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The Real Costs of Owning a Chihuahua: A Friendly Guide

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Hey there, future Chihuahua owner! If you’re thinking about welcoming a tiny Chihuahua into your life, you might be curious about what it’s really going to cost you—not just in dollars, but in time, space, and heart.

I have been wanting to write this for a while. I often get emails or messages from people who think I can find them a Chihuahua (I can’t, and won’t do that) and they want it for free or for a very low cost because they are poor, on social security, etc. I wonder if they have any idea how much it costs to take care of a dog.

In this guide, we’ll explore all the angles of Chihuahua ownership, from vet bills to those adorable little sweaters.

White chihuahua puppy standing in grass.

Common Concerns and Questions

  1. How much will a Chihuahua cost initially?
    • Beyond the price of the puppy or adoption fee, initial costs include necessities like a crate or playpen, bedding, a harness, leash, food, and initial veterinary visits.
  2. What are the ongoing expenses?
    • Food, grooming, regular vet check-ups, vaccinations, and occasional treats and toys. Remember, Chihuahuas may be small, but their needs are as big as any dog’s!
  3. Are there any hidden costs?
    • Yes, things like emergency health issues, dental care, and potential pet sitting or boarding can add up. It’s good to have a little savings set aside just in case.

A Day in the Life of a Chihuahua Owner

Waking up as a Chihuahua owner is quite the experience—those big, eager eyes greeting you every morning are just the start of a day filled with joy, care, and a little bit of mischief. Here’s what you can expect:

Morning Routine

  • Early Cuddles: As soon as your alarm rings (or even before it), your Chihuahua is probably ready to start the day with a warm cuddle. This little bundle of energy uses every ounce of their tiny frame to show big love.
    And they will need to go potty.
  • Breakfast Time: Chihuahuas need a balanced diet to keep their little bodies healthy and their energy levels up. You’ll want to measure their food properly to avoid overfeeding, which can lead to weight issues, especially in such a small breed. Opt for high-quality dog food that supports bone health and digestion.
  • Morning Walk: Despite their small size, Chihuahuas love to explore and have bursts of energy. A short morning walk not only helps them stay fit but also provides mental stimulation and helps reduce any anxious energy.
Black and tan chihuahua lying in grass.

Daytime Activities

  • Playtime: Whether it’s a game of fetch in the living room or some fun with puzzle toys, playtime is crucial for your Chihuahua. It keeps their mind sharp and their body active. Plus, those little moments of chasing and tugging can be incredibly endearing!
  • Training Sessions: Incorporating short, regular training sessions throughout the day can help strengthen your bond and keep your Chihuahua well-behaved. They’re smart and often eager to please, making them excellent students.

Afternoon and Evening

  • Afternoon Relaxation: After a busy morning, your Chihuahua might take a nap. This downtime is perfect for some quiet hours if you’re working from home.
  • Evening Routine: As the day winds down, another walk and play session are on the agenda. This helps them burn off any leftover energy and ensures a good night’s sleep.
  • Dinner and Cuddles: Feeding your Chihuahua their evening meal, followed by some relaxing time together, perhaps watching TV or reading a book with them curled up on your lap, makes for a perfect end to the day.

One thing I didn’t include but you should be aware of is there will be lots of potty breaks, especially if your dog is a puppy so be mindful that for a while after you get your Chihuahua, you will be spending a lot of time in housetraining.

Cute chihuahua dog by puddle of urine.

Owning a Chihuahua means being ready for a lot of activity and love packed into a tiny package. Their size might make them seem like low-maintenance pets, but they have personalities and energy levels that belie their small stature. Each day with your Chihuahua brings a mix of affection, play, and care, making it a uniquely rewarding experience.

Financial Breakdown

  • Initial Setup: $300 – $500 (not including the cost of the chihuahua)
  • Monthly Care: $50 – $150
  • Unexpected Expenses: $200 – $1,000 annually

Keeping Costs Down

  • DIY Grooming: Learn to groom your Chihuahua at home to save on professional grooming costs.
  • Wholesale Pet Supplies: Buying food and treats in bulk can save a pretty penny.
  • Pet Insurance: Consider getting pet insurance to cover unexpected medical expenses.
Cute Chihuahua puppy lying in a blue blanket. Close-up portrait.

Engage With Us

Did you find these tips helpful? Do you have any cost-saving ideas for fellow Chihuahua lovers? Drop a comment below or share this guide on social media to help other potential owners!

Final Thoughts

Owning a Chihuahua is a delightful, yet serious financial commitment. By understanding and preparing for the costs associated with their care, you’ll ensure a happy, healthy life for your tiny companion.

Thinking About Getting a Chihuahua? Advice from real Chi Owners

The Surprising Reasons Why Chihuahuas Are So Expensive

3 Warnings For Future Chihuahua Puppy Owners

Are Chihuahuas Good for First-Time Owners?

Cathy signature with cartoon chihuahua
blond woman holding white chihuahua

Cathy Bendzunas

Pet Blogger

I have had dogs all my life. I have been a pet groomer, worked in a pet hotel, and a kennel, and have bred and showed dogs.


Sunday 14th of April 2024

Hi Cathy! I am a mixed Chi Owner for 9 years now. Squirt is an amazing little girl now 14 years young. She was a Rescue from a High-Kill Shelter whom I fostered and she never left! I encourage your Readers to seek out Chihuahua's or mixes thru Shelters & Rescues. There are even Rescues that are specifically for Chihuahuas. One Rescue exists out near us in Truckee. CA. They always have adorable dogs in need of loving homes! Thank You!

Cathy Bendzunas

Sunday 14th of April 2024

Yes, I always think rescues should be your first choice. California, Florida and Texas are filled with chis and chi mixes but it's often hard to find them in many other states. But still, check them first before going to a breeder. My Lucas is a rescue from a hoarding situation and he is a chi mix and he is an awesome little dog.