Looking after your Chihuahuas Teeth and Nails goes without saying but most people have no idea they can do this themselves very easily which also keeps their Vet visits and bill's down to a minimum.
If you have read our article about The Cost of Owning a Chihuahua then you will know how expensive just a consultation with your Vet can be let alone any treatment that may arise from this.
Doing all you can for your Chihuahua's teeth will be a challenge and one that can be very frustrating due to the fact that their teeth are extremely close together so naturally trap food which leads to bacteria build up resulting in decay and gum disease if ignored. The thought of cleaning their teeth with a toothbrush everyday unfortunately is not a situation most of us have the time for although those of you who have time should try this as it is the most effective way of preventing decay, this is of course if your Chihuahua will alloy you to do so. Some of you may use the various Dentastix type treats that are available from all pet stores but given the cost of these and the artificial nature of them we are a firm believer in there are far better less expensive healthier options available for you to use.
You may not know this but unlike Humans dogs are not Food chewers, their teeth are basically designed to tear their food into small enough pieces to swallow so having read this how many of you are now thinking about the times you have said to your Chihuahua "slow down, chew it". Even we here at Chihuahua World still say this to our Chihuahuas knowing full well they won't chew, it's a natural instinct for us to try and teach them but they will never chew anything to a pulp like we do but just to small enough swallowable pieces. This backs up our belief that the pet shop Dental Chews are not that great as they are quite soft so will get eaten quite quickly, being as the manufacturer relies on your dog chewing them to be effective then it goes without saying they are not the best option out there.
So what we need is a healthy, hard, long lasting chew that can be abrasive on their teeth all the time they are gnawing at it, well the answer is a simple one and that is BONES! They are very cheap from your Butchers Shop, very easy to prepare and cook as well as lasting anywhere up to 4 weeks. If you want to offer your Chihuahua this option then view our video article on how to do this here.
What you have just read above are preventative measures so will only help if you start your Chihuahua on them from the moment you bring them home, if when they are more mature you notice that they have bad teeth or breath then opting for a trip to your Vet's may well result in unnecessary treatment and a large bill to pay. One thing to remember is just like most of us "Chihuahuas will suffer from bad teeth" at some stage of their life so regardless of what Vet's sell you or what pet treat manufacturers claim the end result will always be tooth loss at some point. Unless they are in pain then the only thing a Vet can offer is a scrape or extraction, both of these require some form of sedation or worse still an anesthetic, something that we don't recommend for any Chihuahua unless it is absolutely necessary. You will be surprised at the cost for a Vet to perform any kind of dental work on your dog so make sure you are aware of these charges before you consider putting them through this, letting them fall out naturally when gnawing at a bone for example is a much better option unless again they are in any kind of pain.
What we refer to as nails are actually their claws but let's just call them their toe nails, after all it doesn't sound cute if we say "i need to cut my Chihuahuas Claws". Anyway cutting them we have found many of our customers are too scared to even attempt this so the best advice we can give you here is to buy yourself a good set of nail clippers that we use like what you see here.
The nail clippers you see at the Vets or pet shop for sale are OK and cut with a slicing action which normally is better for dogs but we find they are a little too clumsy with very small dogs like our Chihuahuas especially if they don't keep still, this could result in the wrong length cut, too long they will find very uncomfortable and an uneven walk especially on a hard flat ground, too short and unfortunately a painful bloody experience.
What is the right length?
The correct length will be just below the Quick, this is a small vein inside their toe nails so be careful not to cut it as it will bleed quite heavily in some Chihuahuas. Some nails are white so it is easy to see the quick but with the black nails it becomes a little more difficult so our advice here is to just trim enough off to take any point away or any nail that will hang below their pads when they are flat to the ground. Don't panic if you do cause a nail to bleed just get a piece of clean cloth or tissue and press it firmly on the end of the nail for a couple of minutes to allow the blood to clot.
Nails that are too long will cause some discomfort when they walk on hard ground as the nail will be pushed up when walking forward thus mounting pressure on their feet with every step.
Important: Getting your Chihuahua in a comfortable position is vital as most will offer some resistance at some stage of you cutting their nails, the best way we have found is to have a second person hold them tightly under their belly ensuring their legs cannot push against anything so they can jump, this can be achieved by making sure your Chihuahua is facing away from the person holding him or her. If any of our Chihuahua Club members are having difficulty trimming their dog's nails then feel free too bring them along as we will happily do the task for you.