A Chihuahua is a very small breed of dog originally from Mexico. The American Kennel Club’s description of this breed is as follows: “A graceful, alert, swift-moving compact little dog with saucy expression, and with terrier-like qualities of temperament.”
If you have just acquired one of these adorable dogs, you will need to learn how to take care of a Chihuahua puppy.
How to Take Care of a Chihuahua Puppy – Health Issues
It is important to be aware of the health issues that may affect a Chihuahua puppy.
A Chihuahua puppy is born with a molera, which is an unclosed part of his skull. Caution should be taken to prevent head injuries. The skull is usually filled in by the time the puppy is six months old. However, in some cases, the molera will remain throughout the Chihuahua’s entire lifetime. A Chihuahua puppy is also prone to hydrocephalus, a bone disease of the head.
Because of his protruding eyes, a Chihuahua puppy is susceptible to dryness of the cornea, glaucoma and eye injuries.
Since a Chihuahua puppy is also predisposed to hypoglycemia, he should be fed frequently. Symptoms of hypoglycemia in a Chihuahua puppy are low energy, lethargy, awkward movements and neck spasms. If a hypoglycemic attack occurs, corn syrup or honey should be quickly administered to the Chihuahua’s gums in an effort to increase the blood sugar level.
Other common disorders in Chihuahuas are rheumatism, epilepsy and seizures.
How to Take Care of a Chihuahua Puppy – Feeding
As previously mentioned, a Chihuahua puppy should be fed frequently. It is important to encourage a Chihuahua puppy to finish each meal. This may be difficult in some cases, since Chihuahuas may easily become picky eaters. It is sometimes helpful to mix finely diced pieces of chicken or beef into the Chihuahua’s dog food. However, it is also important not to overfeed a Chihuahua puppy. A Chihuahua puppy that is ten or more pounds overweight will be more susceptible to injuries of the joints and possibly have a shorter life span.
How to Take Care of a Chihuahua Puppy – Be the Pack Leader
It is important to teach a Chihuahua puppy that you, the owner, are the pack leader. Do not allow him to exhibit any dominant behaviors. This includes jumping up on you, growling, pulling on the leash and disobeying commands. Since the Chihuahua is a small dog, some these behaviors may appear as cute and charming. However, if not curtailed, these behaviors may lead to aggression towards humans and other dogs.
How to Take Care of a Chihuahua Puppy – Socialization
A Chihuahua puppy should be socialized. He should meet people and dogs in friendly settings, such as the park, the home of a friend or a puppy obedience class. A ride in the car or a walk through the neighborhood will also introduce the Chihuahua puppy to new sights and sounds.
How to Take Care of a Chihuahua Puppy – Exercise is Important
A Chihuahua puppy needs regular exercise just as much as a larger dog. A Chihuahua puppy will benefit greatly from daily walks. He can also be taught to chase a ball and return it to you. A Chihuahua can even be taught to swim.
How to Take Care of a Chihuahua Puppy – Grooming
A Chihuahua puppy should be bathed approximately every six weeks. In between baths, the coat should be lightly brushed or combed. The eyes and ears should be checked regularly and kept clean. A Chihuahua puppy should have their nails trimmed when necessary.
Responsible dog owners should follow these guidelines throughout the Chihuahua’s lifetime. A healthy, well taken care of Chihuahua puppy has a life expectancy of approximately fifteen years.