Your dog is stinky and dirty and it’s been a long time since the last time you’ve given your Chihuahua a bath. Today is the day that you will finally do it and I’m here to help you out. Whether this is your first time giving your dog a bath or your dog just won’t stay still causing you too much trouble, don’t worry I’ll share a few tips and tricks that will make things go a lot smoother.

The whole process is pretty straight forward so don’t feel too intimidated if you have never done this before. I personally like to gather everything I will need ahead of time. That way I don’t have to go looking for things while my dogs are standing soaking wet waiting for me – because honestly, they won’t be doing much waiting. Although they tolerate me giving them baths, they certainly would rather be doing other things. So having everything I will need within hands reach is extremely helpful.

Here is what you will need:

  • Pet safe shampoo – never use human shampoos or dishwashing soap. Human shampoos and soaps contain a lot of harsh chemicals that would damage your dog’s coat and remove the important natural oils.
  • Clean towel – you will want to dry off your dog as soon as you are finished. You don’t want a wet dog running around making a mess around your house.
  • Couple of cotton balls (recommended) – you don’t want to get water in your dog’s ears. I like to put a couple of cotton balls to help catch any accidental water splashes.
  • Brush (recommended) – if your Chihuahua has long hair I highly recommended brushing your dog first before the bath.
  • Soft scrub glove (optional) – some people prefer to just scrub their dog with their fingers, but I find that a scrub glove helps with Chihuahuas that have long hair. It’s good at massaging their fur and also tends to catch a lot of loose hair.

Now that everything is right where you need it, you’re ready to start!

Step 1 – It’s a good idea to brush your dog before the bath. There are probably quite a bit of loose hairs that are barely clinging on to your dog’s coat. By brushing him before the bath you will get rid a lot of them and that means less hair on your hands and, more importantly, less hair clogging up your sink.

Step 2 – Turn on the water in the sink/tub to a cool or lukewarm temperature. Run the water against your wrist to make sure it’s not too hot or too cold. Since your hands are not as sensitive to the temperature, it’s easy to make the water too hot or too cold if you only go by how it feels against your hands. You want the temperature of the water to feel comfortable to your Chihuahua if you have any hopes of him staying still for you.

Step 3 – if you did decide to use the cotton balls, this is a good time to put them in the dog’s ears. Be gentle and don’t stuff them in there. They should barely hang on. If your dog is not used to them, he will try to shake them off. If they fall off, grab a couple more and try again. After a while he will get used to them and they won’t bother him as much. For the first few times you will probably have to hold his head still to prevent him from shaking them out. Just be sure you don’t put wet cotton balls back in his ears after he shakes them off.

Step 4 – Rinse him from top to bottom. You want the water to wash all the loose dirt off. If your Chihuahua has long hair use your fingers to gently massage the water into his fur so that it gets thoroughly wet. You want to get rid of all the dirt and sand before you start scrubbing him with the shampoo.

Step 5 – Get the shampoo and massage it into his coat. Again, start from the top and work your way down. Massage it into his coat with your fingers or a scrub glove if you have until you got his whole body covered in shampoo. Be careful not get any into his eyes, ears, nose or mouth. When working around the head area, use one hand to hold his head still and the other to rub the shampoo in.

Step 6 – Completely rinse out all of the shampoo off him until the water runs clear and shampoo free. Any shampoo that’s left in his coat can’t be good for him and when left to dry will leave flakes. So all that effort to make your dog look clean will be wasted. Massage his whole coat with your fingers to make sure that the water has the chance to rinse everything out.

Step 7 – Now that you’re all done, its time to dry off your little buddy. Lay down the towel and put your dog on top of it. Having the towel underneath him will prevent him from dripping all over your floor. Use the edges of the towel to completely dry him off. If it is a cold day then you can wrap him in the towel and keep him in your lap until he dries off.

Step 8 – A little reward can’t hurt. Give your dog a little treat to reward him for putting up with you. The treat will work as motivation to stay still the next time he needs a bath.

And that’s it, told you it was easy. The only hard part is keeping your dog still while you wash his face, but with more practice it gets easier. Once he gets more accustomed to you touching his face and starts trusting you more, it won’t be as much of an issue any more.


If your Chihuahua gets himself in messy trouble before its time for his next bath, usually a quick rinse with water will do a good job at cleaning him off. Just repeat the steps above without the shampoo or soap. Since you won’t be using any chemicals with a quick rinse, you can do it as often as needed.

As for day to day things, a damp towel to wipe off his feet after walking on mud/puddles is pretty much all you will need. Chihuahuas are pretty clean. Your little buddy will do most of the “daily grooming” himself – even if it’s unnecessary.


Since I get asked a lot of questions about baths and how to get your dogs to stay still, I decided to add a few additional tips that should help.

Only bathe your dog once every three to six months – Any more than that is too much. Even though dog safe shampoos don’t contain as many harsh chemicals as human soaps/shampoos, they still can cause harm. Bathing a Chihuahua with shampoo/soap too often can wash away important oils from their coats that keep them clean and shiny.

Never spray your dog with perfume – I know that the dog smell isn’t the best smell in the world but you should never use any perfumes on your Chihuahua. Since dogs have a sense of smell that’s far more sensitive than ours, the strong scent of perfume can easily irritate their little noses.

Walk your dog before his bath time – if your Chihuahua won’t stay still during bath time, try to tire him out a bit before his bath. A quick walk or a short play session before bath time could do just that. This is especially usefully if you own a puppy that is just bursting with energy.

Make things as pleasant as possible – never yell or shout at him while giving him a bath no matter how difficult he makes things for you. You don’t want him to think of bath time as a stressful experience that should be avoided at all costs.

Trim your dog’s nails after his bath – if his nails have gotten too long and are due for a trimming, the best time to do it would be right after a bath. Since they are a lot softer after soaking in water, they will be much easier to clip.

If you have any tips or advice that you think others would find useful, don’t hesitate to add your stories in the comment section below!

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