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Caring For Your Chihuahua

By Charles Hopkins Published 10/23/2007 | Pets and Animals
Well, you have just returned from the breeders with your Chihuahua puppy. You sit down and start looking around for the owner's manual...What! no owner's manual?

Unfortunately your cute little puppy doesn't come with an owner's manual so you have to dig in and learn how to care for this charming creature.

So, until you get up to speed with the training program, this article will help you on your way.

Chihuahuas, are a good breed for small homes, apartments or city dwellers, after all they are very small dogs and are mainly house pets. You do not ever want to let them outdoors by themselves. They do not know they are tiny and will challenge the biggest dog on the block because they are also very protective.

Now, let's talk about their care and feeding.

You should consult your veterinarian about the nutritional needs of your puppy but after weaning (up to six weeks), puppies should be fed four small meals a day until three months old; from three months to six months they should be fed three meals a day and from six months to a year they should be fed twice a day. After one year, once a day is fine. Chihuahuas prefer several small meals as opposed to one big meal per day with regular adult dog food. Sometimes, canned food is difficult for this breed to digest, resulting in diarrhea.

Bathing your puppy should be done about once a month. Bathing too often may remove the natural oils from the coat and result in dandruff. Shampooing on occasion can actually enhance the sheen of the coat.

You must take care not to get water into their ears, as an infection can develop.

Technically speaking Chihuahuas remain puppies for about two years. This is the training period and you should try to train your puppy in it's feeding habits and potty habits. To paper train your puppy, just keep the puppy on paper as much as possible for the first two weeks they live with you. Then move their food and water just off the paper. Every time you see the pup start to have a bowel movement, just place them on the paper. He will soon learn what is expected of him.

Puppies and adults should have access to fresh clean water always during the day. The bowl should be scrubbed with very hot water but avoid using dish soap as the odor may cause them to shy away.

Trimming the puppies' nails should be a monthly event. You can use cat claw trimmers and it is best to start this nail-trimming routine early-on so that your dog becomes accustomed to the clipping of the nails and to the use of the trimmer.

Consult your veterinarian on the periodic cleaning of your Chi's ears and teeth, booster shots and vaccinations.

It is best to visit the vet after eight or nine weeks. Your puppy will probably need additional shots. You should bring the puppy's shot record that you received when you purchased the pup.

At this visit, they should either be wormed or given a fecal test for worms or other parasites. The worming is less hassle and expense than the test and will not harm your pup.

The vet may suggest that you brush your pets teeth. The small and toy breeds have more dental problems than the standard and larger breeds. Obviously the anatomy of the smaller breeds have left the teeth more crowded in the jaw and, with little space between the teeth, enables more harmful bacteria to remain in the mouth, hence the need for brushing.

Also, owners should be aware of the fact Chihuahuas are prone to weak knees. This problem may occur as they get older. If your Chihuahua has trouble walking, take them to the vet.

Try to stay with the same vet or treatment facility and keep good records. It is important for your pet's health.

You must remember that this is just an introductory part of your "owner's manual" to start you off on the right path to giving quality care to your puppy. You should learn more from books and other Chihuahua owners.

More importantly, your Chihuahua needs much tender loving care with human contact, touching, petting and general attention.

Chihuahuas are by nature gentle, loyal and sweet-tempered and they will give a lot of love and affection to you in return for your care. You will never be alone with a Chihuahua in your household.