Small Breed Dogs

FACTS ABOUT OWNING A SMALL BREED DOG

 So You want to add a Chihuahua to the family.  You first have to ask yourself some questions.

Firstly, can I afford this dog?  After you spend the money to buy the pup/dog you have to think about the cost of the Veterinarian, shots, food, bed, toys, chew bones, nail clippers, collar, harness and leash.  Also you will have to have your pet spayed/neutered.  In one year you will have spent on average over $700.00, not including the cost of the pup.

Secondly, how much time can I spend with this dog?  Chihuahuas are very social creatures as all dogs are; they want to belong to a pack.  To a dog, when you leave the home, it is like you will never come back.  They long to be with you.  When left alone for too long, they think of ways that they can amuse themselves such as digging and chewing everything.  They may have accidents whether they are paper trained or trained to go to the washroom outside.  People that have full time jobs outside the home should think carefully about getting a dog.  A cat, hamster, lizard or fish might be a better choice if you want to come home to a pet after being gone all day.  It is recommended that all dogs should also be obedience trained as it will help them to become better pets.

Thirdly, do you have active children or a toddler?  It is not recommended that a family with very active or very young children buy a small dog.  Small children don’t know their own strength and can easily hurt or kill a small dog like a Chihuahua (under 6 lbs.).  Youngsters can be taught to be gentle.  All children under 6 years old should be supervised when any Chihuahua pup or adult is around them.

Next, you might ask yourself why do I really want a dog?  Most people decide on a dog because puppies look cuddly and they feel good to touch.  Often people choose a dog for the wrong reasons.  For example, a lot of people choose a dog on the basis of image.  People associate Chihuahuas with the Taco Bell dog or the Legally Blond dog and think it is a cute dog but don’t have a clue about the breed.  About 40% of all dogs bought as puppies are either returned to breeders, given to animal shelters or resold to new families within the first year.  On the other hand there are a lot of people who form attachments with their dogs that last a lifetime.  It is important to remember that every dog is an individual, has its own personality and requires a great deal of care and attention.

So you have decided you still want a Chihuahua to be a part of your family.  Any one can breed a dog but it is critical that you find a responsible breeder.  Read up on the breed and know what to look for in a healthy, genetically sound dog.  How do you know if a breeder is really responsible and can be trusted  to sell you a healthy, genetically sound puppy/dog?  It is a positive sign when a breeder welcomes you into their home or allows you access to the kennel where the dogs have been raised.  A responsible breeder breeds their females only after they have come into their second heat.  They will have you sign a non breeding contract with them and will have the pup Registered with the Canadian Kennel Club.  If they are a member of the Canadian Kennel Club they will not charge you more for the Registration papers for the pup, as it belongs with the pup.  A written Health Guarantee for the pup/dog you are buying should be provided.  They will not sell you a pup before it is 9 weeks old.  A written Veterinarian’s certificate should also be provided and one to two sets of shots, depending on the age of the pup, should also be done.  Responsible breeders want to know who you are and how their pup will be looked after.  They believe in quality, not quantity.  They will not attempt to deceive you when they sell you a dog.

Can you afford to pay incidental Veterinarian bills if something goes wrong with your pup/dog, if it needs an operation, medication or surgery because of an accident?  Medical Veterinarian bills can be in the thousands and you have to be prepared to pay large vet bills when an accident happens if you want your pet to survive.  Vets are highly qualified professionals and a broken leg or illness can be very pricy.  We try always to be careful but that is why they are called accidents, we don’t plan for them to happen.  The are health insurance plans available for pets that are offered through your nearest animal clinic.

Questions Responsible Breeders should ask you:

Why does the person or family want a dog and who will take care of it?

Are there any children in the home and if so, how old are they?

What are the potential owner’s attitude towards obedience and training?

Will there be someone at home during the day to spend time with the pup/dog?

How much quality time can they spend each day with the dog?

Has the person owned a Chihuahua before and do they have other pets now?

Are they aware of all the responsibilities that go along with having a puppy/dog?

To make the right decision you must do your research on both the breeder and the breed as well as recognizing the impact of a puppy/dog on your lifestyle.