One of the most important grooming routines for a Chihuahua is bathing. Whether you own a long-coat or smooth-coat variety, all Chihuahuas must be bathed to prevent build-ups of dirt and to keep their fur free of any tangles.
Unfortunately, many owners allow their Chihuahuas to go un-bathed for long periods of time, making the process even more difficult when they try to place them in a tub or sink. If you’re wondering what the best way is to clean them, keep reading and walk you through the steps to bathing a Chihuahua.
While bathing is an essential grooming routine for a Chihuahua, you should avoid over-doing it. It’s far too common for owners to bathe their pups multiple times a week, and while this may not seem like a big deal, it can easily dry out their skin.
So, how often are you supposed to bathe them? It really depends on several different factors, such as their level of outdoor activity, what type of shampoo you are using, whether they are long-coat or smooth, how clean the air is inside your home, and how much they clean themselves with their tongue. With that said, a good rule of thumb is to bathe them around once every 2-3 weeks, as this should keep them clean without drying out their skin.
What You’ll Need To Bathe a Chihuahua
Before you can give your Chihuahua a proper bath, you’ll first need to acquire a few basic supplies. While you may already have some of these lying around your home, chances are you’ll need to make a trip to the local pet store for the rest. Here are the items necessary to bathe a Chihuahua:
- Premium dog-formulated shampoo (people shampoo can be too harsh for their delicate skin).
- Dry Towel
- Pitcher or large bowl
- Some treats
Steps To Bathing a Chihuahua
After you’ve acquired all of the necessary items, it’s time to get to work. To make the bathing process easier and less messy, give your Chihuahua’s coat a good brushing to remove any excess fur. Although it’s not completely necessary, brushing them beforehand will catch any loose fur on their body that would otherwise end up in your bathtub or sink. We cover the steps to brushing a Chihuahua back on the link previously mentioned, so check it out if you aren’t sure how to do it.
There’s really no one specific way to bathe a Chihuahua. Some owners prefer doing it in a large sink, while others prefer to do it in the bathtub or tin bucket. As long as you don’t get backaches from bending over, then it’s usually best just to bathe them in the bathtub. It has a readily available water source, towels, and it’s easy to clean up. With the tub stopper removed, turn the water and wait for it to reach a comfortable, lukewarm temperature that isn’t going to freeze or scald your Chihuahua.
Now that the water is ready, go and find your Chihuahua and place them in the bathtub. Some Chihuahuas are naturally more standoffish of getting bathed than others; therefore, you may have to play a little canine version of hide-n-go-seek. Just remember to try and make them as comfortable and relaxed as possible. If they are nervous or anxious about getting bathed, try petting and talking to them to calm them down. Typically, this type of behavior goes away once they get into a routine with consistent bathing at certain times of the month.
With your Chihuahua in the bathtub, follow these steps to clean properly clean them:
- Fill a pitcher or bowl up with luke-warm water and gently pour it over their body while holding shielding their head with your free hand.
- Read the directions on the label of your dog shampoo to see exactly how much needs to be used. Because of their small size, Chihuahuas usually only need a very small amount of shampoo.
- Lather the shampoo into their fur coat using either your hands or a washcloth. Remember, it can easily cause pain and discomfort if it gets into their eyes, so keep their head shielding during the process.
- Allow the shampoo to sit for a couple of minutes to help freshen their coat.
- Fill the pitcher back up with more water and pour it over their body to rinse out the shampoo. As the water pours over their body, run their coat with your hands to help work out the shampoo. Repeat this step until the water comes out clear and shampoo-free.
- Now that your Chihuahua is fresh and clean, take them out of the tub and wrap them up in a dry towel. Gently rub the towel against their body to speed up the drying process.
- Since your Chihuahua did such a good job at bath time, give them a treat followed by lots of petting and praise.
Other Helpful Chihuahua Bathing Tips
For whatever reason, some Chihuahuas do not like getting dried with a towel. Once you wrap them up and try to rub them dry, they may growl and make aggressive noises. Instead of continuing to traumatize them, you can use a hairdryer on them instead. Just turn the hairdryer on a low setting with minimal heat and use it a safe distance away from your Chihuahua.
It may take a bit longer than using a towel, but it’s a better alternative for Chihuahuas who dislikes the towel drying routine. Alternatively, you can always let your Chihuahua air dry after they get out of the tub. Depending on how much fur they have, it will generally take up to an hour for them to fully dry. Remember, though, you’ll have to keep an eye on them and prevent them from getting up on any furniture you want to stay dry.