If you are brushing your Chihuahua regularly and taking care to remove any dander or dirt, your Chi should look and smell quite clean. There are always occasions, however, in which your Chihuahua gets dirty, muddy, or finds something dog-wonderful to roll in and becomes awfully stinky. It's bath time!
How to Bathe
You can give your Chihuahua a bath in one of three ways:the right way, the wrong way, or by taking her to a professional groomer. Obviously, if you use a professional groomer it will cost you a few dineros; however, the job will be done quickly, professionally, and without incident.
Then there's the wrong way: Wait until your Chihuahua desperately needs a bath and try to wash her. Here's the problem. Chis do not take to water very well. Many Chihuahuas have been known to demand being carried to their potty spots when it's raining to avoid getting their paws wet. If you fill up your sink with warm water and try to plunk your Chi in it for a bath, you'll witness her amazing ability to spread all four legs out in such a fashion as to make it impossible for her to be lowered into the sink. You'll also discover that despite what you thought, your Chi is made of muscles of steel and a will of iron. And if you're really lucky, you won't see how sharp those teeth really are.
Before you begin bathing your Chihuahua, make sure you've already washed and dried all of the dog's bedding. There's nothing more frustrating than to have a clean, sweet-smelling Chi lie down in a stinky bed.
The right way to approach bath time is to start working on this skill weeks (even months in some cases) before you ever need to bathe your Chihuahua. Here are some tips:
Put nonslip strips or a washcloth in your sink bottom to keep your Chi from slipping.
Lift your Chi into the sink, give her a treat, and take her back out. Practice this.
Fill the bottom of your sink with half an inch of warm water. Lift your Chi into the sink and immediately back out. Treat and practice.
Increase the time that your Chi is in the sink.
Increase the amount of water by half an inch.
If you have a spray attachment, hold your Chi in the sink while you turn the spray on and off without wetting your Chihuahua.
Wet only your Chi's legs with the spray attachment and immediately take her out of the sink.
Wet more of your Chihuahua until you can wet her entire body except for her eyes and ears — you'll do these by hand.
Introduce a tiny amount of shampoo (a little bit goes a looooong way), rub your Chi in a massage-like fashion, and then rinse thoroughly. Rinse again.
Once bath time is down pat, continue to practice wetting your Chi in the sink in between baths to further acclimate her to this whole process.
You may never get your Chihuahua to like taking a bath, but you can get her to tolerate it. Never yell at your Chi while trying to acclimate her to this whole process; it will only make her more frightened. Take things slowly, and use lots of praise and rewards for good behavior. If all else fails, make an appointment with a professional groomer.
Chihuahuas have a difficult time maintaining their body temperatures, and they chill quite easily. For this reason, it is important that you bath your dog in a warm, draft-free location and dry her in an equally comfortable place. Use clean soft towels to blot and gently rub her dry. If your Chihuahua is longhaired, you might consider using a blow dryer to ensure that the hair closest to the dog's skin is completely dry. Moist, warm skin and hair that is insulated with dry outer hairs can be a breeding ground for bacteria, skin irritation, and potential infections.
If you are blow-drying your Chihuahua's coat, be careful that the forced air does not become too hot. Try to maintain a nice warm temperature that will keep your Chi from becoming chilled and yet won't harm the hair shafts in your Chi's coat by heating them too much and causing them to become brittle.
If you are going to crate your Chihuahua after you've toweled her dry, make sure she's got lots of clean dry bedding to snuggle down into and that she's in a warm, draft-free area of the home.