Whether you’re someone who’s allergic to dog hair or just don’t want to find it on every piece of clothing you own, it’s important to know which breeds might shed before you buy – and that includes the chihuahua.
Keep reading for an in-depth look at whether chihuahuas shed, how much, and what prospective owners can do with all the excess hair.
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Do Chihuahuas Shed?
The short answer is yes – chihuahuas, like most dogs, do shed throughout the year. Compared to other dogs, a chihuahua’s shedding capacity falls somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. While they may not shed as much as a husky or a golden retriever, they do shed more than the hypoallergenic poodle.
The good news is that their small size means they’ll usually shed less than bigger or medium-sized dogs.
Keep in mind that how much your chihuahua sheds can also depend on the type of coat they have. For instance, long-coated chihuahuas will only shed a little more than smooth-coated ones.
When Do Chihuahuas Shed the Heaviest?
Even if they shed throughout the entire year, you may notice times where there’s excess hair around the home. During the fall and spring, chihuahuas tend to shed more as their coat changes – they’ll shed their summer coat for a winter one during the fall, and then shed that thicker, winter fur when springtime hits.
Why Do Chihuahuas Shed?
Since most of these toy breeds live their lives in the air-conditioned lap of luxury, why do they even shed at all?
Like any dog, chihuahuas naturally shed so that a newer, protective fur coat can grow in. Dogs aren’t able to sweat when they need to cool off like humans can, so their fur coat is one of many things that helps regulate their internal body temperature.
Even if they aren’t spending a lot of time out in the cold, chihuahuas will still grow a thicker, denser fur coat during the winter time. This prevents heat from escaping, and keeps them warmer – just like you may throw on an extra jacket in the winter when you leave the house.
In the summer, their thinner coat slows down the process of heat absorption and helps keep them cool and avoid overheating too easily.
Tips and Tricks to Minimize Your Chihuahua’s Shedding
If you’re fur-allergic or just don’t want to pull out the vacuum every day, we’ve got a couple of tips to help control your chihuahua’s shedding, especially during those heavier times of the year.
Make Sure You’ve Got the Right Tools
Brushing is a major component to minimize shedding, but you’ve got to make sure you’ve got the right tools. If your chihuahua has a double-coat or longer fur, you may want to pick up a slicker brush. These brushes are especially great at picking up loose hairs or even untangling knots in the undercoat.
For short-haired chihuahuas without an undercoat, a bristle brush is usually sufficient. Keep in mind that there are also special de-shedding tools you can pick up if your pup sheds more than usual (or just isn’t a big fan of being groomed).
Brush Your Chihuahua Daily
Once you’ve got the right tools, the next step is settling into a daily routine. While brushing your chihuahua every once in a while may help temporarily, the best way to control shedding is with regular (and daily) grooming – especially during the fall and spring seasons.
Of course, all chihuahuas are different. Some pups may be completely cooperative about daily brushing while others despise it or even become reactive. If your furry friend falls into that second category, here are some quick tips to help establish a regular grooming routine with an uncooperative chihuahua:
- Let your chihuahua inspect the brush: Some dogs may be wary about new items, so it’s always a good idea to let your pup look, sniff, and inspect the brush before you try and use it. As they interact with the brush, make sure you give your chihuahua a treat for sniffing the comb (or reacting in a non-aggressive way to it).
- Start slowly: Next, you can slowly and gently touch your chihuahua’s fur with the brush. If they don’t react negatively to the comb touching their skin, you can even start gently brushing. Once again, you’ll want to reward your dog for treats anytime they allow you to run the brush through their fur without reacting negatively.
- Keep grooming sessions short: As your chihuahua gets used to grooming, you don’t want to extend the sessions for hours, or they could become uncooperative. Some chihuahuas may be more tolerant than others, so you can adjust the time based on your pup’s tolerance. Maybe start with five minutes each day, then work up to ten minutes or even fifteen minutes once they’re comfortable.
Give Your Chihuahua a Bath
While not all chihuahuas may like bath time, bathing your pup can mean a lot for shedding. Not only does the water help remove loose fur, but it can get rid of excess dander, dirt, or other debris that may be stuck in their coat. So, giving your chihuahua a bath every two to three weeks can promote a cleaner, healthier coat – and ensure that loose hair falls out in the bath, not all over your floor or clothes.
Like grooming with a brush, you may need to reward bath time with treats or start with short showers until your chihuahua is a little more comfortable.
Use a Blow Dryer
After each bath, you’ll want to use a blow dryer on the cool-air setting to remove any excess loose fur that the water didn’t get. Not only does the blow dryer get rid of more loose hair, but nobody wants to leave their chihuahua shivering, cold, and wet after a bath.
Use High-Quality Food in Their Diet
While there’s no magic pill to prevent your dog from shedding, feeding your chihuahua high-quality kibble or food is another way to promote a healthier, shinier coat. Foods that art chock-full of artificial ingredients, fillers, and preservatives won’t do much to keep your dog’s coat in tip-top shape.
However, foods that have high-quality protein as one of the first or second ingredients are usually the better pick – and you’ll want to avoid options that use protein “meals” in place of regular chicken, beef, or other proteins. You may even find some brands carry specialty foods that are specifically designed to promote healthier coats.
If you’re following the tips above and you still find that your chihuahua is shedding excessively, the next step might be a visit to the vet. It’s normal for chihuahuas to shed, but if their shedding is out-of-control or you’re finding bald patches on their skin, there might be an underlying skin condition or medical issue that’s causing the problem.
In general, if you’re looking for a dog that won’t leave hair all over your house, most chihuahuas only have mild shedding – and you can easily minimize that by regular brushing, giving baths, using a blow dryer, and feeding your dog a high-quality food that keeps their coat healthy.
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Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.