Chihuahuas are popular pets the world over. What’s not to love? They are super cute, fun, portable friends! Chihuahuas have their own unique personalities and as a breed they have some unique qualities too. If you love a Chihuahua, there are some important things you can do to make sure your furry friend lives long and well.

Hack #1 – Cover Me with Love: Personal Protection Equipment

Some of us are familiar with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that is required in the workplace per Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines.

Well, maybe your tiny canine needs a little PPE too. Because of his size, he is at risk of dangers that might be less likely for bigger dogs. One of these Chihuahua risks is hawk or raptor attack. Dogs have been grabbed practically from their owner’s grasp even in urban areas.

Make sure your dog is leashed whenever you are outside and it might be wise to add a protective cape. There are many brands available for this very purpose. A leash and a jacket are a small investment against a danger that may be unusual, but would be catastrophic!

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Hack #2 – The Head of the Organization: Know when to seek help

Your Chihuahua surely knows that he is the CEO of you and your family, but have you stopped to consider her head? Chihuahuas have a somewhat disproportionate head. Sometimes called “apple head”, the unique head size and shape can be a special issue for them. Hydrocephalus, literally water on the brain, is a problem seen often in Chihuahuas.  Hydrocephalus occurs when there is cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the skull, putting pressure on the brain and associated structures. Sometimes, Chihuahuas also have a developmental issue with their skull, leading to what we call an open fontanel. When a baby’s skull is forming, there are cracks or fissures that allow for expansion as the brain grows. In a normal puppy, the openings will close as the puppy matures, but for Chihuahuas, sometimes closure never occurs. This means that your puppy is at greater risk for serious head injury. One of the best things you can do for your Chihuahua is seeking immediate veterinary assistance whenever there is a fall or even mild blow to the head, just to be sure.

Hack #3 – A Step at a time: Make climbing safe and easy

Head issues are not the only problem that Chihuahuas are predisposed to. They can also suffer from patellar luxation. The patella is actually the “knee cap”, but in a dog, the knees don’t seem quite like ours. A patella should reside in the center of the leg and normally stays in place inside a groove on the femur. In some dogs (especially tiny ones), the groove seems to be more shallow and allows the patella to slip out of place. When the patella is out of place, your dog cannot walk normally and is at greater risk of falls (made even more important by the open fontanel issue). Protect your dog from falling by being alert to places where she wants to climb and providing steps for her to safely go up and down. There are many portable, padded step options for your Chihuahua.

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If you can develop heightened awareness to watch for dangers to your Chihuahua, you can proactively head off and address some of the dangers. We would love to hear things that you have found to make your Chihuahua’s life safer and easier!

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