There are so many factors to deciding what type of dog is right for you, and one stumbling block that can be often overlooked is the amount of shedding. Cleaning up dog hair is a pain. It can get stuck to your clothing, carpet, and furniture, and it can exacerbate allergies.
So thinking about how much shedding you will be able to tolerate is an important step in choosing a dog. If you’re thinking about getting a Chihuahua, they will be your best friend for the rest of their life, but just how much dog hair are you going to have to deal with in that time? Let’s take a look.
Chihuahuas are considered light-to-moderate shedders. They shed the entire year-round, but more so in autumn and spring when they get their new coats. Some Chihuahuas, both long and short-haired, are double-coated but, because of their small size, the amount of hair dropped stays fairly minimal.
Why don’t we take a closer look at the sort of shedding you can expect from a Chihuahua, and why. That way, you can know for sure if a Chihuahua is a perfect dog for you.
Shedding is an unfortunate part of life for all dog owners. All dogs will shed except for dogs that are naturally hairless. With that being said, some dog breeds are notorious for quite extreme levels of shedding whereas other breeds will have minimal shedding that shouldn’t make too big an impact on your life.
Of course, some people don’t mind heavy-shedders and are happy to put the time into dealing with the hair, but for others, it can be too much to deal with either because of time, allergies, or personality reasons.
The good news is that Chihuahuas are light-to-moderate shedders. Unlike some breeds, they do shed all year round so that is something that you will need to take into consideration. As with most breeds, the shedding is heaviest in the spring and the autumn, but more will be shed in the spring.
The reason for this is that your dog will be shedding its coat so that it can deal with the change in seasons. Dogs have two types of coats: a summer coat that is quite light and a winter coat that is thicker and heavier. The thicker coat will help to keep them warm when the temperature drops.
When the temperature starts to warm up again in the springtime, they will shed their winter coat so that they will be left with a lighter and cooler summer coat. This is why you get extra shedding in the spring.
So why do they also shed in the autumn? They are shedding their light summer coat so that the thicker winter coat can be grown in its place. It’s a clever system that has helped to keep dogs comfortable for thousands of years. Although this might be small comfort when you’re spending a good chunk of your spring hoovering up dog hair!
Interestingly, it’s not actually the change in temperature that triggers the switch between the coats. It’s actually the change in the number of daylight hours.
So that’s normal shedding. In some cases, however, shedding can be a sign that something is wrong. If you notice large amounts of shedding when it’s not spring or autumn, or you notice bald patches on your dog, it’s always a good idea to get them checked over by a vet. Some of the triggers for shedding can include:
- skin infection or infestation
- dietary imbalance
- hormone imbalance
Female dogs who haven’t been spayed can also shed more during certain parts of their menstrual cycle, and dogs that have recently given birth will also shed (postnatal hair loss is also common in humans!). This is quite normal but if there is a sudden increase in the amount of shedding, then you should still try to get them checked over.
The really good news about Chihuahuas is that their tiny size has a big impact on the amount of hair that you actually have to deal with. Even when they are shedding at their heaviest, they don’t have anywhere near as much fur to shed as medium-to-large sized dogs.
So the end result is that you will always have less hair to deal with. Both long and short-haired Chihuahuas shed at the same rate, although the long hairs may be slightly more noticeable so it can make you think that they are shedding more.
How Do You Stop A Chihuahua From Shedding?
You can’t stop any dog from shedding, including Chihuahuas, and you shouldn’t try. Shedding is an important part of your dog’s natural way of keeping themselves healthy and happy. Shedding allows your dog to stay protected from the elements and it helps them to control their body temperature.
With that being said, there are some methods you can use to help deal with shedding when it does happen.
1. Brushing Chihuahuas Regularly
The easiest way to deal with shedding is to regularly brush your Chihuahuas fur. The brush will pick up any loose hairs that have been shed and any hairs that get caught in the brush are hairs that won’t be on your carpet, clothes, or furniture.
For short-haired dogs, you can use a natural bristle brush or a dog brush mitt. For longer-haired dogs, you might need a slicker brush to reach down further into the fur, or even a coat rake/shedding tool.
2. How To Brush Your Chihuahua
- If you are using a brush, first brush in the opposite direction to the hair growth. This will pull out any dead hairs.
- Next, brush in the same direction as the hair growth to remove the hairs.
- If you are using a brush mitt, first brush with a circular motion and then move onto brushing in the same direction as the hair growth.
- If you are using a shedding tool, pull it along in the same direction as the hair growth and then pull it up and away.
3. Shampooing Your Chihuahua
There are a lot of de-shedding shampoos on the market that you can use to help control the amount of shedding you have to deal with. These don’t prevent shedding, of course, but they encourage the dead hairs to come out during bathtime rather than them dropping out on your carpet.
Combining a shampoo and brushing routine is the best way to get rid of excess fur without having to clean it up off everything you own later.
4. Vacuum Clean Your Chihuahua
A great investment for dog owners is a vacuum cleaner specifically designed to pick up dog hair. Dog hairs are notoriously difficult to pick up because they are like little needles but dog-hair specific vacuum cleaners are designed to lift the hairs up much more effectively.
Do Chihuahuas Have A Double Coat?
There is no one answer to this. Basically, some Chihuahuas have a double coat and some don’t. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t the case that long-haired Chihuahuas are double-coated and short-haired Chihuahuas aren’t. In fact, double coats can appear just as frequently in both kinds of Chihuahuas.
A double coat means that your dog’s fur has two layers. There is a denser undercoat made of short, woolly hairs, which acts as insulation. Covering this is a longer coat of guard hairs. A good rule of thumb is that the fluffier the dog, the denser the undercoat is.
Chihuahuas with a double coat will shed more than single-coated ones but, again, they are so tiny that the difference isn’t particularly large.
Caring for a double coat does require you to be mindful of matting and tangling. If you do notice any knots, then you can try to work through them with a wide-toothed comb.
If this doesn’t do it, you may have to cut the knot out. You need to be very careful not to accidentally cut your dog’s skin and you can get around this by holding the base of the knot as close to the skin as possible.
One thing you should never, ever do is to shave your double-coated Chihuahua. Some people think that they are helping their dog by shaving their coat before the summer, thinking that the dense undercoat will make them overheat.
Actually, because the undercoat works as insulation it can help to keep your dog cool in hot weather just as well as it keeps them warm in cold weather. Shaving a dog also runs the risk of nicking their skin, expose them to sun damage, and the fur may not grow back properly.
Although Chihuahuas are a breed that shed all through the year, their small size means that dealing with their hair shouldn’t be too big a task. You can help to reduce the amount of hair that sheds around your home by implementing a shampoo and brushing routine, especially in the spring and autumn when shedding tends to be higher.
Some Chihuahuas are double-coated so will shed slightly more, and you will need to be mindful of their fur tangling.
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