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Grooming Your Chihuahua

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Chihuahuas are an amazing breed, famous for being recognized as the smallest breed of dog, with puppies able to be laid in the palm of a hand.

chihuahua being groomed

Chihuahua grooming is something I have been asked about in the past, so it’s time to tackle this subject.

As a former dog groomer, I do have some knowledge in the pet grooming arena.

Do Chihuahuas Need Grooming?

Compared to some other breeds, Chihuahuas do not need as much grooming.

But they still need to be groomed. All dogs do.

Chihuahuas are tiny and low to the ground.

Because of that, they are more susceptible to picking up dirt, dust and mud that can collect in their fur along with being more prone to fleas.

How Often Should Chihuahuas Be Groomed?

It can depend on several things including:

  • Their environment
  • How much time they spend outside
  • The weather
  • Whether they are long haired or short haired chis
  • If they have skin issues
  • If they have flea issues

I groom my dogs once a month. We have what I call a spa day where I groom all 3 of them.

Not their favorite thing in the world to do, but they tolerate it.

Is Grooming the Same as Bathing?

a chihuahua getting bathed

No, not necessarily.

Grooming your dog will include a bath but it also may include clipping their hair, trimming their nails and cleaning their ears out.

Most dogs only need grooming once a month but may need a bath more often, like every other week.

What Supplies You Need to Groom Your Chihuahua

  • Dog Shampoo
  • Dog Conditioner (optional)
  • Squeeze bottle (optional)
  • wash cloth
  • Several large towels
  • Several small towels
  • Silicone baking mat for bottom of sink (optional)
  • Nail Clippers or Nail Grinder
  • Styptic powder
  • Dog Clippers
  • A few Cotton Balls
  • Ear Cleaner
  • Hair Cutting Scissors (for long hair chis)
  • Dog Hair Clippers (for long hair chis)
  • Dog Brush

Steps to Grooming a Chihuahua

If you have a long hair chihuahua, there are some further steps lower down in this post but below are the basic steps to groom a dog.

First, get all your supplies out.

Put the bathing supplies by the sink (or wherever you plan to bathe your dog) and the rest of the supplies where you will do the other grooming tasks.

Speaking of bath supplies (I learned this from my grooming days), this trick will help control where the shampoo goes on your dog:

Use a clean plastic squirt bottle (you can buy one or recycle a used dish detergent bottle) and pour about a teaspoon’s worth of dog shampoo into the bottle. Add some warm water to the bottle and shake well.

When I groom one of my dogs, I place a fluffy towel down on one of my kitchen counters to do the work before the bath.

The  towel keeps the dog from sliding, it’s more comfortable for them and catches the hair and the clipped nail parts.

Kitchen counters aren’t as good as having an actual grooming table (I used to have a professional grooming table but sold it as I didn’t have the room to store it)  but the counter is high enough to work comfortably without stooping over.


Do just a quick brushing to loosen any dead skin and loose hair.


cute chihuahua getting nails clipped

Regarding the feet, it’s important to keep your Chihuahua’s nails trimmed once a month at least.

When their nails get too long your Chi will have trouble staying out of its own way and inhibit their ability to walk.

Eventually it could cause bone deformities and also cause a lot of pain so please don’t ignore their nails.

Chihuahuas can be a bit ornery when it comes to their paws so  you may have trouble with getting them to settle down enough to trim their nails correctly.

Thus, it might be a good idea to take your pet to a professional groomer or a veterinarian rather than skip clipping their nails.

Or have someone help you to hold them.

Clip your dogs nails or use a nail grinder.

If you use nail clips, make sure they are sharp.

Have some styptic powder on hand in case you cut the nail too close and it starts to bleed.

Just dip the nail in the powder and it will stop the bleeding.

While doing your dog’s nails,  check for infections of the foot and dirt and rocks that can collect in between their paws.


hand wiping chihuahua's ear with white cloth

Fortunately for chihuahuas, since most of them have erect ears, they don’t deal with ear infections as often as floppy eared breeds do.

But they still can get them. So use this opportunity to check for a foul smell, redness, puffiness, greasiness or brown specks.

All of this could be a sign of an ear infection.

Even if the ears look fine they  still need a little care. You can click the link to learn more about how to clean your dog’s ears.


fawn chihuahua getting a bath

I use my kitchen sink to bathe my pups. That’s one of the great things about having small dogs. It’s so easy to bathe them.

  • Make sure the sink is clean and clear of anything close that your dog can knock over such as dish soap or dirty dishes or whatever.
  • If you have a silicone baking mat, place it in the bottom to keep your dog from sliding. If you don’t have a mat, you can place a small towel there.
  • Fill the sink with a few inches of warm water. Make sure the water isn’t too hot or too cool before you put your fur kid in it.
  • The face is usually the hardest to wash, so start there first. Pour a little of your shampoo mixture on a wet washcloth and gently wipe your dog’s face with it.
  • Rinse out your washcloth and go over the face again with just the wet washcloth to remove any of the shampoo residue.
  • Using your squirt bottle, squirt your shampoo mixture starting at the back of the head and squirt all the way to the tail.
  • Work up a lather and then squirt the shampoo on your dogs legs and feet. Lather them up too.
  • Now, squirt and lather your dog’s chest, tummy, genitals and anal area and lather those areas.
  • Now rinse your dog thoroughly with warm water until  the there are no suds left.
  • Try not to get water in your dog’s ears as this can cause an ear infection.
  • You can add a conditioner if you want and leave it on a few minutes before rinsing off.
  • After they are done with the bath, wrap them in a thick towel and towel dry.

How to Groom a Long Hair Chihuahua

Grooming a long hair chihuahua is basically the same as grooming a short hair chihuahua with a few added steps.

  • Give your dog a thorough brushing and get as many mats out as possible.

    You have 2 choices if your dog’s hair is matted:You can shave them or you can de-mat them.

    Here’s a video of how to de-mat them and you will need this tool.

    If the hair is severely matted, you may want to let a groomer take care of it.

  • After clipping your dog’s nails, check her foot pads to see if there is hair in them.
    If there is a lot of hair growing between them, use your hair clippers to get it out.


    Below is a video showing you how to do it.

    There is a caveat though.

    The dog in the video is probably a cocker spaniel and has some severe mats going on in their foot pads.

    Chihuahua hair doesn’t grow the same way so it’s more likely to be long and stringy rather than matted.

    Therefore, you don’t need to use different clipper blades like the guy does in the video.
    Just use the blade that comes with your clippers. If you do have several sized blades, look for size 10.

  • Next shave around their genitals and their anus.This will help keep the pee and poo off their fur.

    Use a light touch when shaving in these areas as they are extra sensitive and you don’t want them to get a razor burn.

  • Now, just do the rest of the grooming steps listed above.
  • With long-haired chis, I would use a good conditioner on their hair after shampooing.
  • Once they are dry, brush them again.

Should you shave your chihuahua?

If your chi is really matted, it may be a good idea.

And some people like to keep them shorter for the summer or for just because it’s easier to keep them clean.

But really, long hair chis are supposed to have long hair.

Read more about shaving your chihuahua.

What to do Between Baths and Groomings

Tiny Chihuahua is combed with a pink brush
  • Daily brushings or brush at least a few times a week.Some dogs don’t like to be brushed but most do or will after it becomes a habit.

    Mine get so relaxed they will fall asleep when I brush them.Daily brushings will keep the shedding down too.

  • If your dog really hates to be brushed or you don’t like doing it, try some grooming gloves. All you do is pet your dog with the glove on.
  • Keep some baby wipes on hand  to wipe their feet or face when a they get a little messy.

I hope this post has helped you, Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions.

white chihuahua getting face cleaned


Monday 10th of July 2023

Could someone send me a picture of a long haird chihuahua after haircut please

Taylor Swift

Sunday 14th of April 2024

@Tony, Here's a link to 10 long haired Chihuahua hair cuts.

Hope this link is helpful!

Holly & peanut

Sunday 23rd of October 2022

I have alittle girl chi . She hates baths , treats do not work . And she hates her feet touched . I've tried everything. Please help !!!


Friday 29th of September 2023

@Cathy, You mention using a tranquilizer for nail trimming events. I have used a product called Calming Bites sold on Amazon. It's a yummy chew that is given by weight. For small dogs use the Puppy type. I use this on holiday firework days. Hope this suggestion is useful to your readers.


Sunday 23rd of October 2022

Read this: It tells you how to work up to them letting you do their nails. Your other choices is to take them to a groomer or get some tranquilizers from your vet before you do any grooming.

Lindsay Pevny

Tuesday 26th of November 2019

I really like the nail grinder for doing Matilda's nails, it's so hard to be precise with the clippers when the nails are so. tiny.


Tuesday 26th of November 2019

I like them too. The only drawback is it takes longer but other than that, they are great.

Darlene B

Saturday 2nd of November 2019

I keep a pack of baby "water wipes" in my front hall...... I wipe Jelly's face and feet after every walk. If it's warm out, and she wasn't wearing a sweater, I go over her body as well. Keeps her clean and spiffy every harmful ingredients and she likes it


Saturday 2nd of November 2019

Great idea Darlene! Thanks for sharing it.


Thursday 1st of March 2018

The photos didn't show up so I couldn't tell you if the ingredients are safe. I tried to google it and saw where Walmart sells them too but couldn't find a list of ingredients.

I have done a few sponsored posts for PetSmart and I did work there for awhile but I'm not affiliated with them. I do love them though.

As for brushes, a wire brush is fine as long as it has the little ball thingies at the end of the bristles. I love the Lil Pals brushes because they are small and gentle. Here's a link so you can see what they look like:

Furminators are great too for getting rid of some of that extra hair and cut the shedding.


Tuesday 26th of November 2019

Thanks Cathy!