Most pet parents wonder ‘how often should I bathe my Chihuahua’ when their pet starts smelling.
There are certain risks associated with over bathing dogs as you might end up stripping their natural skin oils and leave their coat dry and dull.
Whether you have a long haired Chihuahua or a short, smooth coat Chihuahua: over bathing is harmful for both types.
In this guide, I will answer the questions:
- How often to bathe your Chihuahua?
- Can you bathe your pet once a week or even once every day?
- What are the dangers or risks of over-bathing?
- How to bathe your Chihuahua?
- What to do to keep it smelling fresh and clean between baths?
How Often Should I Bathe my Chihuahua?
Most experts recommend bathing a Chihuahua with normal (healthy) skin and coat just once a month.
If you are uncertain how often to bathe your Chihuahua, please consult your vet.
In general, your pet’s bathing routine will depend on the following:
1. Its coat length and type
If you have a short-coated Chihuahua its coat might naturally trap less debris compared to a long-haired Chihuahua. That is also the reason why you need to brush your long-haired or medium-length coat dog more frequently – since brushing helps remove most of the debris that sticks in the fur.
If your Chihuahua has an oily coat, then you might want to bathe it a little more often than if your dog has a dry coat.
2. Activity levels
If your Chihuahua is very active outdoors or is always rolling about in dirt or mud, then too you might want to schedule more frequent baths.
3. Other circumstances
There are some other exceptions to once-a-month baths, such as if your dog has skin infections or skin allergies and needs medicated baths. Your vet might recommend special medicated dog shampoo to be used several times a month or week based on the infection.
In summers, you could bathe your furry friend more frequently especially if it swims in chlorinated pools. Bathing helps remove the chlorine from its skin and coat and prevents itchiness.
Other than these circumstances, you may want to stick to once a month bathing.
What are the Risks of Over-Bathing Your Chihuahua?
Over bathing your Chihuahua can lead to the following:
A. Dry and itchy skin and coat
Even if you use a vet-approved shampoo, the municipal tap water with its high mineral content can leave a residue on your pet’s skin making it itchy and dry.
Over bathing could cause your buddy to itch and scratch until it develops red hot spots, blisters, pus-filled boils, and in extreme cases, secondary skin infections. Sometimes, these can even require antibiotic treatment for resolution.
B. Dull and lackluster coat
Too much bathing with a harsh shampoo can strip off your pet’s natural skin oils. This, over time, could lead to dull and shabby-looking coat that totally lacks shine.
C. Hair loss
In extreme cases, over bathing can lead to a lot of hair fall and even cause patchy bald spots on your pet’s fur.
Can I Bathe my Chihuahua Every Day?
It is really not advisable to bathe your Chihuahua every day.
Here are the reasons:
1. It is not necessary
In most cases, it isn’t necessary to bathe your Chihuahua daily.
Dogs don’t sweat and even in summers, their skin usually does not get moist and sweaty. In the wild, dogs and wolves (the ancestors of dogs) rarely ever bathe.
That is why bathing daily is not a necessity unless your Chihuahua rolls in the mud on a daily basis.
2. Bathing daily can lead to skin issues
Bathing your Chihuahua every day can lead to skin problems described above. To summarize: it can lead to dryness and dullness of coat, severe hair fall, and even itchy skin with blisters and hot spots.
3. Chihuahua is a companion dog
Most Chihuahuas are companion dogs. And although they aren’t meant to be couch potatoes, we are certainly not recommending that you take your pet out on hot, sweaty, dusty trails or get it to roll in the mud puddles on a daily basis.
Most Chihuahuas are lap dogs and they are content to leave their homes just once or twice a day for potty breaks or exercise. And even if your Chi accompanies you to the mall or to the vet, it won’t be getting too dirty.
That is why a daily bath isn’t needed at all and serves no purpose.
4. Daily baths are for special circumstances only
Your vet might recommend more frequent baths only under special circumstances. For example, if your Chihuahua has scabies or some other serious skin infection, then repeated medicated baths could help soothe the itch and even speed up the healing process.
Can I Bathe my Chihuahua Once a Week?
Under some special circumstances, your vet might ask you to bathe your dog once a week.
This includes situations like when your dog develops ticks and fleas or it has skin issues like scabies, mange, mites, lice, etc.
In summers, if your Chihuahua gets very smelly or swims in a chlorinated pool once a week, then bathe it after every swimming session. This will remove the chlorine from its skin and prevent dryness and itching.
Only under these circumstances should you bathe your Chihuahua once a week. Otherwise, please stick to the once a month or once every 6 weeks bathing schedule.
How Often Should I Bathe my Chihuahua Puppy?
Vets recommend bathing your Chihuahua puppy only after their first year vaccinations are over.
That way they have the necessary immunity against infections like parvo, adenovirus, etc.
(Check out Chihuahua vaccination schedule here.)
You can bathe your Chihuahua puppy once it is 6 to 8-weeks old. At this age, it is strong enough to be bathed. Just make sure to keep bath times peaceful.
If your puppy tends to roll in mud or grass then more frequent baths may be necessary to remove these allergens, dirt, and debris.
Use a mild vet-approved, tear-free puppy shampoo to bathe your young Chihuahua.
Can I Bathe My Chihuahua with Just Water?
Bathing with just water will not serve any purpose. It will also leave behind a stinky odor or a ‘wet dog smell’. That is why you need a mild, vet-approved shampoo to bathe your Chihuahua.
Water also does not remove dirt, odor, fleas, and/or ticks. Also, it could cause matting and tangling of your dog’s fur and leave your Chihuahua’s oily coat looking dull, unconditioned, and unkempt.
In case you have run out of dog shampoo, you can use diluted vinegar, Dawn dish-soap, baking soda, cornstarch, or Castile soap to bathe your dog. But do not use just water.
You can also use dog wipes to cleanse your Chihuahua between baths and in case you have run out of dog shampoo.
What are the Steps to Bathe a Chihuahua?
Here is the step-by-step procedure to bathe your Chi:
1. Brush it
Brush your Chihuahua thoroughly. Use a slicker brush to do the job. Brushing will remove loose and dead hair and prevent your drains from clogging with pet hair. Brushing also eliminates mats and tangles, especially in long-haired Chihuahua. B00757W4KK
2. Secure it
Make sure your Chihuahua won’t slip on the tub floor – if needed use a leash (which will also prevent it from running out of the bath). You could also use a rubber mat to prevent skidding or, alternatively, bathe your small dog in the sink.
3. Wet its fur
Use the hand-held shower or a bucket-and-pail to wet your dog’s fur. Thoroughly wet the fur.
Take requisite quantity of shampoo in your palms. If it is very thick, dilute it with water. Work up a lather all through your dog’s coat. Massage and talk softly to your pet.
Rinse off the shampoo after 5 minutes and repeat application if needed. (Brush your dog’s teeth during this waiting period). You can follow with a dog conditioner although many pet shampoos already contain the conditioner in them as well.
6. Dry thoroughly
Dry your Chihuahua using a towel or a hair dryer. Make sure to dry the ears thoroughly to remove any water inside. Brush your buddy once again after it is dry.
How to Make Your Chihuahua Keep Smelling Good Between Baths?
To keep your Chihuahua smelling good between baths use the following steps:
A. Waterless shampoos
Waterless shampoos are an excellent invention to keep your Chihuahua smelling fresh and clean between baths. They not only cleanse your Chi’s fur but also eliminate odors. Some waterless shampoos even eliminate and repel ticks and fleas.
B. Use dog wipes
Deodorizing dog wipes can also prevent odors and keep your Chihuahua clean and fresh between its monthly baths.
You can safely use them to clean your Chihuahua’s anal glands, face, eyes, muzzle, etc.
C. Sprinkle baking soda
Simply sprinkle some baking soda on your dog’s coat to eliminate odors. This will keep your pet smelling nice and clean between bath time.
D. Use doggy deodorant
Dog deodorant sprays are the best way to prevent a smelly Chihuahua before its bath. The spray’s fresh scent keeps your Chi cuddly and snuggly and it also moisturizes the coat while cleaning your doggy’s fur.
Is it Bad to Never Bathe a Chihuahua?
Yes, it is. Dogs need to be bathed at least once a month. Without a bath, they could develop a stinky residue on their skin and also develop eye boogers, mouth odor, ear infections, etc.
Bathing helps remove the dead and loose undercoat in double coated or long haired Chihuahua.
A bath is especially necessary in summers if your Chi tends to get smelly after rolling in the grass or if it swims frequently.
If your dog is allergic to mold, dust, mildew, pollen, etc. then too bathing is a must to reduce these harmful allergens from its coat.
FAQs on How Often Should I Bathe my Chihuahua?
1. Can I use baby shampoo to bathe my Chihuahua?
Yes. If you have run out of dog shampoo, you could use baby shampoo to bathe your dog.
Baby shampoo has a neutral pH – almost close to the pH of water. Most baby shampoos are also tear-free. These two features make them a much safer alternative to harsh human shampoos for bathing your Chihuahua in case you’ve run out of dog shampoo.
2. Can I use wet wipes to clean my Chihuahua?
If you want to use wet wipes, please use the hypoallergenic ones only.
Many human wipes are made with alcohol which can be very harsh and drying for your Chihuahua’s delicate skin. As far as possible, use only dog wipes or pet wipes to wipe your dog between baths.
Dog wipes are gentle and non-alcoholic. Many are also biodegradable and ecofriendly. These features make them a better alternative to human wipes.
3. Can I use human shampoo to bathe my Chihuahua?
As far as possible, please avoid the use of harsh human shampoos on your Chihuahua.
Human shampoos have an acidic pH and that can strip the natural oils from your delicate pet’s skin and coat. This could lead to skin dryness, flaking, itching, and even hair loss.
If you have no option, please use baby shampoo to bathe your dog. However, the best option to bathe your Chihuahua is a vet approved dog shampoo only.
Also Read: Can I Use Human Conditioner on my Chihuahua
4. What is the best thing to wash your Chihuahua with?
The best thing to bathe your Chihuahua with is warm water and a mild, vet-approved dog shampoo. If your Chi has a specific skin condition like ticks, fleas, dandruff, or scabies, etc. then you can opt for a medicated pet shampoo.
If you are out of dog shampoo, you can use a mild baby shampoo or some baking soda, Castile soap, or cornstarch to keep your Chihuahua clean.
How often should I bathe my Chihuahua?
Most vets recommend bathing your smooth coat or long haired dog once every 4 to 6 weeks. This is ideal period to wait between your dog’s baths.
In case your Chi is very dirty, has swum in a chlorinated pool, or has specific skin issues, then you could bathe it more often – like once a week or as recommended by your vet.
We hope this guide helps you establish the right bathing schedule for your tiny dog.