Despite its appearance, the long-haired Chihuahua does not require an abundance of grooming to keep it looking clean and healthy. This little dog sheds year-round, with heavier hair loss in spring and fall. Regular brushing and baths will help reduce the amount of hair you find around your home.
Brush your pet's long hair at least two times per week to keep it from forming tangles or mats. Use a natural-bristle brush to straighten out the hair and keep it silky smooth. Examine the Chihuahua as you brush to watch for signs of fleas or ticks, and check his skin for signs of dryness or infection.
The Chihuahua Club of America recommends bathing your pet at least once a month to keep his long hair clean and tangle free. More-frequent baths are fine when necessary, such as when he romps around in a muddy puddle or rolls in something stinky during a walk. Use a shampoo specially designed for dogs, as human shampoo could dry his skin. Wet him completely, then work the shampoo into his hair, moving from his shoulders to his hind end. Wash his head last, and rinse thoroughly.
Dampen a cotton ball to wipe any discharge from your Chihuahua's eyes. Use ear cleaner and a cotton ball to clean excess wax and dirt from his ears. Pay close attention to the look and smell of his eyes and ears; if either seems excessively red or foul smelling, consult your veterinarian.
Towel-dry your now clean Chihuahua to remove as much excess moisture as possible. Comb his hair out while it is still somewhat damp to prevent tangles, and let his hair air-dry. Use a hair dryer on a low setting to thoroughly dry him, if you desire.
The American Veterinary Dental College recommends you brush your pet's teeth at least a few times a week — daily is better — to prevent tartar buildup and cavities. Have your veterinarian check his teeth a few times a year to remove any built-up plaque or tarter and encourage good oral health.
- Always brush your Chihuahua before bath time to remove any tangles or mats before the dog get wets. A wet mat or tangle becomes much harder to work out.
- Place cotton balls in your Chihuahua's ears to keep water out as you bathe him.
- Use a de-tangling spray to help work out stubborn tangles.
- Trim the hair that grows around the pads on his paws every few months to keep them from matting. If this hair mats or tangles, or collects other debris that gets stuck in it, it can push the pads farther apart, causing your dog discomfort.
- Your Chihuahua's nails need trimmed regularly or they will become too long to be comfortable. Dog nails have a vein inside called the quick, and it will bleed if you trim one too short. Ask your veterinarian or an experienced groomer to trim the nails for you or show you how to do it properly to avoid injuring your pet.
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.