Chihuahuas are a good breed for city-dwellers, or those who just don’t have the time to walk their dogs that often. They are quite happy in apartments, as long as there is enough to play with and explore. (They love exploring like most dogs.)
Opinions from dog authorities differ on how often to bathe a Chihuahua. Some say that bathing too often removes the natural oils from the coat, and thus dandruff will result and the coat will look dull. Others say that shampooing on occassion with certain brands of shampoo can actually enhance the sheen of the coat.
It has been my experience that Chihuahuas should be bathed at least once a month, otherwise they develop an unpleasant smell. This is actually due to the skin cells that humans slough off onto the Chihuahua! So humans are the main contributors to that smell that can develop.
When bathing, take care not to get water into their ears, as an infection can develop.
Since the Chihuahua is mainly a housepet, you will need to trim their nails at least once a month. On the smaller Chis, cat claw trimmers can be used. It’s good to start a nail-trimming routine early-on so that your dog becomes accustomed to your handling its paws (not to mention getting used to the big shiny clippers!).
You should consult your veterinarian about the nutritional needs of your Chihuahua. According to some of the dog care books I consulted: after weaning (up to six weeks), puppies should be fed four meals a day until three months old; from 3 months to 6 months they should be fed three meals a day; and from six months to a year they should be fed twice a day. After 1 year, once a day is fine. However, it has been my experience that even into adulthood, Chihuahuas prefer several small meals as opposed to one big meal per day. I have found that regular adult dog food is just fine for this breed. Dry food or a mixture of dry food with canned food is preferable, since in some cases canned food is difficult for this breed to digest (resulting in diarrhea).
Like all dogs, Chihuahuas appreciate “treats.” Be careful, though, in your selection. The following treats, in small quantitites, are useful as rewards when training or as general special snacks: cheese, Alpo snacks, raw-hides, Bonz, peanut butter. However, do be careful not to over-indulge with snacks, as overweight is a health-hazard for dogs in general.
Consult your veterinarian on the periodic cleaning of your Chihuahua’s ears and teeth, booster shots, and vaccinations.