How To Clean and Bathe a Chihuahua

One of the most important grooming routines for a Chihuahua is bathing. Whether you own a long-coat or smooth-coat variety, all Chihuahuas must be bathed to prevent build-ups of dirt and to keep their fur free of any tangles. Unfortunately, many owners allow their Chihuahuas to go un-bathed for long periods of time, making the process even more difficult when they try to place them in a tub or sink. If you're wondering what the best way is to clean them, keep reading and walk you through the steps to bathing a Chihuahua.

Chihuahua Bathing

Chihuahua Bathing

While bathing is an essential grooming routine for a Chihuahua, you should avoid over-doing it. It's far too common for owners to bathe their pups multiple times a week, and while this may not seem like a big deal, it can easily dry out their skin. So, how often are you supposed to bathe them? It really depends on several different factors, such as their level of outdoor activity, what type of shampoo you are using, whether they are long-coat or smooth, how clean the air is inside your home, and how much they clean themselves with their tongue. With that said, a good rule of thumb is to bathe them around once every 2-3 weeks, as this should keep them clean without drying out their skin.

What You'll Need To Bathe a Chihuahua

Before you can give your Chihuahua a proper bath, you'll first need to acquire a few basic supplies. While you may already have some of these laying around your home, chances are you'll need to make a trip to the local pet store for the rest. Here are the items necessary to bathe a Chihuahua:

  • Premium dog-formulated shampoo (people shampoo can be too harsh for their delicate skin).
  • Wash cloth
  • Dry Towel
  • Pitcher or large bowl
  • Some treats

Steps To Bathing a Chihuahua

After you've acquired all of the necessary items, it's time to get to work. To make the bathing process easier and less messy, give your Chihuahua's coat a good brushing to remove any excess fur. Although it's not completely necessary, brushing them beforehand will catch any loose fur on their body that would otherwise end up in your bathtub or sink. We cover the steps to brushing a Chihuahua back on the link previously mentioned, so check it out if you aren't sure how to do it.

There's really no one specific way to bathe a Chihuahua. Some owners prefer doing it in a large sink, while others prefer to do it in the bathtub or tin bucket. As long as you don't get backaches from bending over, then it's usually best just to bathe them in the bathtub. It has a readily available water source, towels, and it's easy to clean up. With the tub stopper removed, turn the water and wait for it to reach a comfortable, luke-warm temperature that isn't going to freeze or scald your Chihuahua.

Now that the water is ready, go and find your Chihuahua and place them in the bathtub. Some Chihuahuas are naturally more standoffish of getting bathed than others; therefore, you may have to play a little canine version of hide-n-go-seek. Just remember to try and make them as comfortable and relaxed as possible. If they are nervous or anxious of getting bathed, try petting and talking to them to calm them down. Typically, this type of behavior goes away once they get into a routine with consistent bathing at certain times of the month.

With your Chihuahua in the bathtub, follow these steps to clean properly clean them:

  • Fill a pitcher or bowl up with luke-warm water and gently pour it over their body while holding shielding their head with your free hand.
  • Read the directions on the label of your dog shampoo to see exactly how much needs to be used. Because of their small size, Chihuahuas usually only need a very small amount of shampoo.
  • Lather the shampoo into their fur coat using either your hands or a wash cloth. Remember, it can easily cause pain and discomfort if it gets into their eyes, so keep their head shielding during the process.
  • Allow the shampoo to sit for a couple minutes to help freshen their coat.
  • Fill the pitcher back up with more water and pour it over their body to rinse out the shampoo. As the water pours over their body, run their coat with your hands to help work out the shampoo. Repeat this step until the water comes out clear and shampoo-free.
  • Now that your Chihuahua is fresh and clean, take them out of the tub and wrap them up in a dry towel. Gently rub the towel against their body to speed up the drying process.
  • Since your Chihuahua did such a good job at bath time, give them a treat followed by lots of petting and praise.
Two Chihuahuas at Bath Time

Two Chihuahuas at Bath Time

Other Helpful Chihuahua Bathing Tips

For whatever the reason, some Chihuahuas do not like getting dried with a towel. Once you wrap them up and try to rub them dry, they may growl and make aggressive noises. Instead of continuing to traumatize them, you can use a hair dryer on them instead. Just turn the hair dryer on a low setting with minimal heat and use it a safe distance away from your Chihuahua. It may take a bit longer than using a towel, but it's a better alternative for Chihuahuas who dislike the the towel drying routine.

Alternatively, you can always let your Chihuahua air dry after they get out of the tub. Depending on how much fur they have, it will generally take up to an hour for them to fully dry. Remember, though, you'll have to keep an eye on them and prevent them from getting up on any furniture you want to stay dry.

29 Responses to “How To Clean and Bathe a Chihuahua”

  1. raven says:

    i throw my towel in the dryer while i bathe my pup. he seems to love being wrapped in the warm towel and has no issue with it. i’ve read not to let them air dry as they get cold so he sits in the warm towel and i blow dry him too.

  2. Angelo Clemente says:

    Can I ask what do you think is the best dog/puppy shampoo for him, well he is just 1 month and 1 week old…

    • Sherry Simpson says:

      I rescued my Brindles from a local rescuer experienced working with animal control and her own successful rescue for 17 years. Like the commercial, she suggested a dish soap famously used by wildlife rescues to clean up animals caught in oil spills.

      I had forgotten about this and am not sure if I can mention the brand name here but the name rhymes with “Fawn”. Hope that helps. 🙂

  3. Kim (KoKo's Mom) says:

    I just gave my 8yr old chihuahua a bath for the first time, and no I dont mean she’s never had a bath. Idk if she has, I adopted her last Tuesday from the humane society here in town. She did an awesome job but she was scared, she was shaking so much. Are there any tricks I can try next time to help her relax?? She’s been through so much and I just want her to know she’s always safe now. Thank you.

  4. Mae says:

    Hi. Im sorry, im a first time chihuahua owner. i bathe her everyday cause shes always rolling to her poop. is it wrong? what should i do?

    • Emily says:

      Hi Mae, I would use a piece of wet tissue to wipe off any stains on her body (whenever necessary) and for her legs, I wipe them daily. Hope this helps! 😊

  5. Brenda says:

    How often do I bathe my chiweenie short hair. Also what is a good shampoo to use. I have been using baby shampoo. And she takes a shower with me. I hope that’s good for her.

  6. bella says:

    Hello I was wondering what shampoo and conditioner should I get for her

  7. bella says:

    Hi, just got a little puppy Chihuahua. As it’s my first time I’m just wondering what shampoo and conditioner would be good for her? She’s long haired.


  8. Drew says:

    What is the right age to start bathing your Chihuahua?

  9. Pippa's Mom says:

    I bathe Pippa one every 4 – 6 weeks. So, far she is just curious when I have a bath and then I just invite her in, and she loves it, ’cause I’m there.

  10. Deborah says:

    My pretty baby girl is bathed once A month. She doesn’t get dirty. Her hair is really shinny.

  11. debra says:

    When I first got my chi I did not bathe her for awhile but if she started smelling like dog I would wash her with cat shampoo and she was fine and I rub her off with a towel because you did not have to use water and will have to admit she will tolerate for about maybe 2 mins of towel rubbing and then she is off ashaking and running it is the most adorable site!

  12. Mary says:

    My Chihuahua was a rescue dog. for four years of her life she was in a small childs bed.
    We have had her one year and she is coming along great except for knowing commands. Here is the problem, when I give her a bath she gets so shook up she will seize Any suggestions?

  13. Mimis says:

    I have a chihuahua he’s 1 month and 2 weeks when can I shower him?

    • betsy says:

      I had asked that question and they had said that you should wait for him to be at least 3 months however you can still bathe younger puppies if they are visibly dirty or smelly.

  14. ashley says:

    I have two chihuahuas that i bath around once a month unless they decide to roll around in bird poop out in the yard. My two are leary about the water at first but as soon as i get them clean, dried off with a towel and set down they run laps around the room. As in to say “im free im free” Its one of the most precious things you can watch.

    • donna says:

      is that not too much. there skin and coat will become dry because you are removing all the natural oil

    • angie says:

      Mine does that too and it is.

      • James says:

        Actually once every two weeks for short hair chihuahua is okay (this is coming from my vet). Since short haired Chihuahuas dont take very long to re-oil their coat compared to a long hair. I bathe my Sort haired Chihuahua, Min-Pin mix once a week and he has no problem with dry skin or dandruff.

    • Tammy says:

      Our Yorkie/Chihuahua mix is scared stiff of the bath water which I keep low, and I will bath with her. Seems that she is bred to be scared of water, which I Love in the form of Lakes, rivers, etc. I just gave her a pH neutral bath and, though she was wary, now she is a speedster, excited and running around with a seemingly proud attitude!

  15. carmella says:

    how old does a chi have to be to bath them. i have two females 11 wks old

    • miriam says:

      i am first time baby chihuahua and i just want to know abt everyday bath time night or swing 1 weekly or 2 day bath ??? pls let me know . and pls touch my email

    • Gabriel says:

      Around 4 weeks old.

      • debra says:

        No you do not have to bathe her for like 6-8 weeks and their are people who will do that for you cut their nails express their anal glands yeh what? I said when I first heard it still do not know why. They are pretty low maintenance just bathe them give them a heart worm pill every month and flea treatment.

    • Tammy says:

      From my limited experience, I suggest getting a chihuahua “friends with water” sooner than later. An inch in a tub playing around, then a little more! I go in the tub with my beautiful 1 year-old, she is apprehensive, however, I believe that because I am there in the bathtub with her, our beautiful Yorkie/Chihuahua mix trusts that the outcome will be well! Sometimes, they really need a bath!

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