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Ways You’re Hurting Your Chihuahua Without Realizing

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We all want the best for our dogs, and most of us do a very good job of taking care of them. But there may be some ways that you are hurting your chihuahua that you don’t realize.

white and fawn long hair chihuahua on brown blanket

Here are the most common ways that Chihuahuas are neglected:

  • Meals and fresh water daily.
  • A safe place to sleep at night inside.
  • Shelter from extreme cold or heat. 
  • Looking out for your dog; protection from hazards of daily life.
  • Grooming; regular nail trims, brushing, and baths.
  • Regular preventative veterinary care, and as needed, emergency veterinary care.
  • Regular exercise and mental stimulation such as training, walks, and play. 
  • Love and affection; speaking kindly to your dog, petting, snuggling, comforting at veterinary appointments, etc.

When proper care is not provided, it is called neglect. When proper care is withheld and dogs (or other animals) are treated cruelly, such as physically beaten, starved, ignored, sexually assaulted, etc, it is called abuse.

If you are aware of a dog or other animal being neglected or abused, please contact your local animal control agency or local law enforcement immediately.

If you need further assistance, contact the ASPCA. They cannot speak up for themselves, so you have an obligation to be their voice. If you see something, say something!

dark chihuahua mix in grass

Ways You’re Hurting Your Chihuahua Without Realizing

Here are the most common ways that Chihuahuas are neglected:

Lack of Veterinary Care

Arranging regular veterinary care is crucial to ensuring that your Chihuahua is healthy and as a result of being healthy, pain-free, comfortable, and happy.

Not Feeding a Balanced Diet

Chihuahuas, and all dogs, require a balanced diet similar to how we do. They cannot survive on table scraps and remain healthy; not only are dogs unable to eat all the same foods that we do, but table scraps do not provide a balanced diet.

Dry or wet dog food is the way most pet parents accomplish this because it is convenient. If you would prefer to make your dog’s food, be sure to consult with a veterinarian to ensure that your dog’s nutritional needs are being met. They will likely recommend that you add a vitamin supplement to the food, such as The Missing Link.

Not Providing Enough Exercise

When Chihuahuas do not receive enough exercise, they become obese and their joints become stiff and uncomfortable, especially senior dogs.

Despite their small size and lower energy level, they still need daily walks. You must consider that their little legs do not have the same capacity as a large breed dog, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be exercised. Try to do two to three walks a day for about ten to fifteen minutes each if possible.

Not Socializing Your Dog

Unsocialized dogs are frightened by everyday situations; this makes life stressful for your dog. Further, unsocialized dogs may bite out of fear, creating a liability for owners.

Socializing your Chihuahua means exposing them to a variety of positive interactions with people (babies to senior adults) and common situations (riding in the car, shopping in pet-friendly stores, visiting crowded events, veterinary appointments, grooming, walking in the country and the city, etc) so that they are comfortable simply living life.

Not Providing Mental Stimulation

If your Chihuahua does not receive mental stimulation daily, such as playtime and short and sweet training sessions, he or she will be bored. Bored dogs are unhappy, destructive, and hyperactive. These dogs are more likely to exhibit unwanted behaviors such as chewing up pillows or shoes, marking inside the house, excessive barking, etc.

Not Grooming Your Chihuahua

As a breed, Chihuahuas have very minimal grooming requirements. However, those requirements are important to their health and well-being:

  • Regular nail trims are not optional. If allowed to overgrow, their toenails will curl back into their paws, making it painful and difficult to walk and further, posing a threat of infection.
  • Long coat Chis need regular brushing.
  • Both long and smooth coat Chihuahuas require a bath at least once per month, or after they become dirty.
  • Regular tooth brushing is crucial to the overall long-term health of Chihuahuas. When oral health is neglected, infections occur in the mouth. This makes it difficult or painful for your Chi to eat, results in tooth loss, and may cause their body to succumb to complications from the infection.
woman holding chihuahua

What Chihuahuas As A Breed Need From Their Owners

Based on the characteristics of the Chihuahua breed and their dynamics with humans, these little dogs need unique care such as:

Not showing affection with food.

adorable chihuahua puppy playing with ball


To properly care for a Chihuahua, you must: provide healthy meals and a balanced amount of treats; provide daily exercise, training, and playtime; preventative and emergency veterinary care; love and affection; shelter and safety.

Being mindful of your Chihuahua’s needs is crucial to being a good pet parent and providing them with the best possible care.

This includes understanding their clingy and affectionate nature, setting healthy boundaries, and not using food as a means of showing affection. It is also important to prioritize regular veterinary care, feeding a balanced diet, providing enough exercise and mental stimulation, socializing your dog, and grooming them regularly.

By taking these steps, you can ensure that your Chihuahua is healthy, happy, and well-cared for.

Additionally, if you suspect that a Chihuahua or any other animal is being neglected or abused, it is important to speak up and contact the proper authorities for assistance.

Cathy signature with cartoon chihuahua
blond woman holding white chihuahua

Cathy Bendzunas

Dog Blogger

I’m an avid dog lover and I’ve had many dogs throughout my life. When I rescued my first Chihuahua, I was hooked on the breed.

I have had dogs all my life and have trained as a dog groomer. I also have been a kennel worker, worked in a pet hotel through PetSmart, and still am a pet sitter.

Read my full bio on my About page


Saturday 15th of April 2023

I must admit that I do fall victim sometimes to my Yoda's puppy dog eyes when I'm eating and he's begging. I try so hard to ignore him, but when the paw tapping comes out and he has tears in his eyes, I'm done! And I have Chewie on the other side of me doing the same thing. Although if I do give them a scrap, I try to give them the most healthy one, like a piece of vegetable or lettuce from my salad, a piece of fruit I'm eating, etc. Thankfully Yoda (my chi) loves all fruits and vegetables, Chewie (my Russian toy terrier) not as much. And I always check online first to see if what I am about to give them is safe for dogs.

I am glad to hear that you're treatments are working and the side affects are easier (I know that those can often be worse than the treatments).


Saturday 15th of April 2023

@Cathy, Thank you Cathy! We're doing our best. Yoda is not too fond of the heat here in Miami, but I hope he'll get used to it. I usually do the same thing with my last bite of food, break it in two pieces for them. :-)


Saturday 15th of April 2023

Good to hear from you Vera. I was wondering how you were adjusting being here in the US again and without your hubby. Yeah I usually take the last bite of my food and cut it in 4 tiny pieces and give that to my dogs. That is of course if the food is safe for dogs. So I'm guilty of it too.

Julie Cameron

Saturday 15th of April 2023

Hi Cathy, I am so glad that your treatments are not too onerous for you, and I hope they are totally successful.

My chi is 15 years old, and has inflamatory bowel disease. She is on a diet of Hills Science diet (light) as ordered by the vet. it is the ony thing that she can eat or she starts bleeding from her bowel again, therefore she does not have any treats as such, because I am frightened to give her anything other than what has been prescribed for her. Am I doing the right thing, she has never been treat orientated, so trying to do any training with treats is out of the question too. I hope you can understand my convoluted email, and can answer my question.

Thanking you, with thoughts and prayers going to you and your babies.

Julie Cameron


Saturday 15th of April 2023

Yes you are doing the right thing Julie. You could ask your vet if there are any treats that you can give her. I bet there is something.

Patricia Osborn

Friday 14th of April 2023

Hi Cathy! I’m so glad to hear that your treatments are working. I’m always sending you positive healing vibes! Best Always, Patricia and (our long haired chihuahua), Freddie Mercury!


Friday 14th of April 2023

Thanks Patricia (and Freedy too!)