their delicate skin. Start by gently brushing through your Chihuahuas hair, front to back, and continue doing so until there are no tangles.

Depending on what type of coat your Chihuahua has, you may need to brush them more often than others. Long coat Chihuahuas will obviously have more hair than their counterpart and will oftentimes need to be brushed daily. Short coat Chihuahuas may only require a weekly brush, though.

Professional Grooming

Even with the normal at-home grooming routines, Chihuahuas should still be taken in for a professional grooming on occasion. They will do things like wash them, clip their hair, check for ear mites, fleas, and clean their anal glands. If you see your Chihuahua rubbing their bottom on the floor, this is a sign they need their anal glands squeezed, which is something most owners want to leave up to the professionals to do.

Cleaning Ears

Chihuahuas should have their ears cleaned once a month, or as needed, to help avoid dirt and germ buildups. This is something that most professional groomers will do, but it's quite easy for the owner to do as well. Start by dampening a cotton ball with peroxide and gently pressing it into their ear. Rub it around for a few seconds, then wipe it dry. Be sure to dry the area completely after cleaning.

Video of a Nervous Chihuahua Getting a Bath


PetSmart Grooming