Chihuahua Puppy Essentials
I am so excited for you! You are planning on getting a new Chihuahua puppy! Or maybe you just got one and are lost on what this tiny ball of fur needs.
This article should give you a good start to help you check off the list of things you need for a chihuahua puppy.
Your little dog will need a harness, collar, and leash.
A collar isn’t essential as you should always use a harness when walking your dog. I like using collars on my dogs because it holds their ID tags and dog license, rabies tag, etc.
A collar should not be very wide or heavy. 3/8″ wide is good for a puppy. It should be adjustable so it can be let out as your puppy grows. If you measure the puppy’s neck, it is best to do so while the puppy is standing up. A breakaway collar is a good idea so it won’t get caught up on something.
The collar should also fit snugly without being too tight. When you place a flat collar on your puppy’s neck, you should be able to fit at least two fingers between their neck and the collar. This will tell you it is a safe and comfortable fit for your new puppy.
If you have problems finding a collar small enough for your puppy, try a collar for a ferret. I did that with my puppies and they work great. Get the kind with a bell so you can always hear where your puppy is.
When your puppy has tags, it is more likely that he will be returned to you if he were ever to get lost. An ID tag can also go a long way in making your dog more approachable by strangers. It is a good indicator that your dog is not a stray and may need help if the owner is not close by.
Leashes should be 5 or 6 feet long and lightweight. Do not use the retractable kind for your Chihuahua pup. Some find that leashes can get dirty and stinky very easily. If this is something you are worried about, then choose a leash for your tiny breed dog that is odor-resistant and can be easily washed.
The leash should also be durable. Puppy’s love to chew and can easily grab their leash when it is within reach. If it isn’t durable, then you may find yourself having to buy a few until they are trained not to chew on their leash.
Chihuahua necks are far too fragile to be walked with a leash attached to their collar. Pet owners should instead use a harness to attach a leash to, not the dog’s collar. Different style harnesses will have different fits, which is also something to keep in mind.
Measure your Chihuahua around its rib cage before you purchase any kind of harness. Also, check the packaging to ensure you are getting the appropriate fit for your small dog.
If you don’t get the size right, it may be uncomfortable for the dog and even painful if it is too tight. If it is too loose, they can easily wiggle out of it.
Preferably you want the harness to be adjustable too. Sometimes it’s hard to find one small enough to fit your puppy. In that case, take them with you to the pet store and try them on there.
You can always look for extra small harnesses that are made for ferrets, guinea pigs, or kittens if the dog harnesses are too big.
Remember, your puppy will do some growing, and it will be very quick. So, always make sure the size is appropriate for your tiny dog.
Chis are known to have dental issues when they get older, so it’s best to start with a dental routine now while your dog is young. Daily brushing is best, but if it becomes too overwhelming, try for every other day.
Some people like using actual toothbrushes made for dogs, but I prefer finger brushes. Try both (many come with both types in the same package). The soft bristles of these brushes are good for tackling the area that lies beneath the gum line.
You can add a little toothpaste to the toothbrush, too, but don’t use toothpaste made for people. They make it for dogs too. When choosing a dog toothpaste, consider its cleaning power. It should be able to remove bacteria and plaque.
Many dog toothpastes also contain enzymes that have also been found effective against plaque. The toothpaste should also be free of any kind of foaming agents, so it is safe to swallow and does not need to be rinsed.
The flavor will also prove to be important. If it is palatable, you will find it is much easier to brush your dog’s teeth.
Nail clipping is something else you should start early, so your puppy will get used to it. You can use nail clippers or a nail grinder. Sometimes using a nail grinder is a bit easier than nail clippers. It is quicker and often much more efficient.
Click this if you want to read about how to clip your puppy’s nails.
Even if your puppy is short-haired, daily brushing will cut down on dander and shedding. It will also help you bond with them as a gentle brushing is very relaxing for dogs. And with more brushing, you should find fewer baths are needed.
You don’t need a brush with wire bristles as that can be painful, and Chihuahua coats do not need this type of brush. Nylon or plastic bristle brushes work fine for Chihuahuas and gives them a smooth coat.
Lately, we have been using grooming gloves. My dogs seem to enjoy them, and they are really easy to use.
Some people use people shampoo on their dogs, but this isn’t a good idea. PH levels are very different for dogs, so it’s best to use a good shampoo specially formulated for dogs.
HOUSING / BEDDING
Playpen or Crate
You need somewhere to keep your little one when you can’t be with them. I prefer a playpen, but many people would rather use a crate.
Read this about whether you should use a crate for your chihuahua.
There are advantages to both.
Playpens give them more room. It’s easier to just quickly plop them in there if someone comes to the door or something. And you can move them out to the yard if you are working out there.
Crates are smaller, so they don’t take up as much room. They are better for traveling. And they give your pup more privacy and quiet when they need a nap.
Until your puppy is potty trained, you definitely need puppy pads. I like the bigger pads as they cover more surface area.
You can also get the reusable, washable ones too.
You definitely need at least one dog bed. If you are using a crate, you can get the ones that fit inside there.
Get a washable bed (or one that has a washable cover).
It’s best to have several beds and put them in the rooms you are in the most.
I have three dogs, and I have three beds in my office, several on top of my bed (my dogs sleep in my bed with me but in their own little beds), and several in the family room.
Chihuahuas LOVE blankets. They love burrowing in them, and you can never have enough of these. When choosing a blanket for your dog, find one that is 100 percent polyester, Sherpa, fleece, or flannel material.
The size you choose is dependent on the size of your dog. For your Chihuahua, you will want something on the smaller side. Also, read the washing instructions carefully to make sure you won’t have any issues keeping it clean.
FOOD AND FEEDING SUPPLIES
Start your puppy out on whatever they have been eating up to now so as not to upset their tummy.
You can switch them gradually to a high-quality puppy food if you want to feed them something else.
Treats make great incentives for potty training and general training too. Get small or tiny treats as these little guys don’t need much.
Food and Water Bowls
Believe it or not, there are some balls small enough for Chihuahuas. Many dogs, including Chihuahuas, love chasing after balls.
Many puppies (just like human children) need a soft “lovey” for comfort and to cuddle with.
Food game toys are great toys to keep your puppy occupied and busy when you can’t be with them. It also helps with their cognitive development.
These are things that you may not need but are nice to have.
Chihuahua Care Book
Of course, you can find a lot of the same information online and on this site too, but if you’d like to have a physical book at your fingertips to help you raise your chi baby, this is the book on Amazon I recommend.
When your puppy has accidents (and he will), you need to make sure you get all the smell up so he won’t potty in that spot again.
Enzyme cleaners are great for this. But you can also use white vinegar.
I find a sling handy when one of my dogs wants to be held, but I need to be using my hands. I also use it when I’m going to visit friends and take one of my chis with me.
When I had Kilo (RIP sweet girl), I would use my sling to take her up and down the stairs. She couldn’t climb them anymore, but I need to hold the railing myself going up. So I’d carry her in her sling.
Strollers are great anytime you go to an outside public gathering (a festival, cookout, etc.) and want to take your dog. A stroller gives them a safe place where they don’t have to worry about being trampled on. They can still see everything going on.
If your Chihuahua puppy is going to be traveling a lot in the car with you, a car seat to keep them safe is a good idea.
Chihuahuas tend to get cold easily, so it’s best to keep a couple of sweaters around to put them on when it’s chilly. My dogs use these and we have about dozen here in different sizes and colors. If you take them on walks in the winter, a coat is a good idea too.
Puppies love to chew but don’t understand why it’s okay to chew some things, such as their chew toys, and not other things, such as your chair leg. Just spray on a chewing deterrent on what you don’t want them to chew on.
First Aid Kit
Depending on how your home is laid out, you may want to get a baby gate to keep your little munchkin from going into areas you’d rather they not go into.
I made a printable checklist for you. No opt-in is needed. All you need to do is click on it and download the PDF file. Then open it and print it out.
Okay, that’s it. If you have any questions about any of these products or any questions about your puppy, feel free to leave a comment.