How to Bathe a Chihuahua in 8 Easy Steps

If you’re looking for a step-by-step guide on how to bathe a Chihuahua properly, this article will cover it all!

If your Chihuahua is anything like our Leo, they are not a fan of bath days.

But, after years of giving Leo baths, we’ve picked up some tricks along the way to make bathtime a smoother ride.

We will lead you through the process of how to give your Chihuahua a bath so that you can turn this dreaded chore into a positive experience for your pup. 

You’ll get the answers to all your questions such as how often to give your dog a bath and what supplies you’ll need to ensure a successful doggy bath. 

Black long-haired Chihuahua wearing a white robe sitting next to a bath tub, rubber ducks, and towels.

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How Often Should You Bathe Your Chihuahua?

Chihuahuas can be bathed as often as once a week up to every 6 weeks, or somewhere in between.

Typically, you don’t want to bathe them more often than once a week because it tends to dry out their skin. 

But, some dogs with allergies and certain medical conditions may need baths daily.

Chihuahuas require regular grooming (including nail clipping) to stay nice and clean, and it can even help your dog allergies.

Regular bathing helps your dog’s coat and skin stay healthy which reduces shedding.

Your dog’s fur traps dirt, bacteria, and allergens so bathing will wash those particles off and help prevent itchy skin.

If your dog ends up getting dirty too quickly and it’s not time for a bath yet, you can easily spot clean with a washcloth or clean their paws with a wipe. 

What Do You Need to Bathe a Chihuahua?

There are several supplies you will need to give your Chihuahua a bath.

Make sure to have all your items set out before you start running the bathwater. 

Items needed:

If your pup doesn’t like baths, definitely give them a few treats afterward for some positive reinforcement!

Where to Give Your Chihuahua a Bath?

Dark long-haired chihuahua with soapy fur in a bath tub

Since Chihuahuas are so small, you have quite a few options for bathing them in your house: the sink, the bathtub, or the shower

The most popular choice is the sink since Chihuahuas fit perfectly inside.

We use the sink because our faucet has a sprayer, making it super easy to rinse our dog.

If yours doesn’t have a sprayer, you can easily use a cup for rinsing. Don’t forget to put down a non-slip pad!

Another alternative is the bathtub.

You’ll only need to fill the tub up 1-2 inches.

A drawback of using the tub is that it might be harder to control your dog in such a big space.

This sprayer that attaches to your showerhead will make scrubbing and rinsing a breeze.

If you’d prefer to use your shower or you don’t have a bathtub, then that is an option as well.

We recommend you get an elevated dog tub to place right inside your shower.

The great thing about this tub is you won’t get a backache from bending over to wash your dog. 

What Temperature Should I Bathe my Chihuahua?

The temperature of the water should be lukewarm (90-105 degrees Fahrenheit). Chihuahuas get cold easily so the water needs to be warm enough but not scalding.

Making sure the water is at the correct temperature is important or else your dog could have an unpleasant experience. 

How to Bathe a Chihuahua in 8 Easy Steps

1. The first thing you’ll need to do is decide where you’re going to bathe your Chihuahua from the options above and gather all your bath supplies

2. Give your dog a good brushing to remove excess fur that would end up in the bathwater. 

3. Heat up your water to lukewarm then fill your sink or tub with 1 inch of water.

4. Place your dog in and get them nice and wet using the sprayer or by filling a cup.

5. Lather them up with shampoo and soap up their back, belly, tail, head, neck, and paws. Be careful not to get shampoo in their eyes.

6. Rinse thoroughly so that no shampoo is left behind. Use a washcloth or your hand to shield their eyes. 

7. Use conditioner and leave it on for a couple of minutes then rinse well. 

8. Drain the water and then wrap your Chihuahua in a fluffy towel right away (they get cold very easily). Rub their fur to get excess water off and wipe their ears out. Then let them shake off.

Optional: you can blow dry them or just let them air dry, preferably in the sun.

Give a couple of treats to reward your dog for doing a good job!

These are the 5 best treats for Chihuahuas!

How to Dry Your Chihuahua

Tan and white chihuahua wrapped in a fluffy pink towel after a bath

A dog can shake about 70 percent of the water from its fur in around 4 seconds.

But since Chihuahuas get cold so easily, you will want to get the rest of them dry, especially during winter.

There are a couple of options for drying your dog.

You can either use a blowdryer for dogs on low or let them air dry, preferably somewhere warm like in the sun.

It’s important to wipe inside their ears with cotton balls after a bath.

If not dried properly, they can get an ear infection.

This is especially crucial for floppy-eared Chihuahuas.

What Kind of Brush Do You Use on a Chihuahua?

Since this breed of dog is so small, hard-bristle brushes can be too rough.

It’s best to use a small rubber curry brush, which is gentle and won’t irritate their skin or this combo brush.

While your Chihuahua is drying, you can start brushing them to get rid of any tangles and smooth the fur.

If you have a long-haired Chihuahua, you might need to spray some leave-in conditioner to make it easier to brush.

7 Tips For a Less Stressful Bathtime

Most dogs, like our Chihuahua, hate getting baths.

It can be a stressful experience for both you and your dog, but it is important to have a clean pup. Here are some tips to help bathtime be more enjoyable!

1. Start Gradually

If your dog is terrified of baths, get them used to the bathtub by scattering treats in it.

Then move on to a quick rinse with no soap.

This will help them get more comfortable with water.

Once they are calm and used to the water, you can move forward with a regular bath.

2. Prepare in Advance

Before you even start filling the tub, gather all your bathing supplies within arm’s reach.

This includes shampoo, towels, a brush, and any other items you’ll need.

Being well-prepared can help keep the process smooth and stress-free.

If you put your dog in the tub and then realize you forgot something, it will just prolong the bath and you’ll be dealing with a wet dog that’s trying to escape.

3. Use the Right Water Temperature

Make sure the water is comfortably warm, similar to what you’d use for a baby.

You don’t want the bathwater to be too hot because your dog could get burnt or too cold because Chihuahuas hate being cold.

Lukewarm water is the key and will make for a more pleasant bath.

4. Add some toys

Make bathtime fun and interesting! Most dogs don’t like standing still with nothing to do.

Bring some of their favorite waterproof toys into the tub and let them have a bit of fun playing around. 

You can attach a lickmat with some peanut butter to the side of the bathtub to keep your dog busy while you bathe them.

5. Provide a Post-Bath Reward

Provide lots of treats and praise during bathtime to encourage your dog and afterward as a thank-you for being well-behaved!

When the bath is over, give them their favorite chew or engage in playtime!

This will create a positive experience and your pup will associate good things with bathtime.

6. Keep a positive attitude

If your dog doesn’t like baths, don’t take it out on them!

It is easy to get frustrated so instead try to stay positive.

Bathtime will go much more smoothly if you are calm and patient with your dog. 

7. Gentle Handling

Handle your dog gently and with care.

Avoid getting water or soap in their eyes, ears, or nose. You can put cotton balls in their ears to avoid getting water in.

Use a soft, gentle touch and speak soothingly to keep them calm.

By handling your dog gently and paying close attention to their sensitive areas, you can ensure that bath time becomes a less stressful experience for both of you.


Now you know exactly how to bathe a Chihuahua!

We hope by following these steps, you’ll be better equipped on how to bathe a Chihuahua properly.

Remember that you can turn this into a positive experience for your pup by giving them treats and lots of praise. 


What Shampoo Do I Use for a Chihuahua?

Look for a dog shampoo with simple ingredients.  You want to avoid any harsh chemicals that will affect your dog’s sensitive skin. We use and recommend EarthBath. If your dog has itchy, red or sensitive skin, using a shampoo with oatmeal or aloe vera will help soothe their skin. 

At What Age Can You Bathe a Chihuahua Puppy?

You can begin giving a Chihuahua puppy a bath with shampoo once they are 3 months old (12 weeks). Up until then, it’s best to spot clean with a wet washcloth. 

Do Chihuahuas Like the Water?

There are some Chihuahuas who love water and others who hate it, so it depends on your specific dog.

Lots of Chihuahuas enjoy swimming in pools and lakes as long as the water isn’t too cold. Some Chihuahua puppies tip over or dig in their water bowls for fun.

Can You Bathe a Chihuahua With Dawn Dish Soap?

Using Dawn dish soap to bathe a Chihuahua is not recommended. Dawn is designed to remove oils from dishes and is not formulated for use on dogs. Using it as a regular shampoo can strip the natural oils from your Chihuahua’s skin and coat, leading to dryness, irritation, and even skin infections. Dog shampoos are specifically designed to maintain the pH balance of a dog’s skin.

Do Chihuahuas Like Baths?

Whether Chihuahuas like baths or not depends on the individual dog’s personality and past experiences. Some Chihuahuas enjoy the warm water and find it relaxing, while others may feel anxious or scared during bath time. 

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