With a long lifespan of 12 to 20 years, Chihuahuas are one of the all-time favorite dog breeds and one of the best dogs out there when it comes to controlled shedding.
They’re small pups, but their heart is giant. What’s even bigger is their personality: you either love them or not.
Chihuahuas do shed, but it’s only moderately throughout the year, and slightly more during the shedding seasons. However, there is no such thing as a way to stop shedding.
It’s a natural process that has to happen. But, what we can help with is how to manage Chihuahua shedding like a pro.
Chihuahua Basics: The Coat
No matter what type of Chihuahua you have; a deer head or an apple head; it will have one of these two coat types: the short-haired one and the long-haired one.
The short haired Chihuahua has a coat that sits closely to its body, and has a shiny and silky texture. It’s thin, but it’s not thick. It’s just right in the middle.
The long-haired Chihuahua does have a long coat, but it doesn’t fall to the ground like with many other dog breeds, i.e., the Pomeranian.
The hair is thicker around the ears, mane, underbelly, and tail. They don’t shed more; it’s just that their hair is more prominent.
Both short-haired and long-haired Chihuahuas have double coats. They consist of two layers that work together to keep the dog warm and to regulate the body temperature when it’s too hot outside.
The underlayer is wooly and keeps the body heat retained while the outer layer protects the underlayer from the harsh elements like wind, snow, sun, and rain.
Coat Color Varieties Chihuahuas Come In
Chihuahuas come in a variety of different coat colors. The breed is recognizable for the following variations: black, black and tan, blue and tan, chocolate, chocolate and tan, cream, fawn, white, and red.
There are many other colors that Chihuahuas can sport, but they’re not officially recognized.
What’s also specific for this breed is that they can have a coating mixture, displaying some larger spots blended of the above-mentioned colors.
Bear in mind that the coat color has nothing to do with the amount of shedding. A black Chihuahua will shed as much as a white one or any other color of dog. Also, all colors have the same grooming schedule.
When getting a Chihuahua, you might want to check if the coat color matches the colors in your home. Seriously, if you fancy a light-colored home, then try choosing a white or light-colored Chihuahua.
How Much Does A Chihuahua Shed?
Chihuahuas shed frequently, but there are certain times of the year when they shed more.
Even though Chihuahuas shed every day, they’re still light to moderate shedders throughout the year. However, when the shedding season comes around, they shed a bit more. Luckily, they aren’t frequent shedders, especially at certain times of the year.
Chis aren’t heavy shedders compared to other dog breeds like the Golden Retriever. Keep their body size in mind. They’re small dogs, so there isn’t much hair to shed anyway.
When Do Chihuahuas Shed?
The Chihuahua dog comes from Chihuahua; a northern state in Mexico. Even though tropical weather dominates Mexico, some states have freezing weather with snow, and Chihuahua is one of these states.
The whole point of seasonal shedding is to prepare the coat for different seasons. It’s the time these dogs shed the most.
Shedding seasons kick in during spring and winter. As the spring ends and the summer approaches, a Chi will shed its winter coat in an attempt to thin it out for the summer. It’s the heaviest shedding season, and the dog has lots of coats to drop.
It is also a season in which you should remove the dog’s undercoat with a brush. The light summer coat will keep the dog protected from the sun, and it will also keep it cool.
As the winter approaches, the light jacket will become a much-needed heavy winter coat.
Why Do Chihuahuas Shed So Much? What Triggers Shedding
Besides the change in season, there are other reasons why Chihuahuas might shed more. Naturally, some triggers are nothing to worry about while some others have to be monitored carefully.
Stress is a common reason why the dog might shed. Chihuahuas are sensitive dogs, no matter how loud they can bark and act tough. A Chi under stress will lose more of its coat than it normally would, but in most cases, it’s nothing to worry about.
Excess shedding could be a sign that the dog is suffering from a skin infection or a parasite infestation like fleas or mites. Also, excess shedding can be a sign that the dog is allergic to something like a new shampoo.
Any changes in the skin should be looked at by the vet, especially if you notice inflamed or sore skin or if the dog is losing hair in patches.
In most cases, it’s something that can be treated. However, sometimes it could be a sign of something more serious.
Excessive hair loss is also a common sign of severe health conditions. A further investigation at the vet should help find a diagnosis.
Chihuahua Shedding: Managing Your Chihuahua’s Shedding Schedule
Regular brushing is the key to keeping your Chihuahua’s hair off your furniture.
What you must accept is that your Chihuahua will shed no matter what. There’s really nothing you can do to stop it. However, there are numerous ways you can manage the shedding and keep it to a minimum.
Not all techniques work on all Chihuahuas. You need to combine a few of them to be effective.
Single-Coat Vs Double-Coat Chihuahuas
Chihuahuas can have either a single coat or a double coat.
• Single-coat Chihuahuas have a single top coat consisting of thick guard hairs.
• Double-coat Chihuahuas have a top coat of guard hairs and an undercoat of softer, thinner hair.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) accepts Chihuahuas with or without an undercoat. Only a sparse coat is not accepted.
Do Long-Haired Chihuahuas Shed More Than Short-Haired?
Long-coat Chihuahuas shed more, right? Well, not necessarily.
If a smooth-coat Chihuahua has an undercoat, it will shed less than a long-coat Chi without an undercoat. Most long-coat Chis have two coats while only some of them have one coat (a top coat).
Besides, long-coat Chihuahuas shed their hair in clumps, making it easier to clean.
Are Chihuahuas Hypoallergenic Dogs?
There is no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic dog. However, there are dog breeds pretty close to that title considering how many asthma and allergy sufferers tolerate them. Still, the Chihuahua is not listed as a hypoallergenic breed by the AKC.
If you or some of your family members suffer from asthma or allergies, then a Chihuahua could be your family pet as long as the dog has proper hygiene and it’s groomed regularly.
When it comes to allergies, it’s not the hair that’s problematic, it’s the dander attached to the fur.
If you properly groom your Chihuahua and keep the house clean by using a good pet hair vacuum cleaner, then people suffering from allergies might never feel the Chis dander and all that lint flying all over the place.
Brushing: The Best Way To A Nice Coat
Brushing is the best way to manage a dog’s coat and how fast the dog sheds. Regular brushing not only gets rid of the dead hair, it also helps to spread the natural coat oils, remove dirt, and keep the dog looking fine.
Always remember that the more loose hair that is on the brush, the less there is on the floor, the sofa, and everywhere else.
How much you brush your Chihuahua depends on whether your pooch is a short-haired or a long-haired Chihuahua.
A short-haired Chihuahua only needs brushing once a week throughout the year, and twice a week during the shedding season.
A long-haired Chihuahua needs brushing twice a week throughout the year, and every other day during the season.
It will take you only five minutes to brush your Chihuahua, both out of and in season. As long as you teach them how to behave during grooming sessions, this should be a piece of cake for both of you.
Brushing is an excellent way to bond with your dog, so it’s a win-win situation here.
Which Deshedding Products Should I Use?
Using the right brush while brushing your Chihuahua makes half the job already done. But, using the wrong brush may lead to skin irritations and even injuries!
The short-haired Chi will need a soft bristle brush to remove dead hair and dirt. This is also a brush for the shedding season because these dogs don’t have that much hair.
The long-haired Chihuahua will need a pin brush or a slicker brush to brush his long hair, both in and out of the season. You need to be extra gentle with Chihuahua puppies because of their small body.
If you’re keeping your Chihuahua on a harness while going out, you’ll need to keep the coat groomed and brushed so it doesn’t tangle around the harness.
Which Dog Shampoo Should I Get?
Regular bathing helps to reduce shedding problems indoors.
A soft and healthy coat can be achieved only if you wash your dog the way you’re supposed to, and by using the right shampoo and conditioner. A gentle shampoo made from natural ingredients like oatmeal is an excellent choice for Chihuahuas.
Because this dog has large and sensitive eyes, some owners might choose a puppy shampoo because of its tearless formula.
A short-haired Chihuahua should be bathed once every 8 to 12 weeks, while a long-haired Chihuahua should be washed every 4 to 8 weeks. The longer coat collects more dirt than other Chihuahuas, which is why it needs more bathing.
If you believe that by washing your Chi more, you will reduce shedding, you’re absolutely wrong. In fact, frequent bathing can disrupt the coat’s natural oils.
If you own a Chihuahua with a skin condition, then you’ll need medicated shampoo and your vet’s guidelines for further care.
A Proper Diet Promotes Good Coat Condition
In case you didn’t know, your dog’s food heavily affects the health of its coat. Take we humans, for example. Weeks of eating junk food will take its toll on our hair, skin, and overall health status. The same goes for our little buddy, the Chihuahua.
You need to feed your dog a high-quality dog kibble that provides a balanced diet. Always feed your dog the best food you can afford.
A proper diet can help decrease shedding problems. Such kibble is full or omega fatty acids that nourish the skin and coat, both inside and outside. This ensures that the dog sheds only when he has to, and that’s the shedding season.
Keep the diet full of omega fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, fish, fish oil, eggs, flaxseed, biotin, and vitamin E to ensure the best possible coat condition.
You can find more useful information on this dog’s nutrition in our Chihuahua feeding chart.
Should I Give Supplements To My Chihuahua?
There are cases when it’s impossible to feed your dog the recommended amount of omega fats. This is when supplements come in the game.
Fish oil supplements come in the form of an oil, and they’re quite easy to implement in the dog’s diet. Not only does it affect the coat and skin, but it has many other benefits for overall health.
How to Minimize Shedding
• Bathe your dog on schedule with a gentle shampoo if shedding is becoming excessive.
• Brush your dog every day. Use a normal dog hair brush or a Furminator, which is an excellent tool that helps control the fur.
• Brush your dog after bathing and drying.
• Occasionally, rub coconut oil into your dog’s skin after a bath. It’s a massage they’ll appreciate, and a great way to keep the skin moisturized.
• Feed the dog quality dog food to ensure a balanced diet.
• Give vitamin or mineral supplements if you feel they’re needed.
How to Minimize Dog Hair In Your Home
Keeping the house clean and tidy is sometimes an impossible task to do, especially if your dog is a shedder. Luckily, there are some tips that might help you a lot:
• Use a squeegee to run over your carpet to pull up the hair.
• A wet rubber glove over your upholstered furniture helps pick up the dead hairs easily.
• Vacuuming and sweeping is not fun, but you should do it more often.
• Brush your dog outside anytime the weather allows.
Why Does My Chihuahua Shed So Much? Common Causes Of Excessive Shedding
It’s natural for a Chihuahua to lose some of its hair during the shedding season. But, the problems occur when that hair loss becomes excessive, when bald spots and patches appear, or when the fur becomes brittle.
The most common health issues connected to excessive hair loss are:
• Hypothyroidism: This is a condition that affects middle-aged dogs mostly. The thyroid gland begins producing an insufficient amount of thyroid hormone. Symptoms of this condition are high blood cholesterol, lethargy, excessive shedding, anemia, and weight gain. If you believe your dog is suffering from this condition, you should ask the vet to run a blood test to check its thyroid hormone level.
• Cushing’s Disease: This is a condition caused by a chronic overproduction of adrenal gland hormones. It causes hair loss, increased appetite, increased thirst, and increased urination.
• Heat Cycle: Technically not an illness, but this is a condition in which dogs change. Due to increased levels of estrogen hormone, female Chihuahuas will shed more during heat. The estrogen levels should normalize around 24 to 48 hours before the end of estrus.
• Stress: As we mentioned earlier, stress is a profound reason why Chihuahuas shed excessively. The most common stressors are separation anxiety, punishment-based behavioral training, change of surroundings, a death in the family, or an addition to the family.
Photo from @thechiwilife
• Food Allergies: If your dog is allergic to one or more ingredients in its food, it might shed excessively. It’s a response from the Chihuahua’s immune system telling you that the ingredient is a foreign invader. Find a dog food that suits your dog. Don’t keep on feeding it the same dog food that causes allergies. It might take some time to find the right one, but it’s worth it.
• Contact Allergies: Chihuahuas can still be allergic to chemicals or compounds in their environment, even if they don’t have food allergies. The most common allergens include dog shampoo, flea medicine, antibiotics, metals like nickel, along with rubber, wool, plastic, cleaning products, etc. By using the process of elimination, you’ll be able to identify and remove the allergen from your home.
• Infections: Some fungal and bacterial infections can cause excessive shedding, like ringworm and pyoderma.
• Fleas: Not all Chihuahuas will experience hair loss from fleas. However, if your Chihuahua is allergic to flea saliva, it may scratch profusely until bald spots are created.
• Mange: This condition is caused by the parasitic mite, Demodex. It’s a skin disease that causes intense itching and subsequent hair loss.
What You Should Never Do
Excessive shedding can be quite difficult to handle. We know it can become tiring, but you should never shave your Chihuahua in order to keep it from shedding.
A dog’s coat has an important role in regulating body temperature; therefore, the lack of a coat in the winter will make the dog freeze. In the summer, the dog won’t have top hairs needed to slow down heat absorption.
Shaving exposes your Chihuahua to skin and sun damage. Without a protective layer of fur, dogs are prone to painful sunburns no matter if it’s summer or not. Trimming the coat is fine, but shaving it is a huge NO!
Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve gathered a list of the most frequently asked questions every Chihuahua dog owner faces when it comes to shedding and a Chihuahua’s coat.
Do Chihuahuas shed a lot?
The Chihuahua does shed, but compared to other dog breeds, it’s nothing to worry about. Chihuahuas are light to moderate shedders throughout the whole year. Do Chihuahuas shed more during the season? Yes, it becomes a bit heavier during the season. Luckily, it’s a little dog, so there’s not much hair to shed anyway.
How can I stop my Chihuahua from shedding?
That’s the catch: you can’t! Shedding is a natural process that the dog’s body needs to do in order to stay healthy. The best way to reduce shedding is mentioned in our lists above.
Can I shave my Chihuahua?
You can, but you shouldn’t. Never shave your dog because it will increase the risk of its coat getting depleted of its natural oils. You will run the risk of nicking your dog no matter how fancy the tools are that you’re using. The only way it’s acceptable to have hairless dogs is when they’re born that way.
How do I know if it is time to see the vet?
Since Chihuahuas are such light shedders and tiny dogs, it will be quite easy to spot any skin condition that might appear on your dog’s body. Sore, weepy, inflamed skin, or a dog that’s continually scratching itself are all calls for help.
If the shedding is happening in patches, it’s usually a sign that something is wrong with your dog, so you might want to book a vet appointment immediately.
That’s all, folks. This is everything you should know about a Chihuahua’s coat and its shedding cycle. What every future Chihuahua owner should know concerning the question: “Do Chihuahuas shed” can be summed up in one sentence.
Chihuahuas are lightly shedding dogs and a delight to groom.
Their tiny body size makes them one of the ideal dogs when it comes to grooming. If you keep the grooming schedule on time, your Chi should have a nice and healthy coat.
A healthy coat means a healthy dog, and that’s all you should worry about.
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