How often should you bath your chihuahua?


Does your chihuahua run around like a nutcase once he’s had a bath? This is unofficially called the ‘zoomies’ and can be comical to watch, but the reason they do it is to relieve the stress of being bathed. How often you need to bath your chihuahua is a question we often get asked and opinion is divided.

Most chihuahuas will tolerate a bath, but few really enjoy the process. Some will allow you to blow dry them as well, Mika loves the hairdryer and will happily sit while you dry him, but Minnie just has to see it and she’s gone.

There are a few things that will affect how often you need to bath your chihuahua, so there is no definitive right and wrong. The general rule of thumb seems to suggest once a month is about right and once every three months is the minimum.

A good reason for bathing your chihuahua is the opportunity to check for skin abrasions, lumps, fleas and bites. They are much easier to see when their fur is wet.

Chihuahuas are not known for their off-roading and probably will require fewer baths than the average dog. But just because they are cute, doesn’t mean they don’t love to roll in fox poo and other disgusting substances so on occasions an emergency bath is inevitable.

Can you bathe your chihuahua every week?

Most people would suggest that every week is too often, unless there is a medical need for it. Over bathing will wash out the natural oils in your chihuahua’s coat and could make his skin dry.

Wash paws after a muddy walk

All our pups get a dip in the washing-up bowl after a muddy walk. I have a bowl of warm water with a hint of dog shampoo and just dunk their paws. You will be amazed at the amount of dirt that comes out. Mika is a paw licker and washing them seems to help with this. It’s also helpful as you can see any cuts or ticks that they may have collected out on the walk.

It’s also helpful to wash or wipe down paws after a walk even in the summer if your dog has hayfever or seasonal allergies.

When can you bath after flea treatment?

If you are using spot on flea treatments, then you need to avoid over washing your dog. Certainly, don’t wash your chihuahua within a week of applying or you could just be wasting your money. I keep use of these products down to a minimum, but Minnie has developed a severe flea allergy, so we have had to go with it over the summer and autumn flea seasons.

Bathing to kill fleas

If your chihuahua has picked up fleas, they will be cat fleas. (Even if you don’t have a cat they live in the grass.) Bathing is an effective way to get rid of them. Make sure the first thing you do is put a ring of soap around your chihuahua’s neck. This will prevent the fleas from running up your chihuahua to avoid the water.

We use neem oil shampoo if fleas are a problem; neem oil is a naturally occurring insecticide that comes from the Neem tree in India. Read more about neem oil. You need to leave it on for around 10 minutes for it to work. So, take some treats into the bathroom with you!

Go through your chihuahua’s fur with a nit comb to make sure you get rid of all the eggs as well. Remember that you need to clean all the dog bedding as well as carpets if you are going to rid your house of fleas.

What shampoo should you use to bathe your chihuahua?

A dog specific shampoo is best, but you can use baby shampoo at a push. We like Dermacton Itchy Dog Shampoo as Minnie and Mika are prone to dry skin. It is very mild, rinses out well and has a nice, slightly medical smell.

Should you use conditioner on your chihuahua’s fur?

Bathing your chihuahua can be a pain and it’s easy to forgo the conditioner just to get the process done. But, adding a conditioner after the wash will help seal the hair cuticle. If your chi has a long coat, it helps de-tangle. We like Wild Dog conditioner as it is suitable for dry skin.

When all the bathing is done, wrap your chihuahua up in a nice fluffy towel for a well-earned cuddle.

Is flea shampoo OK?

Once upon a time, when I wanted to run a completely au natural lifestyle (I blame Gwyneth) I would have been dead against anything like this. But with five chihuahuas in the house you have to jump on a flea sighting very quickly and you learn to be more realistic. If I don’t have neem oil soap, I figure the occasional bath in flea shampoo is better than regular use of spot on treatment which I only use reactively. That said of course, any shampoo will kill a flea, but I want to catch any eggs as well.

About the author

Louise Kirby

My name is Louise Kirby and I’m a freelance writer and certified Pro Dog Trainer. I adore and train all breeds but have a special interest in chihuahuas and their rehabilitation. Chihuahuas are awesome little dogs, spunky, full of joy, loyal and tenacious. But some present with behaviours that make them a challenge to manage. I’m on a mission to restore the relationship between owners and their dogs. To help you get back the dog you always dreamed of. That’s why dog training is a happiness project!

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