Chihuahuas are generally not outdoor dogs. Although they enjoy taking leisurely walks with their owners and romping outside on sunny days, they typically prefer cuddles to hike -and whether seeking love or warmth, often prefer to be touching you. Chihuahuas are extremely vulnerable to cold weather, their size and close proximity to the ground makes it difficult to their bodies to retain heat. Most of them detest rain and other harsh weather conditions.
Dogs with fair skin, like the Chihuahuas are all especially susceptible to sunburn, but any dog can burn if exposed to the sun for too long. Any body part not covered by fur – primarily the nose, tips of the ear, and belly – can be extremely vulnerable.
The best protection is staying out of direct sunlight during the middle of the day. If your dog is going to be out and about on a sunny day, make sure to use sunscreen. Canine versions of this human must-have item are designed specifically for your dog’s skin and can be purchased from a number of pet supply retailers.
You can also use your own sunscreen in a pinch. Just use the same rules you do for human use – go with a sun protection factor of at least 15 and make sure your product is PABA-free. PABA (paraaminobenzoic acid), a chemical that absorbs ultraviolet light, is dangerous for dogs flicked or ingested. Zinc oxide, acommon ingredient in human sunscreen and a popular product on its own, is similarly toxic to dogs.
It may be inevitable that your Chihuahua will lick off some of the product. An excellent diversionary tactic is offering a dog cookie or other favorite food item immediately after application. The Chihuahua may forget about the sunscreen when presented with his favorite dog treats.
In the city or country
While some dogs are better suited for the city or the country, the Chihuahua is one breed that can easily acclimate to either environment. These dogs are remarkably portable. They can be carried virtually anywhere, but they also revel in walking on a leash. Like other dog breeds, A Chihuahua should never be allowed to run free without proper fence or other enclosure, but one certainly doesn’t need acres of land for this breed to have an adequate yard for play. A small apartment in the city can easily serve as a playground for a Chihuahua.
Many Chihuahuas thrive in an apartment setting, with staircases and limited space posing little difficulty to most dogs and owners. While you may view your dog as outgoing and quick to express his opinions, a neighbor with thin walls may describe your Chihuahua as yappy. Chihuahuas possess an especially keen sense of hearing and are often the first to alert you to a visitor’s arrival.
Extreme caution is needed for outdoor areas where other animals might come into contact with your dog. A neighbor’s perfectly friendly collie could fatally wound your Chihuahua in just seconds by simply trying to initiate play. Larger dogs can easily step on a Chihuahua or grab him an break his neck with one quick shake.
Wild animals will not hesitate to make a meal out of someone’s unsupervised Chihuahua.As many wild animals are feeling the urban squeeze, don’t assume that rural towns are the only areas for concern. It could happen anywhere, so never leave your Chi outside unattended.