Everyone who plans to bring home one of my Chihuahuas please read this page.
Before you bring your puppy or chi adult home, you should have the following ready:
- An exercise pen or large kennel to confine your puppy to a safe area when not supervised. This is a MUST! DO NOT get just any plastic and canvas pens as they can get out. Pens designed for human babies are not good for dogs. Puppies love to chew holes in canvas pens and metal pens rust. The brand Iris makes the only plastic dog pen I recommend, they are also best price and nice to look at. Click here to order this dog pen from Amazon.
- Potty pads with a tray that locks the pad down. I like the one in this link that has a grid on top to keep paws clean and keep pups from tearing up the pad for sport. They can still pull pad out of regular locking tray but not the grid type tray when pad is folded to fit inside completely. Click here to order this potty tray from Amazon.
- These are the potty pads that fit into the above tray: Order potty pads from Amazon.
- Non-plastic food and water bowls (examples, stainless steel, ceramic, glass)
- Or adults and older puppies use a Premium GRAIN & Potato FREE dog food like Acana Wild Atlantic Fish, or Nutrisca Chicken (more affordable), the first ingredient should be a whole meat source not meat meal. Potato free is also preferable for health. No preservatives is a given so look for these days. These can both be found at premium natural dog foods stores and online thru Amazon.com (usually cheaper than stores). Click here to order Acana Fish from Amazon.
- A good supplemental food for extra nutrition and also good for picky eaters is Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Dog Food (Click here to order this supplemental food from Amazon).
- What I use for tiny puppies is Now Fresh Grain-free, I use this sometimes when the big bites in Acana seem too large and hard to chew for smaller puppies, available through Amazon by clicking here.
- Plenty of safe items to chew on and toys to play with. The best chews are not processed treat types but whole sourced fully digestible animal products like bully sticks or beef tendons (I get from from Amazon). Stay away from dental chews, knotted bones, no pig products and no rawhide.
- Comfortable bedding, like this pet bed available from Amazon
- The contact information of a good vet with chihuahua experience preferably a HOLISTIC vet if you are lucky enough to live near one.
- A puppy proofed home (no exposed electrical cords, cleaning supplies, low hanging plants, etc.)
- Natural Enzyme cleaner for cleaning up accidents (I like Nature's Miracle, click here to order from Amazon).
- Unscented baby wipes are also handy :)
- for complete list of products that are tried and true at TinyChi go to this page http://www.tinychi.com/puppyproducts.html
Learn the Chihuahua shuffle, as they love to chase your feet!!
Potty training tips for puppies and adults: Your new puppy will need to potty frequently and with little warning. Constant supervision is crucial. Never let a puppy have free run of your home without 100% supervision until they are over 6 months. Your puppy will need to potty after every meal, after playtime, and when waking up from naps. Sniffing the ground and circling are signs that they need to be redirected to your chosen potty area. If you catch your puppy in the act quickly bring her to where she was supposed to go potty and praise her after she has finished. When you are not able to supervise your puppy keep her in an exercise pen with a bed, food, water, toys and a potty pad. This way the puppy cannot get into mischief that could potentially hurt them or get underfoot when your not paying attention. If your puppy whines when in the pen tell them no, and do not reward their whining by picking them up until they have quieted.
Never leave puppy on couch, chair or table where they can fall; not even for a second! Do not let them jump from high surfaces as this can cause permanent injury to knees or back.
Resist the urge to take your chihuahua to pet stores, loud places, or passing them around for people to hold during the first few weeks of being home. They need to get adjusted. Never let a chihuahua walk on the ground around strange dogs as friendly larger dogs have been known to attack chihuahuas without warning. Also, pet stores, dog parks, and vet offices carry many germs and parasites form the animals walking on the ground. You would not want your tiny baby to catch a bug or parasite from walking on the dirty floor/ground. I always carry my dogs in the vet office and pet stores. I never would take my dog to a dog park because they could contract all manner of dog parasites and diseases there; just not worth the risk! If you want to socialize your dog take them to places where you know and trust the dogs have been properly cared for. More important is to socialize your chihuahua with other people. Chihuahuas become very attached and protective of their owners so must be taught to always be nice to others. This stage of teaching goes beyond the breeder and continues until the dog is well into adulthood. Chihuahuas go through a long teenage stage and must be constantly socialized during that stage. Ask your breeder for socializing advice and safety tips!
Toy breed puppies are sometimes prone to hypoglycemia because they eat such small amounts and burn fuel fast. The best way to avoid it is to make sure a young puppy eats every few hours and has food available all day. Older dogs can be fed once or twice a day. Never feed treats that have sugar or corn syrup and feed premium grain free dog food. Do not assume they are eating make sure you see them. Do not buy into the idea that you are supposed to put Karo syrup or sugar in their water!!! This is very bad for their health!! Corn syrup can actually cause long term blood sugar problems. Your puppy from us should not ever have a problem with blood sugar because we keep the puppy home with us longer and let them nurse longer! Our puppies nurse as long as mommy lets them so that makes a big difference versus breeders who force wean at 5-6 weeks old. Also, we do not let our puppies go home at the much too early age of 8 weeks since they are usually still nursing and so small at that age. If you would like to have something on hand just in case the puppy should develop low blood sugar, we recommend natural raw honey preferably from a health food section. Regular supermarket honey is usually so refined and processed that it is no better than corn syrup. We do not endorse the use of Nutrical because it is just corn syrup with a few vitamins added. The first few days as the puppy is adjusting to their new environment is the time to be vigilant in their eating and napping habits. Make sure your puppy is eating and napping regularly the first few weeks in their new home. This will help prevent stress and blood sugar drops.
Clean water is also important – tap water not recommended unless you have under counter reverse osmosis type purifier. Tap water can contain harmful chemicals, parasites and bacteria that tiny animals will be sensitive too!
Just remember that puppies need to eat often and take lots of naps!! When your puppy first goes home they may cry at night when sleeping by themselves as they were used to sleeping with their litter-mates. This will pass as they adjust to their new home. Resist the urge to sleep with your puppy until they are grown as the bed is too high for them to fall from. They might get up in the night to potty and fall off, or with them so small they could be smothered.
Chihuahuas have a hereditary soft spot on their head like a baby called a molera. Sometimes in this breed it closes and sometimes it does not, which is very normal for applehead Chihuahuas. Just remember to be mindful of it and to warn children to play carefully around their head. It is acceptable for the Chihuahua to have a molera, and should not be considered a flaw (you can find supporting information on the Chihuahua Club of America Website and the AKC Website). Some vets that are not familiar with true applehead Chihuahuas do not know that this breed is supposed to have a soft spot, aka Molera, aka open fontanel. On other breeds an open fontanel can sometimes mean hydrocephalus, but in Chihuahuas it is perfectly normal.
Flea and Tick medication can be very toxic to puppies and adult Chihuahuas, so if you must use it seek out the new natural varieties that are becoming available! I only use them if fleas are present which is very rare in my home. Also, Diatomaceous earth is very effective in ridding fleas once you have them. I personally know people with chihuahuas who have had severe reactions to flea medicine including shock, seizure and allergies. Also, my grandma's small dog had seizures within days of the pest control company coming to spray their new home. Their vet said it was the pesticides they used that caused it. So please do not use pest control indoors or outdoors near where your new puppy will be. Roach and ant motels should not be in reach.
Only if we notice fleas we use this product and it works!
It kills and repels fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. Sentry Natural Defense Shampoo, click here to order from Amazon.
If you prefer a spray this natural brand is very good for spraying directly on the dog,
bedding, indoor and outdoors play areas. Wondercide Flea & Tick Spray, click here to order from Amazon.
I often order from Amazon.com as they are usually cheaper than the stores. So you can stock up
on Grain free food, exercise pens, flea control, toys, bones and anything else for your puppy
from this one stop shop if you want to! http://www.tinychi.com/puppyproducts.html
Never leave a dog unattended with a collar on. They have been known to get their collar caught on something and choke trying to get free. Also, Chihuahuas have sensitive tracheas and a collar will pull on their trachea. We recommend a harness for when you take your dog out and get your dog microchipped for permanent identification.
Many people who have not owned a short nosed dog before are surprised to hear them "honk" aka the reverse sneeze. This sound is normal for this breed and other breeds with shorter muzzles as their airway is shorter. This is not a health concern for this breed. Chihuahuas will sometimes do this when they get excited. The shorter the nose and dog the more they will reverse sneeze.
A few Vaccine and medication safety tips for extra tiny breeds:
The amount of vaccine given is not adjusted per size of dog. The toxins that are in with vaccines can adversely affect the health of all animals, especially the extra tiny breeds and puppies. So, my belief is that extreme caution should be taken when deciding which vaccines you decide to give your dog and how often. Every vet is a little different in their beliefs, as there are many views about vaccines. Just remember that you have a choice at the vet, which is why educating yourself is very important! I have many articles available to read from on my page called Natural Health.
Recently the The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Canine Vaccination Task Force has updated their vaccination guidelines as of 2011. No longer are the core vaccines Parvo, distemper, andovirus, suggested to be given yearly. Now the guidelines are for 3 years or greater of intervals. Some veterinarians have not yet implemented this new guideline into their practice. This means you need to speak up for what is right for your pet. They have proven that these vaccines last AT LEAST 5 years! So why make the decision to vaccinate every year when vaccines can cause both short and long term side effects. It is the pet owners choice for everything except rabies which is required by law. There is a 1 year, 2 year, and 3 year rabies vaccine available. Not all vets carry all 3 options. Search until you find a vet with the 3 year option. It is much better for your pets long term health.
Combo Vaccines: We prefer for combo vaccines a 3 or 4 way combo shot for the delicate system of a chihuahua. The 5-way and the 7-way shots are not necessary and should be avoided for small breeds. Puppy shots should be given at no less than 4 week intervals. Though we personally for our dogs do only 1 final puppy shot at 15-16 weeks of age after we have given them their first shot around 10-11 weeks. Then, every 3-5 years after that for the combo shot. Never get the LEPTO in the vaccines!!
Lepto is a very strong vaccine and can cause many side effects in especially small breeds. Many veterinarians do not recommend giving this vaccine to a chihuahua, but some vets will recommend it, so please kindly refuse, as that is your right. Lepto is treatable with antibiotics so giving this especially strong vaccine which contains mercury and other toxins will only hurt their immune system and overall health. This vaccine has shown more side effects than other vaccines.
Rabies: Rabies vaccine must be given alone and not combined with any other vaccines, nor should the Rabies vaccine be given closer then 1 month of any other vaccines. Most Vets will permit you to hold off on Rabies until your puppy is 6 to 8 months old or older. Also, ask your vet to use the 3 year rabies shot versus the one year. Although the first rabies shot will be a one year select the 3 year every time after for the health of your pet.
De-worming- Please Do not "auto" de-worm a puppy under 6 months of age unless the fecal exam shows worms or parasites. After 6 months I would still caution you to only deworm if a fecal sample tests positive. There are plenty of natural worm preventatives and cures. Example HomeoPet WRM Clear and food grade Diatomaceous Earth. There is no point in giving your dog/puppy strong chemical toxins to kill parasites that are not even there! So get a fecal test done at least once a year and whenever you suspect something might be wrong. If your dog does test positive then we recommend getting a dewormer from your vet and never the generic stuff from walmart.
I know this is a lot to take in but it is important to consider these things when owning such a SMALL dog. I cannot tell you what to do with your dog, but please note that certain choices could cause more long and short term health problems than what you are trying to prevent.
Chihuahuas are notorious for dental problems due to the short muzzle. So, we recommend being very vigilant in their dental health. A baby tooth brush often works better than the dog toothbrushes I have found. Use a natural tooth paste like the one from Petzlife. Other brands have chemicals and artificial flavors that little chis can be sensitive to. Petzlife also makes a dental spray that you can spray in their mouth for extra protection against dental disease. Also, getting a dental cleaning from your Vet every few years is a good idea. The safest way though is to find a Vet that offers non-anesthesia cleanings. Something else that helps with teeth is chewing on real bones (not cooked chicken bones though) and bully sticks; note, this should not be relied on alone. Some smaller muzzled chihuahuas will retain baby teeth. This is common in the breed. You should give them plenty of things to chew to loosen the teeth. If they still have their baby canines some vets may recommend removing them at time of Neuter/spay. I have seen the canines take as long as 1 year to fall out on their own and some never do.
Having a Chihuahua is a lot like having a baby to care for so be sure you have the patience and willingness to be a good chi parent!
Thank you for your thoughtful consideration!!
My advice on this website is never to replace that of a veterinarian. The best way to keep your pet healthy is to be educated and informed for the special needs of your pet and make your own decisions based on that knowledge. You should not feel pressured by a vet to do something you are not comfortable with concerning your pets health. There are plenty of vets to choose from so seek out one that respects your concerns and wishes. I have lots of resources to recommend if you would like some more reading material.