Did you know that despite being a toy breed, chihuahuas are excellent competitors in canine sports, including agility and obedience? They are also great for apartment dwellers. The chihuahua is big on personality, it’s their adorable personality that makes them so lovable and popular! If you want to know more about this breed, make sure to watch until the end.
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what exactly does the term teacup chihuahua mean and is it a legitimate term for characterizing a specific type of chihuahua? much controversy exists over this term, so let’s get the chihuahua facts!
the term teacup chihuahua is mainly an american term. it’s often used to refer to the size of a chihuahua and shouldn’t be used to categorize a specific type of chihuahua as you would reference a short-haired vs a long-haired chihuahua or a deerhead chihuahua vs an applehead chihuahua.
most chihuahua puppies are born teacup-sized, but they usually grow out of it. it is important to note that chihuahuas of this size must be handled delicately and dressed accordingly with the proper chihuahua clothes to keep them warm and properly shielded.
many prospective chihuahua buyers are also unaware of the fact that if a chihuahua puppy isn’t nourished properly from birth, they will not grow to their full potential. this undernourishment will keep a chihuahua puppy from growing to their full potential as they reach adulthood.
the chihuahua breed is known to have the knee condition known as patellar luxation and is one of the most common health problems associated with chihuahuas. the knee is a complex structure consisting of muscles, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and bones. these components must align properly and interact harmoniously in order to function properly. three bones are included in the knee: the femur, the tibia, and the patella (kneecap).
the lower front portion of the femur (thigh bone) in a normal chihuahua has two bony ridges that form a fairly deep groove in which the patella is supposed to slide up and down. these structures limit the patella’s movement to one restricted place, and in doing so, control the activity of the quadriceps muscle. the entire system is constantly lubricated by joint fluid. it works so that there is total freedom of motion between the structures.
diagram of the anatomy of a normal knee cap
patellar luxation (or trick knee, subluxation of patella, or floating patella), occurs when the patella, or kneecap, dislocates or moves out of its normal location.
when the patella is luxated in a chihuahua, the ridges forming the patellar groove are not prominent, and a too-shallow groove is created. in a chihuahua with shallow grooves, the patella will luxate (jump out of the groove) sideways, especially toward the inside. this can causes the leg to ‘lock up’ with the foot held off the ground.
chihuahua with a luxating patella on both hind legs
(like teaka the famous chihuahua has as seen in the video above)
when the patella luxates from the groove of the femur, it usually cannot return to its normal position until the quadriceps muscle relaxes and increases in length. this is why a chihuahua may be forced to hold their leg up for a few minutes after this occurs because the muscles are contracted, the patella is luxated from its correct position and the joint is held in a flexed or bent position. pain is caused by the knee cap sliding across the bony ridges of the femur.
your chihuahua can not explain its symptoms, so it’s your responsibility to keep him or her healthy and to determine whether or not they need veterinary care. chihuahuas tend to want to hide their illness, so it is up to you to check your chihuahua for abnormalities.
not knowing if your chihuahua is feeling sick or how to care for your chihuahua when they are sick can be VERY stressful! this article will help you determine if your chihuahua is showing signs and symptoms of being ill and when you need to take them to see a veterinarian.
the book caring for chihuahuas made easy gives you preventative measures and solutions to common Chihuahua health problems. “if your chihuahua is sick or you want to know what to do to keep it from getting sick, then this is an absolute must-read book!”
be prepared: questions your veterinarian may ask
your veterinarian may ask additional questions to help localize or diagnose the problem. it may help to be prepared to answer some of the following questions:
- how long have you owned your chihuahua?
- where did you get your chihuahua (adoption center, breeder, previous stray)?
- what other type of pets do you have?
- what is the age of your chihuahua?
- has your chihuahua experienced any previous illnesses?
- is your chihuahua currently under treatment for an illness or disease?
- what preventative medications is your chihuahua currently taking?
- does your chihuahua receive consistent flea treatment?
- are any other pets ill?
- has he/she been vaccinated? if so, when? which vaccines?
- have there been any recent pet acquisitions?
- have there been any recent activities such as boarding, grooming, trip to the park?
- is a majority of your chihuahua’s time spent indoors or outdoors?
- have there been any recent changes in diet or eating habits?
- what brand of food, how much and how frequently does your chihuahua eat?
- what type of table scraps are offered and how frequently?
- what type of treats are offered and how frequently?
- how much water does your chihuahua typically drink per day?
- have there been any recent changes in water consumption?
- have you noticed any coughing or sneezing?
- have you noticed any lumps or bumps on your chihuahua?
- is your chihuahua urinating normally?
- Is your dog having normal bowel movements?
- when is the last time he/she had a bowel movement?
- have you noticed any recent weight loss or weight gain?
after answering some general questions, more specific questions need to be answered. a brief cursory exam of your chihuahua at home can help you determine the answers. these questions are also commonly asked when chihuahua owners are seeking help over the phone.
be prepared to answer the following questions, depending on the problem with your chihuahua:
regarding the eyes
- have you noticed an increase or decrease in tear production?
- do the eyes appear cloudy or red?
- have you noticed any discharge coming from the eyes?
- do the eyes appear bloodshot?
- are the pupils the same size in both eyes?
- have you noticed your chihuahua rubbing or pawing at the eyes?
- is your chihuahua squinting?
- do the eyes appear to be sunken or excessively protruding?
many chihuahua owners email us with concerns related to their chihuahua puppies or dogs experiencing breathing problems, more specifically frequent gagging, coughing and chihuahua wheezing and seizures that result in gasping for air. this article may be helpful to you if your chihuahua has been affected by obstructed breathing or symptoms thereof.
chihuahuas are known to suffer from problems related to their soft palate or a collapsed trachea. it is a health concern that is characteristic of the chihuahua breed and is also commonly referred to as “reverse sneezing”.
tracheal collapse is a condition in which the trachea partially collapses or flattens out as your chihuahua is trying to breath. this leads irritation and results in the gagging, coughing and wheezing symptoms mentioned above.
is the chihuahua the right pet for you?
the chihuahua, with its apple-head skull and large luminous eyes, can wear a remarkably human expression at times and will want to be with you most, if not all of the time.
warning: don’t buy a chihuahua if you don’t have the emotional real estate in your heart or the time for the complete love and attention of this furry little pet. they are like children.
chihuahuas can be smooth coat or long coat, apple head or dear head, blue coat or merle coat, there is no chihuahua breed standard distinction made between the two in the united states since both smooth coat and long coat can occur in a litter. experienced chihuahua owners say that each dog of this breed has their own unique personality; this is a very individualistic breed.
a few generalizations can be made. chihuahuas are graceful, energetic, and swift-moving canines. they have often been described as having “terrier-like” qualities; that is, the qualities of being alert, observant, and keen on interacting with their masters. they are extremely loyal and get attached to one or two persons.
these tiny and sometimes teacup size dogs are certainly unaware of their diminutive stature: they can be bold with other dogs much larger than themselves, and protective of their masters. they are fiercely loyal to their masters and wary of any strangers or new guests introduced into the household, which the chihuahua considers to be its personal domain. for these reasons, chihuahuas make good watch dogs (not guard dogs!).
the chihuahua needs a great deal of human contact: touching, petting, and general attention. if the chihuahua does not get this, she or he will use various attention-getting tricks until you give her/him attention. like using paws to lightly scratch the hand, a signal that says, “pet me now!” some owners who have had other, more independent breeds may find the chihuahua too needy. however, they give a lot of love and affection in return for your care.
keeping more than one chihuahua can greatly ease the dog’s stress when left alone each day if the owner works. they will compete for your attention when you get home though. because they are by nature gentle, loyal, and sweet-tempered, chihuahuas are ideal for single people, the elderly, the handicapped, and shut-ins.
chihuahuas will keep you company for hours by lying on your lap or beside your torso if in bed, and treat you like royalty. no one with a chihuahua in their household will ever be truly alone. they are quite happy in apartments, as long as there is enough to play with and explore.
opinions differ on how to bathe a chihuahua. some say that bathing too often removes the natural oils from the coat, and thus dandruff will result and the coat will look dull. others say that shampooing on occasion with certain brands of shampoo can actually enhance the sheen of the coat. chihuahuas should be bathed at least twice a month, otherwise they develop an unpleasant smell. this is actually due to the skin cells that humans sloth off onto the chihuahua! so humans are the main contributors to that smell that can develop.
when bathing, take care not to get water into their ears, as an infection can develop. you will need to trim their nails at least once a month too. on the smaller dogs, cat claw trimmers can be used. it’s good to start a nail trimming routine early on so that your dog becomes accustomed to your handling its paws not to mention getting used to the clippers. owners should also be aware that chihuahuas are prone to knee problems like luxating patellas or “weak knees.” this can occur as they get older. if it causes difficulty in walking, take your dog to the vet.