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The tiny, delicate little Chihuahua is the UK’s second most popular dog breed overall, and their small size brings a number of advantages that can make housing and caring for a Chihuahua somewhat easier than for other, larger dog breeds.
However, caring for a very small dog like a Chihuahua also comes with some unique challenges that don’t occur with larger breeds, which means that you need to plan your dog’s care and management with this in mind in order to ensure that your dog is safe and comfortable at home.
In this article we will share five tips and things to consider when it comes to keeping a Chihuahua safe and happy within their home, in order to give you a head start. Read on to learn more.
Big dogs need big fences to keep them contained within their yard or garden, and this can be challenging to achieve. However, small Chihuahuas are often adept at escaping from their homes through very small spaces, either because they simply don’t see the barrier for what it is or because their inquisitive natures mean that things outside often catch their eyes and prompt them to investigate.
A small Chihuahua out loose on their own is at great risk of harm or injury from traffic and other hazards, and they are also tempting targets for theft as well. This means that you will need to take a Chihuahua’s eye view to your home and garden, and how you secure them to contain your dog.
Your fencing might not need to be overly tall, but it does need to be solid – a Chihuahua will easily slip out under a low fence, or be able to climb out through wire or mesh. If you also have a cat, think about where your cat flap is located and ensure your dog can’t use it to go outside on their own – and beware of an opportunistic Chihuahua simply slipping unnoticed out of your door if you open it for guests!
Even small stairs and steps can be quite challenging for a dog as small as a Chihuahua, and if you want your dog to be able to navigate your home with ease, you might need to look at ways to make this easier.
Even very small Chihuahuas might be able to climb or jump up steps (even if wide or relatively high) but if your dog struggles, you may need to think about putting in a ramp or interim step to make things easier. This is something to keep an eye out for as your dog gets older too, as they won’t be as spry as they used to be.
Chihuahuas don’t have a huge amount of body fat and this combined with their small size and in the case of shorthaired Chihuahuas, fine, thin fur, means that maintaining a stable body temperature can be a challenge for dogs of the breed.
It is important to create a stable temperature at home so that your dog doesn’t get too chilly when the weather is cold, and to consider the use of coats and booties when you take your dog walking.
Provide a nice snuggly insulated bed for your dog, and think about how comfortable they are at night or when you’re out, when many people turn their heating off or down.
Hard floors are often preferred by many dog owners over carpeting, because hard floors are less likely to get stained or marked, or collect shed dog hair. However, certain types of hard floors can be slippery for dogs to walk on, which can make it harder for a small dog to get around or make them feel unsteady on their feet.
Consider using rugs and runners to make it easier if this is the case, and if you do have carpets at home, remember to clean them regularly so that they don’t begin to host fleas or other parasites that can live within the home even if your dog themselves is flea-free.
All dogs need toys to chew on, and Chihuahuas are no different. Provide your dog with plenty of chew toys and keep an eye on what they’ve got in their mouths to ensure that it is safe and suitable. Beware of things at floor level that your dog might be able to reach and chew – such as electrical cables behind a TV or running under a sofa that a larger dog would not be able to access.
Also, ensure that there’s nothing lying around at ground level or low down that our Chihuahua might be able to get to and that is unsuitable or potentially harmful for them.
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