Chihuahua dogs are excitable little pups that make wonderful companions. This toy breed dog works well in both big and small homes and is good for a person on the go, as their small size makes them easy travellers. If you are interested in getting a Chihuahua, knowing a bit about the health of these dogs will prepare you to be the best caretaker of your new puppy.
Exercise is key to a Chihuahua's health, as these little dogs are very active and have lots of energy. Although you can carry them if you are travelling, you still need to ensure that your Chihuahua puppy gets at least three walks a day for at least 10 to 15 minutes per walk. For more exercise, you can go jogging or play fetch with your Chihuahua. If you have a large fenced-in yard, simply let your Chihuahua go play in it for an hour. Without daily exercise, your Chihuahua can develop some bad behavioural issues or become overweight.
Due to their delicate digestive tracts, the best bet for Chihuahuas is home-cooked food, which isn't typically hard to make. You can cook a large batch of food in a skillet and freeze it, warming up a serving at each feeding. When making food, you want 40 per cent of a lean meat, such as chicken or beef; 30 per cent vegetables, such as potatoes, broccoli or carrots; and 30 per cent of a starch, such as brown rice or whole wheat pasta. Feed your Chihuahua puppy 28.4gr of food for each pound it weighs, distributing food three times a day. Also talk to your vet about feeding, because your Chihuahua may need a specialised diet and meal size, depending on its health.
During the first six months of your Chihuahua's life, expect to make frequent visits to your veterinarian in order to get your dog vaccinated and spayed or neutered. After that, you should see your veterinarian with scheduled visits twice a year and anytime your Chihuahua presents with symptoms of health problems. Symptoms of illness include diarrhoea, vomiting, dry nose, lethargy or excess eye discharge. Also take your Chihuahua to the vet if it generally seems to be in pain or has difficulty moving.
Common Health Problems
Like most dog breeds, Chihuahuas come with their own common health complications, and knowing what they are is important in keeping your dog safe and healthy. Chihuahuas can have weak bone structures that lead to joint problems and broken bones, which is why they shouldn't be roughly handled or try to get down from high spots on their own. They also have been found to have an increased chance for seizures later in life, which can be treated with daily medication. The Chihuahua's small size also means that a harmful toxin, such as chocolate, will hurt it much more than it would a larger dog, so ensure that your Chihuahua is kept away from things like home pesticides, onions, peanuts and chocolate.
For coat health, your Chihuahua needs to be groomed and bathed regularly. If you have a longhair Chihuahua, brush it every day with a bristled dog brush. For shorter hair, you can do this once or twice a week. Only bathe a Chihuahua once a month, as you don't want to strip the fur of certain oils it needs for protection. Use dog shampoos made of natural ingredients, like honey or oatmeal, as this will lessen the chance of rashes or irritation. To keep fleas off your dog's skin, apply a flea treatment from your vet every four to five months. If your Chihuahua gets fleas, there is a chance it can ingest one and contract worms, so keeping fleas away is integral to your dog's health.