The day those tiny Chihuahua paws make their first steps into your life might be one of the happiest. However, just like any other furry family member, together with joy and unconditional love, your Chihuahua may introduce particular challenges. No matter whether you are a proud owner of a long or smooth-coated Chihuahua, your pet is going to shed.
Before asking how to deal with this issue and prevent your Chihuahua from shedding, you must understand that it is a natural and essential process for any furry animal, especially a canine.
With just a few exceptions, all dogs shed, and it is an integral part of their lifespan, which is crucial for their health and wellbeing. So if you are looking for a way to take shedding out of the equation entirely, let us warn you from the very beginning – it is impossible.
However, there are specific ways to deal with this natural process and minimize its possible negative impact on your life.
Continue reading, and you will learn why your Chihuahua sheds at all and whether his or her particular shedding is normal for the breed or indicates any health issues. We shall also discuss proper grooming and minimizing hair excess in your life with a Chihuahua.
Why does my Chihuahua shed?
As we already mentioned, shedding is a natural process for most dogs, including smooth-coated ones.
Technically you may compare this process with our skin renovation. Skin cells die out and shed all the time so the new fresh and good-looking ones could take their place, making us look young and fresh. When the skin renovation slows down, you notice those notorious first signs of aging.
It is almost the same with dogs. Through shedding, your Chihuahua creates room for the new, luscious protective fur coat. Healthy fur is the guarantee and the primary indicator of a dog’s health.
Its main function is to regulate Chihuahua’s body temperature. Dogs are Homeotherms, which means that their body temperature should stay the same all the time. On the hottest summer day and in the middle of winter, your Chihuahua’s temperature will be approximately 101F (38C).
To understand the importance of temperature balance, remember how you instantly feel unwell once you get a fever or hypothermia. But unlike us, Chihuahuas don’t have any sweat glands or other effective ways to release extra heat from the body, so nature has created them alternative tools to regulate body temperature.
And shedding is precisely one of those mechanisms. You might have already noticed that your Chihuahua seems to have thicker fur in the winter, and excessive shedding is usually the first sign that the spring is finally coming. Moreover, even Chihuahuas of the same type may have slightly different fur once they live in different climates.
The shedding cycle
Just like any other animal, your Chihuahua’s hair grows and sheds according to a specific 3-stage scenario:
• Anagen– it is the growth phase. At this stage dog’s blood delivers nutrients to the hair follicles to stimulate active growth of healthy luscious fur;
• Catagen – It is the moment when a hair follicle reaches its maximum size and separates from the blood supply;
• Telogen – It is the final stage, when the hair follicle starts to die-off, getting ready for the shedding process.
Experts claim that comparing to other breeds, Chihuahuas are pretty light shedders. By the way, despite common belief, the shedding process of a long-coated Chihuahua is less challenging than what the owners of short-coated dogs have to face.
Chihuahuas with smooth fur always have an undercoat, while long-haired dogs sometimes have the topcoat only. Moreover, long-coat Chihuahuas tend to shed in clumps, making it much easier for the owners to take control of the process.
Taking control of your Chihuahua’s shedding
Whether your Chihuahua sleeps in bed with you or is not allowed on the furniture at all, once the shedding period starts, you will find loose hairs all over the house. As you might have already understood, it is impossible to eliminate this process. However, by observing several simple rules and guidance, you will easily take your Chihuahua’s shedding under control and avoid its frustrating consequences.
Here are some ground rules of shed-control for Chihuahua owners:
• Never neglect brushing! Not only will regular brushing take loose hairs out of the dog’s fur before they end up on your trousers, but this process is also highly beneficial for your pet’s health. Through brushing, you also massage your Chihuahua’s skin, improving blood circulation and spreading the dog’s natural body oils over the fur, making it look luscious and healthy.
• Don’t forget to bathe your Chihuahua. While some consider dog bathing pretty arguable, such decorative breeds like Chihuahuas need some extra effort in their grooming. They may genetically lack some qualities and body mechanisms that will allow them to take care of themselves thoroughly.
Bathing your Chihuahua is a perfect way to instantly eliminate excessive body oils, dirt, and debris that may extend the shedding process, making it particularly messy. Bathing your Chihuahua at least once a month, you help his fur renew faster and grow healthier.
Once you notice that your furry friend hits a serious shedding phase, you may bathe him once in 2-3 weeks. Just make sure to consult a pet care professional and use cosmetic products developed especially for the gentle Chihuahua’s skin and fur.
• Use a blow dryer. After bathing your Chihuahua, you may use a blow-dryer. It will help to get rid of the remaining loose hairs and dry out the excess moisture, protecting your dog from possible skin diseases;
• Take your Chihuahua for regular health check-ups. Although shedding is an all-natural process, sometimes hair loss becomes an indicator of an allergy or other health complication. Taking your pet for a routine check-up twice a year will help you indicate and eliminate such problems before they develop into serious diseases.
Shed-proofing your house
Along with paying extra attention to Chihuahua’s grooming, there are specific ways to protect your house and belongings from the loose hairs:
• Clean the floors regularly. Even if your Chihuahua is not allowed on the furniture, loose hairs will quickly transfer from the floor to your clothes, counters, and chairs. Sweeping and vacuuming the floors every day, you will instantly minimize the risks of finding a dog’s hair on your pillow one day.
And regular damp mopping and furniture swabbing will make the shedding period almost unnoticeable.
• Get a lint roller. If you want to get rid of the loose hairs fast or make sure that your clothes are hair-free before you leave the house, a lint roller will be a perfect solution for you.
Anti-shedding products and solutions
• Proper brushes. As we already mentioned, brushing is an integral part of the anti-shed grooming for a Chihuahua. However, it is essential to pick a brush that matches your pet’s needs perfectly. For those Chihuahuas that have undercoat specialists recommend sticker brush, while once your pet has the topcoat only, bristle brush would be a perfect choice;
• Deshedding sprays. Those products strengthen dog’s hair follicles, preventing excessive hair loss;
• Hypoallergic hydrocortisone shampoos. Once your Chihuahuas shedding is associated with allergy reactions, hydrocortisone shampoos minimize the process by treating skin inflammations and irritations that make skin dry and not able to hold the fur properly;
• Olive oil. A teaspoon of olive oil in your Chihuahua’s food once a day will strengthen your dog’s fur, making it healthy and rich, preventing excessive shedding;
• Food supplements. Except for oil oils, there are many specific food supplements rich with Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids that take care of your Chihuahua’s fur, maintaining healthy and moderate shedding. However, make sure to consult your vet before making any introductions to your Chihuahua’s diet.
The things you should NEVER do to your shedding Chihuahua.
Surfing the web or consulting fellow-Chihuahua owners, you may learn various anti-shedding tips and tricks. However, some of them are pretty controversial and even potentially dangerous for your little furry friend.
• NEVER shave your shedding Chihuahua. Not only you won’t solve the problem by shaving your pet, but it may put your Chihuahua’s health and even life at risk! As we already mentioned, the fur and shedding process is the dog’s primary thermoregulation mechanism. By shaving your Chihuahua, you deprive him of the only protection against cold or heat;
• NEVER introduce any medications or food supplies without consulting a vet. The modern market is full of various solutions to make our pet’s lives happier and minimize care challenges for the owners. However, there are also lots of pretty controversial products with unproven or potentially dangerous effects. Chihuahuas tend to have pretty gentle digestive systems and metabolism.
Once unbalanced, they may fail, leading to serious health complications and even the death of your furry friend!
Shedding is a natural and essential process for almost any dog, and Chihuahuas do shed. However, they are not the most challenging breed on this matter. It is impossible to eliminate shedding from your life with a Chihuahua in the house.
However, with regular grooming, proper nutrition, routine health check-ups, you will quickly get Chihuahua’s shedding process under control. Regular cleanups will guarantee that your house will be fresh, clean, and your life with a Chihuahua – free of stress and loose hairs.