Like his short-haired counterpart, the long-haired Chihuahua provides an energetic, loving companion in a pint-sized package. Caring for this dinky dog does not require an unusual amount of attention, but his small size means you must take certain precautions to ensure his safety.
Take your purse-sized pup to see the veterinarian on a regular schedule to keep up-to-date on his vaccinations. Regular checkups offer a foundation to keep track of health issues that may occur, as the Chihuahua is prone to various conditions such as heart murmurs and a collapsed trachea.
Feed your long-hair a high-quality dog food. Chihuahuas have a high metabolism and use up a large amount of energy as they play, so the exact amount of food they need will vary according to their activity levels and overall health. Feed your Chihuahua a quarter-cup to a half-cup of dog food daily. Split the feeding into multiple meals if necessary.
Keep your long-hair clean. While your Chihuahua isn't exactly in the same league as the Shih Tzu for hair care complexity, he'll need attention to keep from turning into a walking mat. Brush him at least once a week to remove loose, dead hair, and increase the schedule and the amount of time you spend brushing if he's shedding more than usual. Bathe him every couple of months or as necessary. Keep his nails short with regular trims, and check his ears and eyes every week to watch for signs of infection or irritation. Brush his teeth daily to prevent dental health issues.
Keep your long-hair safe. Your Chihuahua's small stature makes him easily portable but can leave him vulnerable to injury in situations that would be of no risk to other dogs. Do not leave him outside alone, as large hunting birds could snatch him up or he could fall victim to larger unleashed dogs or other animals of prey. Provide steps to climb up and down from the couch or bed to prevent injury from jumping. Use a kennel to keep him out from underfoot if necessary or when you're going out.
Give your long-hair lots of opportunity to play. Chihuahuas are little hairy balls of pure energy, and they need to release that energy to stay healthy. Take your Chihuahua for a daily walk to give him some exercise, or let him run and play in an enclosed yard. Offer him a variety of toys to play with inside, and help him burn off all his excess energy.
- Chihuahuas are chewers as puppies, so offer them plenty of toys and treats to give them an appropriate way to release the urge to gnaw.
- Even though your Chihuahua sports a long coat, that doesn't mean he's not susceptible to extreme temperatures. Keep him warm in the cooler part of the year and cool in the summer months to prevent health problems.
- Dog nails have a blood vein inside, called the quick, that can bleed and cause the animal pain if cut. Ask your veterinarian or a groomer to show you how to trim your Chihuahua's nails safely to avoid hurting him.
Jane Williams began her writing career in 2000 as the writer and editor of a nationwide marketing company. Her articles have appeared on various websites. Williams briefly attended college for a degree in administration before embarking on her writing career.