How to Care for Newborn Chihuahuas

Chihuahua puppies are delicate little creatures who need special care and attention. Thank goodness mother Chihuahuas typically are attentive and instinctively know how to care for their babies. They'll keep their little ones clean, well-fed and comfortable. You can do your part by providing a safe, warm environment for the little family. To avoid scrambling at the last moment be sure you have assembled the necessary items to make the perfect Chihuahua nursery before Mama Chi goes into labor.

Create a comfortable nest for your Chihuahua and her litter. Place the towels in a box with sides low enough for the mother to navigate but too high for the puppies to crawl over.

Put the nesting box in a quiet place away from activity. Frequent foot traffic from the human family and the curious animal family will make your dog nervous and agitated. If she thinks her pups are in any sort of danger, she may move them to a location she thinks is safer.

Keep the puppies warm. Chihuahua puppies cannot control the temperature of their little bodies. Snuggling with each other and their mama will help but if the air in their room is cold, they can become chilled. Use a whelping pad to control the temperature in the nest. Put it on one side of the box to allow the puppies to crawl to a cooler spot if they feel too hot. "The Chihuahua Handbook" recommends keeping the temperature in part of the nest at 85 degrees during the first week, 80 degrees the second week and 75 degrees in the third and fourth weeks after the pups have been born.

Change out the bedding in the nest regularly. Place fresh towels in the box and launder the used ones, disinfecting them with bleach in the rinse.

Weigh the puppies daily. They should progressively gain weight after an initial weight drop during the first day. Their weight should double within a week to 10 days. If any of the pups don't gain weight or start losing weight, contact the vet immediately.

Allow your dog and her pups to rest as much as they need. It's good to hold the puppies gently now and then to get them used to being handled but don't overdo it. There will be plenty of time for playing when they get a little older. Handle with care as Chihuahua puppies are born with skulls not completely developed.

Items you will need

  • Box large enough to comfortably house mother and babies
  • Large supply of clean towels
  • Whelping pads
  • Scale that weighs in ounces or grams


  • Provide your mother Chihuahua with plenty of food and fresh water near the nest to keep her strength and nutrition up during the weeks she is nursing her puppies.
  • Be prepared for the possibility that you may have to help with the nursing duties. Occasionally the mother refuses or is unable to nurse her babies or sometimes the milk she provides is insufficient to allow her puppies to thrive. In these cases your vet can instruct you on feeding the puppies a puppy milk-replacer formula with a bottle or feeding tube.

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About the Author

Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.