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How to Help an Anxious Chihuahua

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It should come as no surprise to anyone that chihuahuas are prone to anxiety. After all, they are usually smaller than everyone around them!

long hair anxious chihuahua

It is easy to see how such a small dog could feel defenseless. If you have an anxious chihuahua, the good news is that there are many things you can do to help your dog live a calmer life.

1. The first step to helping an anxious chihuahua is recognizing that the dog is anxious.

A lot of people do not realize that anxiety in dogs can manifest as behavioral issues. When an anxious chihuahua chews things up, has accidents in the house, is abnormally noisy, or acts aggressive, owners often retaliate by punishing or reprimanding the dog.

This often has the opposite of the intended effect. Not only does the punishment make the dog more anxious, but it also does nothing to remove the source of the anxiety. The behavioral problems will likely continue.

Try to treat your dog with kindness rather than frustration.

2. If your chihuahua displays any of the common signs of anxiety, your next step should be to determine the cause.

Separation anxiety is extremely common in chihuahuas as well as in other dog breeds.

Another common source of anxiety is having lots of strangers in the house. This can include humans or other animals.

Yet another common cause of anxiety in chihuahuas is loud noises.

Whatever the cause is, your job is to get to the root of it. Only then can you begin to remove stressful situations from your dog’s life.

anxious fawn chihuahua laying on pink blanket

3. If you have determined that your chihuahua has separation anxiety, do not fret. There are ways to work through this and help your dog.

The best method is to leave your dog alone in the house for short periods of time and then build from there. First, leave the house for only a few minutes at a time.

In the very beginning, you may want to stay where your dog can see you through a window. Then come back in.

Gradually increase the duration of your trips outside. Eventually, your chi should start to understand that you will always return home.

Even though this method is pretty effective for reducing separation anxiety, many dogs will still have issues with their owners leaving for long periods of time.

For example, if you are gone for a week-long vacation, you may return to find that your dog has reverted to many of her former habits.

One way to prevent this is to have someone your dog knows very well take care of her during the time you are gone. The dog will feel more comfortable with a familiar person and might be less anxious.

4. If your dog is afraid of strangers, the most important thing to do is to make sure she has plenty of space to herself.

Chihuahuas can feel threatened if there is a crowd around them. They are aware that everyone else in the room is bigger than themselves.

scared white long hair chihuahua

Any animal can get aggressive when cornered, and chihuahuas are no exception. Chihuahuas might also experience getting bumped or blocked because people or bigger dogs don’t see them.

It is a good idea to make sure that your dog has a crate or another safe space that she can retreat to as needed. Let guests know that your dog does not like to be approached.

If other pets are visiting, consider blocking off a room for your chihuahua. Do not let the other animals into this room. Make sure that your chihuahua has a comfortable space to lie down as well as water and toys. This will help your dog feel more at ease.

6. If loud noises frighten your chihuahua, do your best to provide a quiet environment. Obviously, you cannot always control noises.

For example, thunderstorms and sirens can scare some dogs. However, you can take care not to make loud noises around your dog.

scared fawn chihuahua

Don’t play loud music. When using noisy appliances, such as vacuums and blenders, put your dog in a separate room and give her a familiar toy. Check on her after you are done making noise and give her positive attention to reassure her.

Consider purchasing an anxiety vest, as chihuahuas often have good results from them. Anxiety vests are vests that gently squeeze the dog. They can make your chihuahua feel more secure.

7. Many chihuahuas are anxious when traveling. If you are driving somewhere, try to get someone to travel with you.

That way, one person can hold and soothe the dog while the other person drives. If this is not possible, make sure to put a toy in the crate with your dog and bring treats.

Do not scold your pet for having an accident in the car. This will just make your chihuahua more anxious.

Instead, if you know that your dog is prone to having accidents when she is nervous, be prepared. Put down towels or newspapers in the bottom of her crate.

To turn car rides into a positive experience, take your dog to places she likes. For example, check out some dog parks. Or stop by Starbucks for a Puppuccino.

Many dogs associate car rides with the vet, and few dogs like going to the vet.

chihuahua looking out car window

Getting your dog used to car rides and associating them with fun destinations will help reduce the dog’s anxiety over time.

Hopefully some of these tips are helpful in reducing your chihuahua’s anxiety. No one technique works for every chihuahua. It is important not to get discouraged.

If you feel like you have tried everything to no avail, discuss the problem with your vet. Sometimes, there are underlying health issues that can cause a chihuahua to feel anxious. In any case, getting to the root of the anxiety is the key to solving it.

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Evangeline Parker

Tuesday 25th of August 2020

This sounds like my Chihuahua but he constantly whines. Its driving me crazy and my family's at the end of their rope, I love my Chihuahua so much and I definitely do not want to get rid of him. Theres gotta be a way to stop his whining!! Please please please help me help him. Thank you. Evangeline Parker

Cathy

Tuesday 25th of August 2020

The first thing I would do is have him checked out by your vet to make sure there isn't something physical causing his whining. And if there isn't, ask your vet what you should do. I would also try some canine CBD oil as it often calms dogs down.

Lisa

Saturday 1st of August 2020

I went to the Vet Monday and my Chihuahua got shot and oral medicine and she had allergic reaction to the oral one and we had to go back to the vet. But ever since then she is whining and whimpering and aggressive. What can I do about this? She’s acting crazy.

Cathy

Sunday 2nd of August 2020

Hi Lisa, Chihuahuas are so tiny, that vaccines should be given with caution because they can have reactions. For my small dogs, they only get one vaccine at a time with a period of 2 weeks or so between them. And then I have the vet give them a shot of benadryl before the vaccine to lessen the reaction. I also had to search hard to find a vet who understands that tiny dogs should not be given the same amount of a vaccine as a large dog. They can get a horrible neurological condition called GME. We have an article on it here: https://ilovemychi.com/gme-a-deadly-condition-you-probably-never-heard-of/ Hopefully your pup's discomfort right now is due to soreness from the vaccine but I would contact your vet and tell them what's going on because it sounds like she's in pain.

Annie

Saturday 4th of January 2020

How to get my 9 yr. Old Chi to let me know when she needs to go potty. We take her at routine times of day. But she never lets us know on her own. What should I do.

Cathy

Saturday 4th of January 2020

That's a good question Annie. Usually they give little clues when they have to go. You just have to really be on the lookout for them. Most of those clues are sniffing around, sometimes turning in circles or in many chihuahuas, they sneak off to do the deed in secret. I would tether her to you whenever you are home with her by her leash so you can keep an eye on her and make note of her little mannerisms when she seems ready to go. Then snatch her up, take her outside to potty and then praise her and give her a tiny treat.

Sharon Yates

Saturday 12th of October 2019

Cathy, My chi, Dominic, has anxiety with his nails. He gets very aggressive when I try to clip then, so I take him to the vet. Here too, he gets very aggressive and he tries to bite, so they muzzell him, then he fights. The vet gave me a pill to give him about 90 minutes before his appointment. It hurt me to watch my baby be lethargic, no able to walk bc he is wobbly, and he still fought. I won't give him that again! I held him until he was back to his own self. What else can I do???? Thank you for your time, and God bless!

Cathy

Saturday 12th of October 2019

You can gradually get him to be less anxious about his nails, It takes awhile but if you are consistent, it should work. You can read about it here: https://ilovemychi.com/the-guide-to-clipping-your-small-dogs-nails/

Lonna Anguilm

Saturday 12th of October 2019

Our older Chi, Lucy, went blind last spring. When we returned to our Michigan home after being in Florida for the winter, she couldn’t find her way around the house. Plus we brought a puppy into our family. Lucy became very anxious and clingy. I’ve been using something called Ignatia amara that I get from our health food store. One tiny pill in her soft food every day and it’s helped a ton! She still bumps into things, but at least she will wander around on her own instead of just sit in her bed all day whining with us trying to figure out what she wants.

Cathy

Saturday 12th of October 2019

That's wonderful Lonna! I haven't heard of Ignatia amara before. I'll have to look into it.