Cheat Sheet

Chihuahuas For Dummies

From Chihuahuas For Dummies, 2nd Edition by Jacqueline O'Neil

As endearing and expressive as Chihuahuas are, it’s no wonder they’re a popular Toy dog breed. If you’re in the market for a Chihuahua puppy, you need to know how to identify a healthy, happy animal — and then know what items to stock up on at the pet store. Going to the veterinarian is something you and your pup will do regularly, so tips on finding a good vet and how to prepare for your dog’s first visit count as valuable info.

How to Select a Chihuahua Puppy

When you decide to bring a Chihuahua puppy into your life, you need to choose with your head as well as your heart. The tips in the following list can help you bring home a puppy you’ll be happy to raise:

  • Trust your instincts. Does one puppy catch your eye immediately? First impressions are important, and love at first sight can last a lifetime. But take time to ensure that your furry favorite is healthy and has a pleasing personality.

  • Be observant. Watch the puppies play together for several minutes without human interference. Your best bet is a puppy in the middle of the pecking order — neither the bully nor the scaredy-cat.

  • Eye the eyes. They should be bright, alert, and clear of mucous. (Don’t mistake clear tears for mucous, though.)

  • Check the coat. A healthy coat is smooth to the touch and glossy, with no bald patches. No puppy should have skin showing through on its back or sides.

  • Know the nose. Breathing should be quiet and rhythmic and the nostrils should be free of mucous.

  • Note how puppies move when they play. Despite a bit of baby clumsiness, they should appear quick, bouncy, and agile, standing straight on legs that look strong enough to carry their bodies.

Shopping for Gear for Your Chihuahua

If you’re introducing a Chihuahua to the household, you need to make your new furry friend feel welcome by purchasing items to meet a small canine’s needs. The following shopping list offers the essentials and some not-so essentials:

Two dishes — one for water and one for food Nail clippers Dog bed (optional)
Puppy (or dog) food Toothbrush and doggie toothpaste Warm sweater (if it’s chilly outdoors)
Collar Shampoo (Long-coated Chihuahuas also need coat conditioner) Pooper-scooper
Leash Three or four toys Identification tag
Natural-bristle brush (Plus a hard rubber comb and a mat splitter if you have a long-coated Chi) Dog crate An excellent veterinarian

How to Find a Veterinarian for Your Chihuahua

Taking responsibility for bringing a Chihuahua into your home means taking responsibility for your dog’s health, so you need to find a vet as soon as your pooch comes home — or even sooner if your pup is still getting puppy shots. Sharpen your search for a good vet with one or more of the tactics in the following list:

  • Ask your Chihuahua’s breeder. Even if the breeder lives far away, he or she may have sold pups to people in your area who can recommend a vet.

  • When you see people walking Toy dogs in your neighborhood, ask them what vets they use and if they’re satisfied with the quality of care.

  • Call the nearest major veterinary hospital for recommendations.

What to Do before Your Chihuahua’s First Visit to the Vet

Just as you have an annual checkup with your doctor, your Chihuahua should see the vet regularly. Once you get the hang of them, they’re no big deal, but you can use the tips on the following list to help get you through your Chihuahua’s first checkup:

  • To reduce the probability of carsickness, feed your dog a couple of biscuits an hour or more before driving to the clinic.

  • Take along a roll of paper towels and a container of wet wipes in case a quick cleanup is necessary.

  • Take a copy of your dog’s health record.

  • Transport your dog in a crate. Secure the crate so it won’t tumble if you have to swerve or make a quick stop.

  • Make a list of your dog care questions and bring it along. Vets are glad to answer appropriate questions about feeding, grooming, toenail trimming, and anything else related to your Chihuahua’s health.

  • Take notes when the veterinarian gives instructions.

  • Follow the instructions exactly. Medications must be given at the right time and in the correct dosage or they won’t work.

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