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Grooming Your Chihuahua – Part 2

Grooming Your Chihuahua – Part 2

Beyond the Bath and Brush

Grooming your Chihuahua goes beyond brushing and bathing. 

In order for your Chi to be fully taken care of there are a few other areas that need attention. 

Ears, nails and anal glands need to be cared for in order to keep your little one happy and healthy.

Ear Cleaning

Depending on your particular Chi, ear cleaning should be part of your grooming routine.  Even if your Chi never has ear infections or other ear problems it is a good idea to perform routine ear cleaning.  Get a good cleanser from the pet store or your veterinarian and clean the ears about once every 2-3 weeks.

The trick with ear cleaning is to make sure the cleanser gets right down into the ear canal.  Have someone help you by holding your Chihuahua’s head while you instil the cleanser.  Once the cleanser is in, try to keep hold of your pet’s head so that they don’t shake and spray the cleanser all over you and everywhere else.

Massage the ear well and don’t be alarmed if you hear a squelching noise – that’s perfectly normal and means you have put in enough cleanser and it’s in the right spot.  After about thirty seconds let go of your Chi’s head and stand back.  Let your pooch shake their head.

Once the shaking is over, take a cotton ball and wipe out the excess cleanser.  You can put the cotton ball into the ear canal opening to soak up the cleanser but be careful not to push too hard.  Any debris that has been shaken loose can also be wiped off the inside of the ear flaps.

Nail Trimming

Many owners are nervous about trimming their Chi’s toenails.  The one important rule of thumb is to make sure that you don’t cut the nail so short that you cut into the “quick”.  The quick has a blood supply and will bleed and cause pain to your pet.

If your Chi has white toenails you will be able to see the quick as a pink outline inside the nail.  Steer clear of cutting this low.  If your Chi has black toenails it is far more difficult to know where to cut.  A series of small snips with good quality clippers rather than one big chop is the best way to ensure that you don’t take off too much nail. 

There are also nail filing systems available on the market which file the nails with a rotating filing head.  It is easier to get the nails short with this type of system because it is more difficult to make a mistake.  You can still file too low and make the quick bleed but frequent checking while filing will prevent this.

How often to trim your Chi’s nails is debatable and depends on the activity level of your Chi.  Running or walking on pavement helps wear down the nails so they need less frequent trimming.  Check your pet’s nails every couple of weeks for length and trim when necessary.  When the toenails are neglected completely for an extended period of time they can grow into the foot pad and cause serious infection and pain.

Anal Glands

This is not often a topic owners want to talk about but if your Chi is prone to anal gland issues it is best to know about it sooner rather than later.  Canine anal glands produce secretions that dogs use for scenting purposes.

The anal glands are located on either side of the rectum and should express naturally when your pet has a bowel movement.  If they don’t, the glands continue to fill.  If the entrance to the gland becomes blocked the gland can burst into the rectum causing pain and bleeding.  Veterinary care is necessary if this occurs.

Common signs of blocked anal glands include: bum scooting, excessive licking of the area, or even chasing the tail more often than usual.  If you see any of these signs have your Chi’s anals expressed or learn how to do them yourself.

Some dogs never have their glands expressed while others need it done every month.  Watch your Chi for signs and symptoms and act accordingly.  Preventive care is better for your Chi and your pocketbook.

Routine grooming should include all aspect of your Chihuahua.  Check your pet regularly for any changes or irregularities and seek veterinary care when necessary.


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