Chihuahuas are pint-sized companions known for having big personalities despite their small stature. These dogs are fiercely protective and loyal to a fault!
Because Chihuahuas are generally untrusting towards strangers, taking them to a professional groomer can be a bit of a hassle. Luckily, bathing these pups at home isn’t too challenging.
Bathing is a critical part of grooming and will help keep your pooch clean, fresh-smelling, and mess-free!
Given their penchant for getting into a wide range of messes, sticking to a regular bathing routine is a must for these dogs.
Need to learn how to bathe a Chihuahua? We have you covered.
How Often Should I Bathe my Chihuahua?
There’s no such thing as taking too many showers as a human. But don’t make the mistake of thinking the same applies to Chihuahuas!
There’s a delicate balance between bathing too much and not bathing enough.
Do it too often, and you’ll strip the dog’s skin of the natural oils it needs to stay healthy.
Leave too much time between baths, and your dog’s fur can turn into a gross, matted mess.
Related: 12 Tips to Make Dog Fur Soft & Shiny
Generally, a Bath Every Month or so is Ideal.
Of course, there are many factors to consider.
The biggest is how messy your dog is.
If they like to wallow in the mud and make messes as they play, you might want to bump the frequency up to every two to three weeks.
Alternatively, relaxed dogs and seniors may only need a bath every six weeks.
There’s also the matter of medical necessity.
Some dogs, such as those with allergies, may need weekly baths with medicated shampoo. Always consult with your vet for guidance if your dog suffers from allergies.
Where to Bathe Your Chihuahua
Chihuahuas are usually six to nine inches tall and weigh only six pounds at most.
Thanks to their small size, you have a few different bathing options.
The go-to for most Chihuahua owners? The kitchen sink!
Kitchen sinks are just deep and wide enough to accommodate a Chihuahua without overwhelming them. Plus, you get the added benefit of a sprayer for convenience.
If that doesn’t work for you, there’s always the bathtub or shower.
Ideally, you’ll have access to a sprayer that’s not the hose. You can also invest in a standalone dog bathtub.
Because this breed is so small, you can get the most compact model available and not have any issues.
What You Need to Bathe a Chihuahua
It doesn’t take much to bathe a Chihuahua, but there are a few essentials you want to grab before getting started.
- Dog shampoo
- Ear rinse
- Soft towel
- Blow dryer
What Kind of Brush Do You Use on a Chihuahua?
Brushing is a must. It doesn’t matter whether you have a short-haired Chihuahua or one with a long, fluffy coat.
Mats are a big issue; you must brush your pup out before and after the bath to avoid tangles.
The best type of brush is one that uses soft bristles. Hard combs and metal bristles can be too rough for these delicate dogs.
We recommend using the Vetnique Labs Furbliss Pet Brush. It’s a unique, multi-faceted brush you can use before, during, and after bath time.
The brush is made entirely of medical-grade silicone. While it looks like your standard curry-style brush, the “bristles” are actually soft silicone nubs.
It’s a two-sided accessory you can use on wet or dry hair.
On dry hair, the brush works to detangle and de-shed. But on wet fur, it’s an excellent tool for massaging the skin and working the shampoo into the coat for complete saturation.
What Shampoo to Use on a Chihuahua?
Never use human shampoo. While you might think that human-grade products are safe for dogs, the pH balance is all wrong.
Using your shampoo on your Chihuahua will lead to skin problems.
Any dog-specific formula will do. There are plenty of specialized formulas to address your pup’s unique needs.
For example, you can get antiseptic products, flea-killing shampoos, and more.
If your dog has a specific health issue to address, consult with your vet to find the right shampoo.
For healthy dogs with no skin problems to address, we recommend using the original lavender & mint dog shampoo & conditioner from Buddy Wash.
The gentle shampoo formula contains all-natural botanical extracts like sage, aloe vera, rosemary, green tea, and chamomile.
Of course, it also has lavender and mint for fresh smells and a natural calming effect. The base is coconut, so there’s plenty of hydration and nourishment to go around!
Handy Bathing Tool
To make your life much easier during bathtime, check out the Aquapaw Pet Bathing Tool.
This is an innovative product that combines a hose with a sprayer glove. Use the included adapters to attach it to your shower, sink, or bathtub.
Then, slip the silicone glove over your hand, tighten the strap, and turn on the water.
The water will flow from the glove, giving you complete control. You can even turn the water on and off with a simple hand click.
The glove makes it easy to rinse the fur and massage shampoo without juggling a traditional sprayer.
How to Bathe Your Chihuahua in 8 Easy Steps
Ready to bathe your Chihuahua? It’s easier than you think. All you have to do is follow these simple steps.
Before you do anything, take some time to brush your dog’s fur. Even short-haired pups can develop tangles that eventually turn into large mats.
Brushing helps to prevent that from happening. Plus, it ensures that you have less shed hair to fish out your drain!
2. Fill the Tub
Next, you’ll need to prepare the wash station. Gather your supplies and fill the tub with about two inches of water.
If you’re using a sprayer, you don’t have to prefill the tub. But, you should run the water for a few minutes to get it at the perfect lukewarm temperature.
3. Prerinse and Soak
Start by rinsing your dog’s fur.
You want to saturate the coat with water thoroughly. This is when your pup will get used to the experience, so take your time.
Make it a fun experience, provide plenty of praise, and offer up some treats!
Use your fingers or a handy bath tool to separate the fur a bit. Some dogs have slick coats that repel water. Working the fur will help get the water onto the skin for deep cleaning.
4. Shampoo and Lather
Don’t forget to read up on the shampoo instructions. It seems simple enough, but some products might have particular directions to follow.
Apply the recommended amount to your hands and lather it on your dog.
Once again, use your fingers to work the product into the fur for full saturation.
If necessary, wait a few minutes to let the shampoo work its magic.
Some products, such as flea shampoos, require the solution to sit on the skin for up to five minutes. Wait the recommended time before rinsing.
During the rinse, shield your dog’s eyes. The rinsing process can be the most traumatic part due to the soap flowing everywhere.
Exercise caution and make your pup as comfortable as possible. Get every last bit, too. Leftover shampoo can cause rashes.
6. Towel Dry
After a thorough rinse, you can apply a conditioner if necessary.
Generally, grooming experts recommend using conditioners to hydrate the skin and fur. But if you buy a two-in-one shampoo with moisturizing ingredients, you don’t have to buy a separate conditioner.
When the final is over, take your pup out of the tub and wrap them up in a soft towel. Rub the towel on the fur to soak up extra moisture.
Chihuahuas are prone to getting cold, so keep your dog wrapped as they dry off. Don’t forget to provide some treats!
7. Do an Ear Rinse
After towel-drying, use an ear rinse.
The risk of ear infections is high after bathtime. Rinses help to evaporate moisture and avoid potential issues. Read the instructions on the rinse for guidance.
8. Use a Blower
This last step is optional. If you want to speed up drying, you can use a blower. Be careful and use a heatless blower for extra safety.
—– FAQ —–
How young is too young to bathe a Chihuahua puppy
The ideal time to start bathing a Chihuahua puppy is after they turn 12 weeks old.
Before that, it’s best to avoid full-blown baths and use spot cleaning with a wet towel instead.
When can you bathe after flea treatment?
Usually, you’ll need to wait at least a week to bathe your dog after applying a topical flea treatment. Otherwise, you’ll wash the product off.
Read the treatment instructions for more guidance about cleaning timelines.
What to wash my Chihuahua with if sprayed by a skunk?
If your Chihuahua is unlucky enough to get sprayed by a skunk, you’ll need to use a specialty shampoo.
Normal shampoos will not remove the odor. Instead, they’ll mask it. To get the smell out of the fur, we recommend using Skunk-Off Shampoo by Thornell.
It’s a non-enzyme formula that eliminates the scent without irritation.
Should i use a dog bathtub for a Chihuahua?
If you don’t want to use your sink, try the Pet Gear Dog Bathing Tub.
The tub is the perfect size for Chihuahuas. It’s small enough to make your dog feel secure while providing ample room for bathing.
The tub has a rubber bottom for safety, two tethers to keep your dog still, and storage trays for convenience.