Chihuahuas For Dummies, 3rd Edition
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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.

Chihuahua puppy on sofa ©Alicia Gauthier /

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 pleasant personality.
  • Observe carefully. Watch the puppies play together for several minutes without human interference. Your best bet is a middle-of-the-road puppy — not the one who plays too rough and not the one who hides in a corner.
  • Eye the eyes. They should be bright, alert, and clear of mucus. (Don’t mistake clear tears for mucus, though.)
  • Check the coat. A healthy coat is smooth to the touch and glossy, with no bare patches. No puppy should have skin showing through on the back or sides.
  • Know the nose. Breathing should be quiet and rhythmic, and the nostrils should be free of mucus.
  • Note how puppies move when they play. Despite a bit of puppy 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 can make your new furry friend feel welcome by purchasing items to meet a small canine’s needs. The following shopping list offers the essentials:

  • Two dishes — one for water and one for food
  • Puppy (or dog) food
  • Collar — flat, not a chain
  • Leash — leather or nylon
  • Natural bristle brush
  • Hard rubber comb and a mat splitter if you have a long-coated Chihuahua
  • Nail clippers — guillotine style
  • Toothbrush and doggie toothpaste
  • Doggie shampoo (long-coated Chihuahuas also need a coat conditioner)
  • Three or four toys
  • Dog crate
  • Dog bed
  • Warm sweater (if it’s chilly outdoors)
  • Poop bags or scooper
  • Identification tag
  • An excellent veterinarian

How to find a veterinarian for your Chihuahua

Bringing a Chihuahua into your life means taking responsibility for your dog’s health, so you need to have a vet lined up before your pooch comes home. 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.
  • Check the website of the American Animal Hospital Association for practices with AAHA certification.
  • Look for a member directory on the website of your state’s veterinary association.
  • Seek out clinics or practitioners with Fear Free certifications or certifications in Low Stress Handling.

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:

  • Withhold food a couple of hours before the car ride to reduce the likelihood of carsickness.
  • 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 or soft carrier. 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.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Kim Campbell Thornton is content manager for Fear Free Pets and is an Elite Fear Free Certified Professional. She has been writing about dogs, cats, wildlife and marine life since 1985 and is a recipient of multiple awards for her articles and books from the Cat Writers Association, Dog Writers Association of America, and American Society of Journalists and Authors. She is the co-author of Birds For Dummies, 2nd Edition.

Jacqueline O'Neil is a renowned dog breeder, trainer, and award-winning author who has written more than a dozen books on pet care and training and is a columnist for the AKC Gazette.

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