Twenty-two years ago I bought my first chihuahua her name was Greta. I purchased her for a pet, our bond was so special. I fell in love with this breed. I later added my two boys P-nut and Biscuit. I later found out they were deer head chihuahuas and should not be bred. I found their forever homes and later added my boy Demon.
For a few years, I just bred Greta and Demon and enjoyed their small litters of puppies. Then I came across a kennel in Texas and fell in love with another female. I named my new girl Red Hot Chili Beans. Chili we called her for short, she was a blue brindle long coat applehead. Once I bred her the first time her babies were so amazing and stunning the rest is history.
Historically, the Chihuahua developed in Mexico and the United States has displayed a “soft spot” on the top of the head. In the Chihuahua this spot, or fontanel, is known as a MOLERA; and is the same as that found in human babies. In the past, this molera was accepted as a mark of purity in the breed, and it is still mentioned in most Chihuahua breed standards the world over. It is important to note that while many Chihuahua puppies are born without the molera, there are probably just as many born with one and its presence is nothing to become alarmed over. The molera in a Chihuahua will occur on the top of the head and may vary in shape and size when present.
Every Chihuahua owner should educate themselves about low blood sugar in the toy breed. It can be profoundly serious. If not addressed in the early stages, this condition can be fatal. The good news, however, is this condition is 100% preventable. Hypoglycemia is a condition where the blood sugar level of your Chihuahua puppy (or any toy breed puppy) drops to extremely low levels. Causes of hypoglycemia are as follows:
1. Overhandling your puppy and not giving it enough rest time. Respect your puppy’s need for sleep and rest. Remember they are just babies and need lots of sleep.
2. Not eating enough. It is not uncommon that puppies get busy playing and racing here and there and completely forget to eat. Dried food can become “boring” to little puppies. We must have them eat, so we offer canned moist food and supplement with NutriCal. However, dried puppy food should be available 24/7 for puppy to munch on when desired.
3. Relocation stress or any new move can trigger low blood sugar. Your home is brand new to them, with new sounds and smells and sights. They must process loads of new information and this requires much energy on their part.
4. Extended periods of activity, play, running, chasing can burn lots of calories. They do not have a big reserve in their tiny bodies, so when those reserves are depleted, puppy can crash. Please, regulate play time and/or keep them in a smaller space rather than offering them a large floor area to race through.
When puppy arrives in their new home we highly recommend that puppy be offered moist food and given a dose of NutriCal. Keeping dried puppy food available for puppy and clean water 24/7 is a necessity. Moist food can be given alone, on a separate saucer, while the unused portion is refrigerated for future use. Please, warm the refrigerated food prior to offering it to puppy.
Some puppies, if on the smaller side, should be given NutriCal 4-5 times daily at regular intervals, along with moist food, 4 times daily at regular intervals. A heaping tablespoon of moist food should be adequate. Please, offer moist food and NutriCal first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Dried food and fresh water should be available to puppy during the night. If your new puppy is very small, then we advise you to wake during the night and give NutriCal to your puppy. Chihuahua puppies do not scarf down their kibble like big dogs. They typically take one piece of kibble into another room, then play with it much like a cat plays with a mouse. Then they crunch it up and swallow it and go back for another piece of tiny kibble and the routine begins all over. They are grazers. Therefore, dried food should be available for puppy 24/7.
Your puppy will go home with a folder, full of helpful print outs for you to refer back to if needed. The below Low Blood Sugar Prevention sheet should be kept high profile on your fridge or cabinets for the family to view.
Low Blood Sugar Prevention
Give NutriCal 4 times daily at regular intervals
Give NutriCal 3 times daily at regular intervals
Give NutriCal twice daily, AM and PM
Give NutriCal once daily before bedtime
5th week to adult age
Give NutriCal as needed
We ultimately want the majority of nutrition and calories to come from the dried puppy formula kibble food. But during relocation stress, the puppies may not be interested in dried food. So, please offer moist food given four times daily at regular intervals. 1 heaping tablespoon (depending on the size of puppy) is adequate. Our puppies eat what mama eats, which is the Pedigree Adult Chunky Ground Beef and Chicken moist food. After two weeks you can change to a puppy formula moist food, if you so choose, however, please do so gradually so as not to upset puppy’s tummy. As puppy grows, you should increase the size of moist food you offer.
Always refrigerate the portion that is not being used.
This should be done for 3 months to prevent low blood sugar and assure the puppy is getting the calories he/she needs. Sometimes puppies stop eating/drinking during the relocation stress. Moist food is rarely turned down by a puppy. The moist food has plenty of water content so it helps the puppy stay hydrated if he/she stops drinking.
Keep your dry puppy food and clean water out and available for the puppy 24/7 till one year of age. At that time you can switch his/her food to an adult dog food.
My New Puppy Stopped Eating! Help!!!!
Some puppies stop eating during relocation stress. Eating and NutriCal are not optional for your new puppy. They have to have food and NutriCal. If your puppy turns his/her nose up at your food, here are some suggestions:
Offer Gerber baby food in a jar, a meat flavor.
Some puppies REALLY like Cesar Puppy Food, Chicken and Beef flavor.
Offer a product called DYNE drizzled over the dried food. DYNE can be ordered online or found at your local family owned feed store (call first to confirm availability). DYNE is like a liquid NutriCal. Dyne can also be put in a syringe and administered into the side of puppy’s mouth. Be sure and shake that bottle before giving.
The Urgent Care a/d canned moist food, Hills Prescription Diet, is also an excellent product for little ones that forget to eat, or refuse to eat or stop eating for whatever reason. This will keep their blood sugar regulated and add much needed calories to their diet. If your puppy will not eat on his/her own due to relocation stress, you can get a large syringe that my vet sends home with this product, and suck the moist food up into the syringe and then you can squirt it in the side of puppy’s mouth. Hopefully, your puppy will not be that finicky, but better safe than sorry, so I include these details.
If you have KARO syrup in your pantry, you can mix the moist food with KARO syrup. For the tiny size Chi puppies having a 3cc syringe is handy. Dissolve white sugar in a small amount of warm water and put that into the puppies mouth. One customer had children’s Pedialyte and gave that to her very playful and active new, tiny size Chihuahua puppy. She did this throughout the day at regular intervals and puppy stayed alert and perky, without a low blood sugar incident. Your water will taste a bit different from our water. Some puppies do not care, while some puppies hesitate to drink your water. Please, make sure puppy is hydrated and drinking. The moist food has a high water content and will help hydrate puppy every time he/she eats. Another idea is to offer a little bit of warmed, low sodium chicken broth to your puppy’s food, whether it is dried kibble or canned moist food. (Please, avoid any broth that has onions, onion powder, chives or garlic). Puppies seem to love boiled shredded, boneless, spice-less and skinless chicken breast. Add some boiled rice to this and most puppies will be very tempted to eat. Offer plain cottage cheese, preferably room temperature. Any of these new foods, when introduced into puppy’s diet, can cause loose stools in your puppy.
If you notice puppy staggering when puppy walks, or their head bobbing unnaturally, or they are limp and lethargic, you should offer something sweet to puppy immediately. If puppy does not readily take it, we should open puppy’s mouth and put the dollop of NutriCal on their palette and rub it on their gums. Then we should set the timer for 5 min. and do it again and please, do this several times. Puppy should “wake up” and be bright eyed and cease staggering and act normal once more. Depending on how severe the episode, puppy may need to be quiet for a few hours after.
Until puppy is 3 months old, puppy should be supplemented with canned moist food. If puppy is chilled or shaking, wrapping them in a soft blanket will help warm them. Putting a hot water bottle in their bed, wrapped in a baby blanket is nice for them, too. NutriCal is puppy’s friend! However, if you cannot find your tube of NutriCal and you suspect puppy is experiencing low blood sugar, you can use honey, pancake syrup (sugared, not sugar free), Karo syrup or plain sugar dissolved in a bit of warm water. Being alert to your new puppy is paramount. Low blood sugar can be prevented.
You have just embarked on a wonderful adventure of owning a Chihuahua! Perhaps you are new to owning any type of dog, or perhaps you are an experienced Chihuahua owner, but whatever the case, this new puppy is an individual that you get to learn all about and make memories with and love and receive love from. It is a magical time in your life and in puppy’s life!
Although, we have a very important phone consult that we will schedule with each customer that has secured a puppy, some of the topics we cover can be reviewed below. We recommend you read over this page prior to your scheduled phone consult.
Containment: IRIS Puppy Playpen
Have the puppy playpen set up prior to puppy’s arrival. You can place a bed or soft blanket in one corner and a potty pad in another corner and their food/water dish and have some chew toys included in their playpen. This is a safe zone for puppy when he/she is not being supervised by the human family members. This playpen is lightweight and can be moved close to where family members congregate. Puppy can be placed in the pen during high traffic times so puppy will not be under foot. Puppy can still hear and smell and see the workings of the family dynamics, but all the while they are safe and have a tiny area all their own. The playpen can be relocated to an outside porch area or to a bedroom or living room in the house. It can be easily cleaned. Some customers lay a shower curtain flat on the floor and then place the playpen on top of the shower curtain and cut to fit the measurements. This becomes a floor cover beneath the playpen to protect your floor. Some customers create a “den” for puppy with laying a comforter or beach towel over one end of the pen. This can help puppy feel safe in a den like area. Playpens have much to offer also, in the area of training and regulating play times so puppy does not tire and develop low blood sugar.
Your puppy will be go home with a “Doggie Bag”! This bag will have a soft, new flannel baby blanket with their familiar smells on it. If it does not get soiled in the first few days, try to keep it close to little one, so they find comfort in the smells during relocation stress. Puppy will come home with a toy, a ziplock bag of dried puppy Diamond kibble, and a can of moist food.
Your puppy will come home with a folder of printed sheets and their shot record. Please, take this to your vet on the “Establish Service” visit, the first visit they have at your vet’s office. This shot record has a pocket or compartment in one of the tri-fold sections. It is handy to fold your vet invoices and slip them there for future reference. You can also put your rabies certificate folded in the pocket so everything you need is found in this handy shot record. Your puppy will come home with their first puppy shot, and possibly their second puppy shot, as well, depending on the age they go home. If there was a reaction to the shot, we will always tell the customer. Usually, their is no reaction with the puppy vaccine we use. We do NOT recommend that the vet repeat the puppy shots we already administered. It can be harmful to the health of the puppy to over vaccinate their tiny bodies. We recommend that the rabies vaccine not be given the same time the last puppy shot is administered. Please, wait 2-4 wks and then give puppy their rabies vaccine.
We also do not recommend the optional vaccine, Leptospirosis. That vaccine, while fine for large and even medium size breeds, has a high reaction rate in the toy breed. It is not a core vaccine and some toy breeds have had fatal reactions after being given this vaccine. We ask that you research this vaccine and then make an educated decision based on your findings. Some vets do not give it to the toy breeds, but others do. Be alert to this vaccine danger, please. Your puppy has been given Nobivac Canine 1-DAPPv. We will send a copy/photo of the label on sheet in your folder. You can also take that sheet to your vet to show them which vaccine was used for the 1st (maybe 2nd) puppy shot. (More on puppy shots in the below Parvo content)
Feeding Schedule and NutriCal Use
We have an entire page on Low Blood Sugar or Hypoglycemia and we do require that customers read that page completely before the pick up visit. Puppy is a toy breed and even if we have not seen low blood sugar present while puppy was in our home, the stress from relocation can be a trigger for many things and low blood sugar is one of them. Because your puppy is a member of the toy breed class, it is always a possibility. Therefore, we go over it in detail, as it can have serious consequences if left unchecked. Please, read the page on hypoglycemia and if you have questions, as always, just ask.
We encourage a free feeding schedule for all our puppies. This means that dried puppy Diamond kibble is available to puppy 24/7. A photo of the bag we use can be seen on the Helpful Information page. Fresh, clean water is also available 24/7. Because puppies graze while they eat and do not scarf down their dried food, but literally take one kibble at a time, play with it, perhaps in another room of the house, then eat it enjoyably and then prance back to the food dish for one more kibble and so it goes and goes and goes, all of which take time…. it is not necessarily a fast process.
We also want a moist food, to be added to your puppy’s diet. This should be given 4 times daily at regular intervals for two months. Moist food should be given first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Dried food can be a bit boring for puppy when they are relocated or if they are active and playing. So the moist food is important because it is more tempting to a puppy than dried food. You have to feed puppy. It is not optional. They have to eat and they can be distracted from eating very easily during the relocation time frame. Moist food should be added to your daily routine till puppy is at least 3 months of age. Because we feed the mom’s Pedigree Adult Chunky Ground Beef and Chicken moist food, the puppies are familiar with this moist food. Puppies are also use to the Pedigree Puppy moist food. However, if after the initial two weeks of puppy being in your home, you decide to change the moist food to a different brand, please, do so gradually so as not to upset puppy’s tummy. Understand that if food is changed too quickly, diarrhea can result and dehydration can follow.
Moist food should be put on a separate saucer, not mixed with the dried food, please. If your puppy is extra small in size, you can feed puppy 5 times daily with the moist food. Give puppy a heaping tablespoon and if they do not readily finish that amount, then you can cut back slowly if necessary. Some puppies are little piglets and some are dainty birdies.
Reading over the page mentioned above, will cover more details about feeding and NutriCal usage. Be sure and read that page!!!!
Our puppies go home between 9-10 wks typically. Just like people, each puppy is different. Going to their new home for some puppies might be a welcome adventure and they are raring to go! They see change as another mountain to climb and are optimistic about the unknown. Then, we have other puppies that love their comfort zone and leaving it terrifies them! They are not optimistic at all and fear can grip their little minds and bodies. Each Chihuahua puppy is an individual. We must respect the presence of relocation stress during the first 48-72 hours puppy is in their new home with their new family. We must prepare for it and try to make the transition as smooth as possible. Some puppies will be hyper active and full of youthful energy! Some puppies will be timid and sit in the corner and shake. Some puppies will stop drinking your water because it may taste different than our water. Some puppies won’t care one bit and guzzle your water down with no hesitancy. Some puppies, if the stress goes to their gut, may become constipated, while some develop looser stools. But this should cease after the initial 48-72 hours. During relocation stress some puppies get so preoccupied with new smells and new sights and new sounds and all the mental processing that goes into the adjustment… that they forget to eat the dried puppy food. It becomes invisible to them. We offer moist food 4 times (or more) daily to tempt puppies to eat. We give NutriCal 4 plus times daily to assist with any blood sugar drops during this stressful time period. As we have stated in other paragraphs about puppy care, eating is of paramount importance and it is not optional. Puppy has to eat. Usually, after 2-3 days time, your puppy will come to the conclusion, they are home!!! You are their new family!! They will regulate their behavior into a more accurate representation of who they are, minus the stress. Many puppies sleep through the first night without a peep. Some do not. Some customers find creative ways of making it through that first night if their puppy is missing mom and litter mates. But all of the stress for new families and new adopted puppy will pass at some point and puppy will adapt and shine as the new canine family member that they are! Do your research before puppy comes home. Have your set up in place. That way you will be a confident puppy owner and puppy will feel secure in your care.
I like to tell my customers, “It is okay to be afraid of rattlesnakes and it is okay to afraid of Parvo”, especially when your puppy is going to his/her new home without all puppy shots in place. Your puppy will be “Partially Vaccinated” and will need either 1-2 more puppy shots to be protected against some very serious infections. We recommend the CORE VACCINES for puppies. (3 shots given 3-4 wks apart). Puppy will go home with #1 puppy shot and the new owner will be responsible for #2 shot and #3 shot, and of course, rabies. We recommend that puppy use potty pads until puppy has all their shots to minimize the risk of Parvo. Parvo is a tenacious virus that can live on the ground in the sun for 4-6 months and in the shade over one year. When a non-vaccinated dog or a partially vaccinated puppy/dog stand on that ground, then later lick their paws in their cleaning routine, they can contract this deadly virus. Parvo can live on fabric and the soles of our shoes, concrete and even the tires of our cars. Keep your shoes picked up and stored where puppy cannot have an opportunity to lick the bottom of your shoes. Do not take your puppy to a dog park, or a feed store, or Petsmart or Petco or a non-fenced yard area until puppy has all of his/her puppy shots in place. If traveling do not let your puppy on the grassy area of the gasoline station you visit. If your yard is not fenced and you have not had control over unknown dogs that may have been in your yard, puppy is not allowed in that yard till all shots are given. Until puppy has all their vaccinations, be a very alert mama bear and protect that little one! After the 3rd shot is in place, plus a day or so later…. then celebrate! Your puppy can have more freedom and less danger in this big ole world!
Establish Service Vet Check in 3 Days from Pickup
To activate our health guarantee, we require you to take your new puppy to the vet of your choice within 3 days of pick up. Although, your puppy was checked by our local vet and received a clean bill of health, establishing service with your vet is a good foundation for puppy’s future and ongoing health and well being. In some instances, the second puppy shot can be administered at that establish service vet check and if that is the case, we will let you know. Most of the time, you get puppy checked and go back at the proper time for the second vaccination. Please, understand that your new puppy has been dewormed routinely, had their vaccination and each puppy had a fecal at their litter check. However, puppies can harbor issues that are not seen prior to leaving our home and then the stress of relocation brings them out. Taking your puppy to the vet in that 3 day window of time will allow any issues that arise to be easily treated. So, once you have secured your new puppy with a deposit, and we have scheduled and confirmed your pickup visit, then make that “Establish Service” vet appointment. We will inform you if a puppy shot can be given in that time frame or you will need to return at a later date for that second puppy shot. We do everything in our power to ensure that you go home with a healthy puppy. Remember, when finding your vet, to make sure they are familiar with the toy breed and especially with the Chihuahua breed. Thank you!
Dental Health and Dietary Supplements
If you have any history with the toy breeds, you already know that dental health is a hot topic. Toy breeds, including the Chihuahua, tend to suffer from more dental issues that larger breed dogs. I am not sure why but Chihuahuas tend to hoard their baby teeth and not release them. So, typically, when we get them spayed or neutered, the veterinarian will also remove puppy teeth. We can encourage those puppy teeth to let go by making sure we offer, during the teething stage, good chew treats. We enjoy using Veggie Dents by C.E.T. products. The puppies bite down into this treat and it seems to hold onto the puppy teeth and help loosen them so they come out. C.E.T has many excellent dental treats to choose from. You can find them through online sources or your vet’s office or Petsmart. I would highly recommend that you transfer your treats to your own Ziplock bags after purchasing. Keep those bags sealed because if the product is exposed to air, it looses it’s flavor and then the treat just lies on the living room floor and the dogs show no interest. If you decide you would like to brush your dog’s teeth, then we recommend when puppy comes home, you begin to get them use to having your fingers in their mouth. Acclimate them slowly so that when you introduce a toothbrush to their routine, they are comfortable with this practice. C.E.T also has toothpaste for dogs. Youtube is an excellent resource for many educational venues. I have watched some great videos about how to brush your dog’s teeth. A dietary supplement we highly recommend is called, Doc Roy’s GI Synbiotic Granules. It supports digestive and gastrointestinal and immune health. You sprinkle it over their moist or dry food and they eat it. It can be used daily. It promotes good gut health! I buy it from Revival Animal Health, #800.786.4751
Suggestions on Introducing your New Puppy to Established Pets in the Home
First, let me say that many customers never follow these tips and everything works smoothly and there is no tension when puppy and established dogs in the home meet for the very first time. So, remember these are only helpful tips and you may have a method that works better for you and that is fine.
Helpful Tips for Introduction
On the ride home from puppy pick up, your clothes will take on puppy’s smell. When you get home put puppy somewhere isolated where the established dogs in the home cannot see puppy. Let the dogs smell your clothes and this is puppy’s first introduction to the “pack”.
You can do several things next. You can rub puppy on the throw or blanket or bed of the established dogs in the home, mingling their smell with puppy’s smell. Place puppy in the playpen where the established dogs and the new puppy family member can meet, but puppy remains in the safe zone. They usually touch noses and puppy may back up quickly and then proceed forward and so forth. The little dance they all do while meeting each other for the first time is quiet entertaining. Next, have someone hold the established dog, all four feet on the ground, facing someone sitting in a chair or on a sofa holding new puppy, rear end down towards the established dog’s face. The established dog can then “read the paper” so to speak. The puppy’s anal glands will offer myriads of information to the established dog. This actually shows honor to the established dog and is non-threatening. Only when you feel the two (or more) are ready to play safely on the floor with supervision, introduce puppy to the play area of the house. Until you are confident that every canine family member is good with this new member of the pack, please, exercise caution and supervise generously.
Children and Chihuahuas
We love children and we love Chihuahuas. However, children can pose a risk to such a tiny canine. Our cautions for a home with children, would be that the adults in the home would take time to train the children on several key things. Little Chi puppies hop like bunnies. They can leap right out of your grasp. Please, advise children to hold puppy in a secure way if standing or walking with puppy. When we meet for pick up I will show you my method and hopefully, that will assist you in this area. Having young children sit down on the floor or lay down on the floor can be grand fun! Puppy climbs all over them as they giggle and laugh. Sitting on the floor while holding puppy allows for children to get use to puppy and how to handle a little puppy, yet poses no risk of puppy falling. Teach children not to chase the puppy. Puppy will race around furniture like a small bat in flight! If children race after the puppy, puppy can stop on a dime while children keep running and accidents can happen. Teach children to be very aware of closing doors in an alert manner. Puppies love to follow us. When we walk through a door and close it behind us, we may not know puppy is on our heels and the door could hurt the puppy as it closes. In the early days of puppy in your home, teach all family members to shuffle their feet. It takes a bit of time for puppy to learn to steer clear of our feet while we walk. Shuffling your feet will assure that no one steps on puppy. Alert your children not to feed puppy anything other than dog food. Many foods that we eat are toxic for canine family members. I am working on adding the list of toxic foods to my Helpful Information page. Be very careful during holidays such as Easter, Valentine’s Day, and Christmas. These are wonderful family holidays where chocolate is plentiful. As many of you may know chocolate can be fatal if ingested by your Chihuahua. Grapes and raisins are also toxic.