Chihuahua collars and leashes are usually the last things owners think about. I mean, what kind of question could you possibly have about something so basic? But with Chihuahuas, the choice of leash, collar or harness is a bit more complicated than with other dogs.
Chihuahuas are so tiny and fragile that you can really hurt their neck by using a leash attached to their collar when walking them. You can cause neck pain and joint issues, reverse sneezing, or if your dog has a collapsed trachea, it can make the condition worse. A Chihuahua harness is a good alternative.
I am not saying don’t put a collar on your Chihuahua. Collars can contain their dog license, rabies tag, and ID tag. The Chihuahua collar I use has my dog’s name and phone number stitched on the collar itself.
Collars can also be cute and make a fashion statement, but there are special considerations for Chihuahua collars. Let’s take a look at what kind of collar and leash your Chihuahua should use, and whether it is a better idea to use a dog collar or harness.
Collars for Chihuahuas
Collars can be very helpful as a means of ID for your dog. Just make sure you choose one of the safe collars for Chihuahuas. It should be specifically designed for a small breed dog, and it should be adjustable so there is plenty of room to grow.
Some of the things to keep in mind when choosing a collar for your Chihuahua:
- Be sure to measure your dog’s neck and add an inch if you are ordering a collar online.
- The collar should never be the exact same measurement as your dog’s neck, or it will be too tight.
- When trying on collars, you should be able to fit two fingers between the collar and your dog’s neck.
- If you have a puppy, you might want to get an adjustable collar, so there is room to grow.
- A lightweight collar is best for a small dog.
- You may want to get a breakaway collar if your pup wears their collar all the time and you are worried about your dog getting caught on something. You can often find this type of collar in the cat section of a pet store.
- If you can’t find a collar small enough to fit your chihuahua, try a ferret collar.
Some of the criteria for picking a collar is just your personal taste and the gender and coloring of your dog. My preference is colorful, personalized collars.
How To Choose The Right Leash For Your Chihuahua
My son likes to take the dogs for a walk late at night. One night he called me and told me to come outside and help him look for Lucas as he had run off.
My son had accidentally dropped the retractable leash. Since the handle is heavier than a normal leash, it had hit Lucas and scared him. He ran, but the poor thing could never get away from the leash. It kept “chasing” him.
It would be funny except for how traumatized he was. I found him hiding under a parked car, shaking. We never used that leash again.
Here are some tips for choosing the right leash for your Chi:
- Do not use chain leash unless the chain links are small. Most chain leashes are too heavy.
- Do not use a retractable leash as they can be dangerous and terrifying to your dog. I know this from personal experience!
- Be sure you have the appropriate leash length for your Chihuahua. A 4-foot or 6-foot long leash is best.
- If you are doing a lot of walking at night, consider getting a reflective leash
- If you have two or three Chihuahuas, you can get a two dog or three dog leash.
Dog Collar Vs Harness
Since Chihuahuas are a toy dog breed, they can be very fragile – even if their personality speaks otherwise. Since they are the smallest dog breed in the world, you need to do what you can as a dog owner to ensure their safety and comfort.
A collapsed trachea is one of the most common injuries a Chihuahua can experience. They have thin bones and cartilage along with a thinner layer of fat and muscle to protect them. A collapsed trachea can make it hard for your Chihuahua to breathe, and it can cause significant pain.
This condition can happen when too much pressure or strain is placed on the dog’s neck. It can take a long time to recover, and sometimes your dog may never fully recover. For this reason, a harness is a great way to go.
The harness allows all the pressure to be distributed over the chest area, shoulders, and back rather than the neck, and this will help keep your Chihuahua pup safe and comfortable.
Harnesses are easy to put on and come in a variety of different colors and styles. You can pick a few to keep at home, so you have some choices around for each walk.
How To Choose The Right Harness For Your Chihuahua
Choosing the best Chihuahua harness will protect your dog’s neck and also prevent your dog from slipping out of his collar and escaping.
Things to remember when choosing a harness:
- To measure for the size, place the measuring tape around your dog’s chest, just behind his front legs. Place two fingers between the measuring tape and your dog’s body to ensure a proper measurement.
- You can get a heavier harness for cold weather (there are even coat harnesses out there) and a lightweight harness for warmer weather.
- Chihuahuas are known to have very sensitive skin, so the safest chihuahua harness will be soft and padded with plenty of ventilation.
- Get one with the leash hook on the back of the harness.
- Cotton and/or nylon are the best material choices for lightweight harnesses.
- Some harnesses are thin and have straps. Personally, I don’t like these, as it makes it harder to figure out how to get them on.
Preparing Your Chihuahua To Wear A Harness
Once you have decided on a collar or harness, it’s time to prepare your Chihuahua to wear it.
After finding the appropriately sized harness for your Chihuahua, try it on them. Put it on loosely at first, and then tighten it slowly to get the ideal fit.
You should then let your pup wear the harness around the house for a few hours so they can get used to it. It will take a bit of time for them to become acclimated to their new harness.
Once they have had a few hours to familiarize themselves with the harness, it is time to try it out on a walk. If they resist when you go to put the harness on them, it may be time to re-introduce the harness again and make it a more positive experience.
Pet your dog first or play with them before putting on the harness. Your little dog will then associate the experience with other things he already enjoys, and this can make it much easier on both dog and dog owner. Always use positive reinforcement.
Since Chihuahuas are naturally a more nervous dog breed, you need to comfort them and keep them calm when putting the harness on them. Give them time to adjust and don’t allow them to become fearful of something that is meant for their safety.
When choosing a leash, harness or collar for chihuahuas, always be mindful of their comfort. Collars have their place, but harnesses are a safer option.