DescriptionChihuahuas are a toy sized dog breed that come in two main coat varieties, smooth-coated and long-haired. They are charming, loyal and intelligent companion dogs who often seem to be unaware of their tiny size. They are highly alert and make great companions for individuals in small homes, but care must be taken to socialise them early or they may become fearful and aggressive towards strangers.
NeonatalDuring the first 4 weeks of your Chihuahua's life, they should spend most of their time with their mother and litter-mates. It is highly unusual for the puppy's owner to care for them during this time and is best left to a responsible, reputable breeder. Your puppy's body will double in weight as their muscles, organs and bones develop.
|Nutrition||During the neonatal stage, your Chihuahua puppy will get most of their nutrition from their mother's milk. At around 4 weeks you may wish to introduce a mush of minced protein such as beef, but always consult your vet first before changing your puppy's diet at this stage. Chihuahuas have small mouths so use caution when considering solids food as they may struggle to chew or swallow them.|
|Health||During this time it is important to monitor your Chihuahua for any infections, diseases or birth defects. Puppies are unable to urinate or defecate by themselves initially, so their mother helps them but may additionally require your assistance.
Keep your vet's contact details close by and educate yourself thoroughly on this stage of puppy development. By the end of this period, your puppy will be mobile and will explore the world mouth first — be sure to keep choking hazards and toxic foods out of their reach.
|Behaviour||During most of this time your Chihuahua will be asleep or inactive, but they will soon be playing with their brothers and sisters. After 3-4 weeks they will go through as much sensory development as a human baby does in a few months. It is important to avoid disturbing the puppies' mother as she will be likely be protective, but some interaction with the young pups is normal so they become used to human touch.|
When you take your Chihuahua puppy home (usually at around 8 weeks) you should shower them with love and attention. This is a formative time for your puppy and will be when they learn to walk, play, bite, hold their bladder, and interact with others. Make the most of this time and introduce your puppy to the world around them by inviting over friends, acquainting them with other pets and showing them around the house.
|Nutrition||During the weaning stage, you should slowly introduce into their diet a nutritionally complete dog food which is appropriate to your Chihuahua's toy size and young age. Chihuahuas require only a small amount of food split between two meals. This breed is prone to tartar buildup, but they enjoy crunching on dry dog food which can help alleviate this. You should familiarise yourself with lists of toxic foods and plants to avoid as your Chihuahua puppy will most likely spend most of their time inside.|
|Health||During this time you should provide your puppy with a small, shallow bowl of clean water and refresh the contents frequently. As Chihuahuas are usually inside dogs, so it is important that your puppy is properly toilet trained during this time. Your Chihuahua will soon be a loyal friend and keen protector of the house, but in the meantime you will have to watch them closely and establish clear boundaries during toilet training.|
|Behaviour||Due to all the changes in their environment, your Chihuahua will likely be under a significant amount of stress. Chihuahuas do not like to be left alone and prefer to be part of a pack, but are just as likely to enjoy spending time with their chosen person. Be affectionate and supportive during this time, but make sure they spend time with many different people to avoid excessive protectiveness. Introducing them to children, objects and other animals early is often effective in reducing aggression later in life.|
By the time your Chihuahua reaches puppyhood their personality will be well developed. While very tiny, your Chihuahua puppy will be a big personality with an abundance of sass, but an affectionate and needy alter ego. Continue to socialise them with strangers in new places and reward good behaviour with treats and pats.
|Nutrition||Your Chihuahua puppy's diet should be based around a high quality, nutritionally complete puppy food. You may also wish to introduce them to fresh, lean raw meat — however, don't feed your puppy any meat you would not feed to a fellow human being. Do not feed your Chihuahua human food from your plate, especially while they are on your lap or lounge as they will come to expect this at every meal and become fussy eaters.|
|Health||Chihuahuas have bursts of energy and love to rub around with toys but they do not require a large amount of exercise — a short walk around your backyard or up the street should be enough. You should discourage your Chihuahua from jumping from furniture as this breed often develop joint problems from repeated strains. Weekly grooming should be sufficient for short-haired Chihuahuas and biweekly for long-haired varieties. After around 8 weeks your puppy will be due for some vaccinations, so they will need a checkup at the vet and to arrange for boosters after that.|
|Behaviour||Chihuahua puppies are very loyal and affectionate with those that they know, but a poorly socialised dog will often be aggressive towards strangers to the point of barking and biting. Familiarise them with friends and children early, but any interaction with small children should be closely monitored. Pomeranians are very intelligent and take well to training as this is an opportunity to receive both treats and pats. Look for resources on stopping biting, minimising barking at doorbells, and reducing destructive behaviours.|
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