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A Complete Guide To Chihuahua Bathing: ALL KEY INFO

There are so many great questions about bathing your chihuahua! From when they can have their first bath to how often bathing should be done, and more.

The importance of bathing is often overlooked, but it can actually be the difference between a shiny, healthy chihuahua or a dull, greasy, and smelly one!

This article has absolutely everything an owner needs to know about bathing their Chihuahua.

How Often Should Chihuahuas Be Bathed?

  • The quick answer: Bathing your chihuahua once per month is the best frequency to keep them clean without stripping their coat of their natural oils.

Depending on what you read or who you ask, you’ll hear all kinds of things regarding bathing frequency.

Some say every week, and others every 3 months…

The truth is that bathing dogs should always be kept to a minimum. Sometimes, bathing once every 2-3 months is perfectly fine, but bathing once every week is almost always too much.

Why Owners Shouldn’t Bathe Their Chihuahuas Too Much…

  • The quick answer: Overbathing strips the skin and coat of their natural oils. These natural oils are what’s responsible for keeping the skin and coat healthy, shiny, and clean.

What happens when you over-bathe a chihuahua?

  • Dry skin
  • Excessive scratching
  • Excess oil production (in response)
  • Greasy and smelly coat
  • Skin infections

Removing the natural oils causes a domino affects of bad reactions.

This starts with dry skin but quickly progresses to excess oil production (the body’s natural response to having a lack of oil), which then leads to a chihuahua with a greasy, smelly coat.

As ironic as it sounds, sometimes skipping a bath will actually help keep your Chihuahua cleaner for longer.

When Can Chihuahua Puppies Have Their First Bath?

  • The quick answer: Chihuahua puppies can have their first bath two weeks after their final vaccination. This is when its safe for puppies to get wet.

Still, owners may want to go for longer if their puppy is clean and odor free.

Young puppies should remain dry until their physical body, and immune system are tough enough to handle bacteria and cold exposure. Vets agree this is two weeks after their last vaccine.

Best Shampoo For Bathing Chihuahuas

  • The quick answer: The best shampoo for a chihuahua is a natural ingredient dog shampoo. Not regular pet shampoo, not human shampoo, and certainly not washing liquid.

Why avoid regular pet shampoo?

Most pet/dog shampoos out there contain harsh detergents, parabens, alcohol, and chemicals, all for the purpose of cleaning. Sure, they clean alright! But this involves removing those crucial natural oils we need to preserve.

What about human or baby shampoo?

Even human shampoo is too acidic for dog skin and should never be used.

New research is also coming out that even baby shampoo (once thought to be safe for dogs) can be too strong for them.

Why natural ingredient dog shampoo?

Natural ingredient dog shampoos avoid the use of harsh chemicals. Their formulas are mild and are designed to clean without stripping away the coat’s natural oils.

This is also the best option for bathing chihuahua puppies.

Bathing Your Chihuahua: 5 Easy Steps

Let’s run through the simple method of bathing your chihuahua correctly, effectively and without stress.

1. Brush before bathing

To maximize the shampooing, it’s vital to rid your chihuahua of any excess dead hair. It’s worth brushing your chihuahua for 5-10 minutes before bathing them.

2. Work up a thick lather

Using room temperature water with the shampoo, be sure to work up a thick lather and reach down to the skin. Massage the suds in for at least 5 minutes being careful to avoid the inner ears.

3. Rinse & then condition

After the shampoo suds have stayed in long enough, rinse your chihuahua thoroughly. Now if the shampoo didn’t already contain a conditioner, nows the time to work in a natural ingredient conditioner, again making sure this stays in the coat for 5 minutes at least.

4. Rinse thoroughly

It’s absolutely critical to get ALL suds out from your chihuahua. This might mean rinsing two or three separate times! Once you think all the suds are out, rinse once again to be sure.

Leaving suds in can cause dry skin and severe irritation.

5. Dry extensively

Please do not let your chihuahua run off without drying them thoroughly. Whether you use a fresh towel or a hairdryer (on low setting), it’s so important they are dry.

Leaving a chihuahua wet can lead to hyperthermia and other skin issues. Dry to the touch should be the minimum.

Where To Bathe Your Chihuahua?

The quick answer: It doesn’t matter whether you bathe your chihuahua in a large tub or a sink. As long as your chihuahua is comfortable and safe, and you can do the job correctly.

I know many owners that use a large plastic laundry bowl on the floor to bathe their chihuahua.

Some chihuahuas might not like being high up in a sink, and some bathtubs are just too big. But again, it’s only preference, and all that matters is that the job can be done properly.

What Temperature Water to Bathe a Chihuahua?

Many owners want to use hot or warm water when bathing their chihuahua. But this should be avoided.

Room temperature water is recommended when bathing a chihuahua. This will prevent their skin from drying out and won’t cause them to become overly cold when the bath is finished.

Using hot or warm water leads to dry skin, and a cold shock once you stop using the water.

Can You Bathe Chihuahuas During Winter?

As long as your home inside is around 20c (70f), then it’s absolutely fine to bathe your chihuahua even if it’s winter.

Of course, the main concern here is that chihuahuas get very cold quickly, but assuming your home is not cold, it makes no difference.

Just be sure to dry them thoroughly after bathing and keep them inside the home in a warm room.

Key Points Summarized:

  • Bathing once a month is the best frequency to bathe a chihuahua
  • Overbathing can cause dry skin, greasy coats and bad odor
  • Using only a natural ingredient dog shampoo is best for both adult and puppy chihuahuas
  • Avoid using regular pet shampoo, human shampoo, or baby shampoo to avoid stripping out the natural oils found in the coat
  • Keep your chihuahua clean in between baths by giving them a wipe-down with baby wipes or dog grooming wipes.
  • Always use room temperature water only. Avoid hot, warm, or cold water to prevent shocking your chihuahua during or after the bath.
  • Brush your chihuahua before bathing to clear out any dead hair
  • Rinse thoroughly. Leaving suds in the coat can cause dry skin, severe itching, and more
  • Always dry chihuahuas properly and protect them from getting too cold after a bath

Follow these tips for an effective, productive, and stress-free bathing session with your Chihuahua.

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Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.