If you've got an applehead Chihuahua, you have the type of dog specified in the breed standard. The applehead Chi sports the round, "apple dome" head. Another type of Chihuahua, the deerhead, has a head shaped more like that of a deer, with a longer muzzle and ears that spread outward. The primary difference between the two is that only the applehead can show in American Kennel Club conformation classes.
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Chihuahua Puppy Care
Like other toy breeds, Chi puppies are prone to life-threatening hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. These tiny, immature pups can't yet regulate their blood glucose, so they require feeding every few hours. If they go several hours between meals, or play or exercise too much, hypoglycemia can occur. Signs of this disorder include:
- appetite loss
- muscle tremors, shaking or seizures
- disorientation or lethargy
- pale mucous membranes
Keep some corn syrup or a similar product on hand in case of emergency, and rub some on your Chi's gums if he appears hypoglycemic. Then rush him to the veterinarian for further treatment.
While adult Chis can develop hypoglycemia, it occurs far more often in puppies. Fortunately, by the time your puppy reaches the age of 3 months, his risk of hypoglycemia falls considerably.
Feeding the Chihuahua
Feed your adult Chi a high quality food. Most Chis don't need more than 1/2 cup of food daily, receiving half in the morning and half at night. Your dog should always have fresh, clean water available. Of course, individual dogs may require more or less food, so it's best to ask your vet for the best diet and schedule for your particular Chi.
Avoid giving your dog too many treats. The breed standard calls for a dog weighing 6 pounds or less -- it doesn't take too many treats to make a tiny dog obese.
House Training the Chihuahua
- right after he wakes up
- after every meal
- after playing
- and before bed.
Praise him when he "does his business" correctly. If you go out, put him in a crate so he won't eliminate elsewhere in the house or destroy anything while you're away. However, never leave him in a crate for more than a few hours.
If you have a shorthaired applehead Chihuahua, a good weekly brushing should suffice. If your Chi has long hair, brush him at least twice a week using a soft bristle brush and make sure to comb out any matted hairs. Bathe your dog as often as necessary with a gentle shampoo designed for canines.
Always dry him completely after his bath so he doesn't catch cold.
Chihuahua Health Issues
Chihuahuas have certain health issues requiring special care. Your Chi may have a molera, or soft spot on his head where the skull hasn't closed. If that's the case, it's best not to let him play roughly with people or other pets. Always handle his head gently.
Like other toy breeds, Chis are subject to slipped kneecaps, or luxating patellas. Severely slipped kneecaps require surgical correction. If your Chi starts limping, either steadily or intermittently, take him to the vet for an examination.
Chis are vulnerable to several genetic eye disorders, but their bulging eyes are easily injured. Ask visitors and children to take precautions around your applehead chihuahua. Take your pet to the vet immediately if you notice any eye problems.
Never walk your Chi with just a collar and lead. It's easy to pull too hard on a tiny dog and injure his trachea. Chis are prone to tracheal collapse. Always use a harness and leash when walking your pet.