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How to Care for Your Chiweenie: The Ultimate Guide

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Introduction

The Chiweenie is a hybrid or mixed dog breed derived from the Chihuahua and the Dachshund. Chiweenie Puppies can vary in appearance, depending on the physical traits it takes from their parent breeds. The Chiweenie can have short legs, long legs, long bodies, or short bodies. A Full Grown Chiweenie can have floppy ears or erect ears, bulging eyes, and overbites. Regardless of which parent they resemble, the Chiweenie is a petite breed, standing at just 6-10 inches tall and between 5-12 pounds. When first born, Chiweenie Puppies can weigh in at 2.5 ounces. Chiweenie Puppies are high-energy, so be prepared to spend a lot of time chasing them around.

Chihuahuas can have two coat types: long-haired or smooth. The Dachshund can have smooth or long hair in addition to a wiry coat. Chiweenie Puppies can have any of the three. A smooth-haired Chiweenie shed less but isn’t considered hypoallergenic. Whatever the texture of a Chiweenie’s coat, Chiweenie Puppies come in a variety of shades. Coat colors include black, white, brown, and tan. A Chiweenie Puppy can also have a merle or brindle coat. The most common coat color for the Chiweenie is tan. Chiweenie Puppies do shed and are not ideal for those who suffer from allergies.

Like its parent breeds, Chiweenie Puppies have strong personalities, though their temperaments can differ. They may inherit the strong will of the Dachshund or the “feisty” nature of the Chihuahua. Regardless of who they take after, the Full Grown Chiweenie is a small dog with a personality. Chiweenie Puppies are confident, spunky, energetic, and fearless to a fault. Though they are small, the Full Grown Chiweenie is not a lap dog and loves to play and be mentally stimulated. A Chiweenie tends to develop a strong bond and loyalty to one person and is not ideal for first-time dog owners. The Chiweenie is portable and loves to travel with its owner. Chiweenie Puppies are best suited for singles, couples, or families with older children. Chiweenie Puppies are not the best option for families with small children. Due to their tiny size, the Chiweenie can be easily injured during play with overzealous or overly affectionate children.

The Chiweenie does better with cats or other small dog breeds than it does with larger dogs. It is best to introduce other fur friends to Chiweenie Puppies rather than a Full Grown Chiweenie. The Chiweenie can do well in an apartment environment, but due to its barky nature, an apartment is not always the best option. If you are looking for a guard dog who will alert you to any danger, the Chiweenie will do so in spades. The Full Grown Chiweenie is not the friendliest of dogs when it comes to strangers. Chiweenie Puppies have a strong tendency towards high-pitched, excessive barking which may not endear you to your fellow apartment tenants. Chiweenie Puppies are often referred to as “yippy.” However, the Chiweenie’s natural barking urge can be tempered with proper training.

Both the Dachshund and the Chihuahua possess a stubborn streak, and the Chiweenie is no different. This makes Chiweenie Puppies difficult to housetrain. Dachshunds were originally trained to be hunters, which gives Chiweenie Puppies a natural urger to chase smaller animals like squirrels. It is best to keep your Full Grown Chiweenie in a fenced-in yard and on a leash when walking to avoid sudden dashes after prey. Daily walks are important for the Chiweenie. While they don’t require the same level of activity as, say, a Golden Retriever, a Full Grown Chiweenie still needs regular walks and playtime. For such a small dog breed, the Chiweenie enjoys strenuous physical activity. Chiweenie Puppies need between 30-60 minutes of activity a day. If this is neglected, behavioral issues will arise in your Chiweenie Puppies. Once they are tired out, Chiweenie Puppies will be happy to curl up on the lap of their favorite human and rest.

Chiweenie Puppies do best in warmer weather because of their small size and short coat. If you live in a colder climate, buy your Chiweenie Puppy a coat or sweater! Chiweenie Puppies have a long life expectancy of 12-16 years. The Chiweenie is a relatively healthy breed but can be prone to certain health issues inherited from its breed parents, such as luxating patellas, and diabetes.

Overall, the Chiweenie is a happy-go-lucky dog that offers the best of both its parent breeds.

History of the Chiweenie

The history behind mixed dog breeds can be hard to come by. Except for a few breeds, most have no known origin story. The Chiweenie, unfortunately, is one of those breeds. It is believed the first breeding of the Dachshund and the Chihuahua occurred in the late 1990s in North America. The purpose of mixing the two breeds was to create a companion breed that resembled the Dachshund without the mixed breed having the back problems that can often affect Dachshunds. Outside of that info, little else is known about the origins of the Chiweenie. Because the Chiweenie is a mixed breed dog, it is not recognized by the American Kennel Club. Thankfully, both of the Chiweenie’s parent breeds have a rich history, and we can look to them to tell us a bit about the Chiweenie ancestry.

How the Chihuahua first came to Mexico is a mystery. However, when the Toltecs ruled Mexico, their dog breed of choice was the Techichi, a larger ancestor of the Chihuahua. The Aztecs are credited with refining the Techichi into a smaller dog. By the 1500s after the Spanish toppled the Aztec empire, the Techichi was thought to be lost, but the breed lived on in small remote villages in Mexico. By the 1800s, as Americans began to discover the breed many were found in the State of Chihuahua. It is from this region that the Chihuahua received its name. The AKC first recognized the Chihuahua in 1904. Chihuahuas are the smallest dog breed in the world with one Chihuahua, Milly, in the Guinness Book of World Records as the smallest dog in the world at only 4 inches tall.

Dachshund is a German word meaning “badger dog”. The Dachshund’s history in Germany goes back 600 years. The Dachshund was developed to dig its way into badger dens. The Dachshund’s low, thin, wiry build was designed specifically for this task. Dachshunds are considered formidable dogs. The Daschund was recognized by the AKC in 1885. Other names for the Dachshund include the Doxie, Wiener-Dog, and Hot Dog. There are many varieties of the Dachsund, from short-haired to long-haired. Dachshunds are extremely popular in the United States, ranking 11th among American Kennel Club Dog Breeds in 2019.

The Chiweenie is sometimes called the “Mexican Hot Dog” or the “German Taco” because of its Mexican and German origins. Because the Chiweenie is a crossbreed, it is not recognized by the American Kennel Club or the UK Kennel Club. The Chiweenie cannot be registered for official pedigree papers with major canine organizations. The most famous Chiweenie is Tuna, a Full Grown Chiweenie who has over 2 million followers on Instagram. Because of its loving and energetic nature, the Chiweenie continues to gain popularity with dog owners.

black chiweenie dog sitting on couch

Breed Intelligence

Because of their stubborn streak, training the Chiweenie is a challenge. Chiweenie Puppies are not great at following commands, and they do not respond well to harsh or stern voices during training. You will fare better in training your Chiweenie Puppy by using positive reinforcement. Make the training sessions with Chiweenie Puppies short and fun. Full Grown Chiweenie can be harder to train, and you may need to bring in a professional trainer to assist you.

Chiweenie Puppies is over-protective by nature and will bark at the door or strangers they come into contact with. Socialization of your Chiweenie is key. Introduce your Chiweenie Puppies to other people while they are young. Be careful not to overwhelm Chiweenie Puppies – no large groups of people or parties in the beginning. The purpose of socialization is to get your Chiweenie used to others coming into their – and your – physical space. With enough socialization, your Chiweenie Puppy will no longer see every new person they meet as a potential threat.

On the Dog Intelligence Ranking list created by Professor Stanley Coren, the Dachshund ranks at 49 with average intelligence and an ability to understand new commands at 25-40 repetitions. The Chihuahua ranks a bit lower at 67 with an ability to understand new commands at 40-80 repetitions. This gives the Chiweenie an average intelligence. Of course, all dogs are different, and your Chiweenie may be above average in its ability to understand commands.

Cognitive Health

Mental Stimulation

The Chiweenie thrives on mental stimulation. While they are small, the Full Grown Chiweenie does not like to sit on a lap all day. Finding ways to keep your Chiweenie Puppies mentally stimulated can have a long-term positive impact on their cognitive health. Going for long walks is often not enough to stimulate a Chiweenie. Walking may physically exhaust your Chiweenie, but it won’t mentally exhaust them. Engaging your Chiweenie’s mind is a vital part of play. Lack of mental stimulation can lead to your Chiweenie chewing on furniture or digging holes in your yard out of sheer boredom.

Games

Give your Chiweenie Puppies a food-dispensing toy. A food-dispensing toy is any toy that requires your Chiweenie to work to figure out how to dispense the treats. These toys give your Chiweenie Puppies a chance to use their natural hunting skills. Another game option is dog puzzles. Dog puzzles can come in all shapes and sizes, and you can even DIY one with a muffin tin and tennis balls. Another easy and simple game to play with your Chiweenie Puppies is the “Which Hand Game”. To play this game all you need are treats. You allow your Chiweenie Puppy to see you place a treat in your hand. Close your hand, palms down, and ask your Chiweenie Puppies “which hand?” When your Chiweenie Puppy touches or signals to the right hand, you give them the treat and praise them.

Scent Walks

Another way to stimulate your Chiweenie’s mind is to take them to a dog park. Not only will this allow your Full Grown Chiweenie to socialize with other dogs, but they will get to sniff all of the new and intriguing smells around them. You can also take your Chiweenie Puppies on a “scent walk.” Smell plays a huge role in mental stimulation for dogs. Dogs have hundreds of millions of scent receptors in their noses, compared to the few million we humans have. Your Chiweenie devotes 40 percent of its brain volume to decoding and understanding scents. Scent walks are simple and easy. The focus should not be on the walk itself. Don’t worry about having a specific destination. Take your Chiweenie Puppies out, and when something catches her attention that she is interested in smelling, let her. Allow your Full Grown Chiweenie to take as much time as she wants. Scent walks should be slow and purposeful. Your Chiweenie may be a quick sniffer or a slow and methodical one. Stay engaged with your Chiweenie so you can read her queues and when she is ready to move on for the next sniff. You may notice a change in your Chiweenie’s propensity for destructive behavior after a few “scent” walks.

chiweenie laying on deck

Canine Cognitive Decline

As your Chiweenie Puppy becomes a Full Grown Chiweenie, these scent walks will become vital in helping to reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Cognitive decline is a common issue for senior dogs of all breeds. As your Full Grown Chiweenie ages, you may notice signs of mental decline such as confusion, disorientation, increased anxiety, or forgetting commands they once knew. These are symptoms of Canine Cognitive Decline (CCD). And they often go hand in hand with physical symptoms such as house soiling, increased barking, and changes in sleeping patterns. If your Full Grown Chiweenie is exhibiting any of these behaviors, a visit to the vet is necessary. While there is no cure for CCD, your vet can create a care plan to make the daily life of your senior Chiweenie more comfortable.

Stress

Stress is an umbrella term that encompasses stress or strain. We humans may feel stress in our daily lives from our jobs, personal lives, etc. You may blow off steam and relax by taking a bath, reading a book, or hanging out with friends. Your Chiweenie feels stress as well. Your Full Grown Chiweenie simply doesn’t have the ability to vocalize it in the same way we do. Your Chiweenie Puppy may show physical signs of stress, which are important to look out for. The Chiweenie, like its parent breed, the Chihuahua, is prone to shaking. This is not always due to stress – the Chiweenie has a high metabolism which makes their body burn heat quickly, which can leave your Chiweenie Puppies feeling cold, even when you do not. For instance, your Chiweenie may shake and shiver after a bath. If your Chiweenie Puppy is out and about with you and suddenly starts shivering, chances are she is finding the environment stressful. A stressed Chiweenie may also pace around. For example, you may notice your Full Grown Chiweenie pacing back and forth during a vet visit.

Symptoms

Chiweenie Puppies may also increase their vocalizations, with your barky Chiweenie becoming very vocal. Your Chiweenie may also begin panting or suddenly urinate. All of these are signs of stress. Other signs to look out for are flattened ears, your Full Grown Chiweenie repeatedly licking its lips, tail down, and yawning (you may notice your Chiweenie yawning at the vet. This is often not from tiredness but a sign of stress). Your Full Grown Chiweenie may also suddenly freeze. Chiweenie Puppies who are under an immense amount of stress can sometimes simply shut down. This is a coping mechanism as well as a warning and can be a sign your Chiweenie Puppy may be about to lash out in fear. If Your Chiweenie Puppies are exhibiting this behavior, remove them from the situation.

Fear-based Aggression

Fear-based aggression is often a by-product ofstress. A fearful Chiweenie will have a fight or flight response to stressful situations which can sometimes lead to aggression. Your Chiweenie can quickly go from fearful avoidance to defensive aggression in an effort to protect itself from a perceived threat. An important sign that your Chiweenie Puppy may be experiencing fear-based aggression is “whale eyes.” Whale eyes are often overlooked in dogs and can telegraph when your Full Grown Chiweenie is stressed. Whale eyes are when your Chiweenie widens his or her eyes, exposing the whites of the eyes (the sclera). Whale eyes are usually accompanied by stiffness in your Chiweenie’s body and a closed mouth.

You may notice your Chiweenie giving whale eyes when it’s around new people. The Chiweenie is a small dog, and oftentimes people feel perfectly comfortable reaching down to pet or hug Chiweenie Puppies. Your Full Grown Chiweenie may not enjoy this and may feel threatened or overwhelmed. If you know your Chiweenie Puppies don’t enjoy being held or pet by strangers, don’t allow anyone to pet or hold your Chiweenie Puppy. Make sure you are respecting your Chiweenie’s personal space.

Management

There are simple things you can do to manage stress in your Full Grown Chiweenie. Take your Chiweenie Puppy for a long walk. Physical activity can do wonders to relieve stress. Also, make sure to provide a safe space in your home that your Chiweenie Puppy can go to if they are feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Training can also help with relieving stress. Normalcy and routine are reassuring to Chiweenie Puppies, and you giving normal commands like “sit”, “stay”, or “down” can be comforting to your adult Chiweenie. The same goes for socialization. Chiweenie Puppies who are used to being around other dogs or people will behave differently from a Full Grown Chiweenie that hasn’t. Starting early with socializing your Chiweenie Puppy can prevent a lot of stress for them in the future. Chiweenie Puppies enjoy physical activity. Enroll your Chiweenie Puppies in a training class or send them to doggy daycare a few days a week. All of these will help socialize your Chiweenie Puppy as well as aid in training. It also makes your Full Grown Chiweenie more confident in unfamiliar settings.

chiweenie dog running through grass

Anxiety

Separation anxiety is common in the Chihuahua, and as the offspring of this breed, the Chiweenie has inherited this unfortunate disorder. Separation anxiety can be hard not only for your Full Grown Chiweenie but for you, as well. A Chiweenie Puppy dealing with separation anxiety can be destructive and loud with excessive barking. This can be especially difficult if you live in an apartment where others can hear your Full Grown Chiweenie. The Chiweenie Puppy is an exceptionally loyal dog who often has a favorite person they bond with in the family. This can increase the likelihood of separation anxiety if that person leaves the house for work, school, or moves away. Also, because of their energetic nature, if the Chiweenie Puppy is left unoccupied with nothing to do for long periods, they can become bored. No stimuli added to a missing owner is a recipe for separation anxiety issues in Chiweenie Puppies. But you don’t have to live with a barky, clingy Chiweenie. You can put systems in place to prevent and heal separation anxiety in your Chiweenie.

The Chiweenie is notoriously hard to train. This is why it is encouraged to begin training at a young age. Training a Chiweenie Puppy is leaps and bounds easier than attempting to train a Full Grown Chiweenie. Your Full Grown Chiweenie may not be interested if you can’t show them how the training benefits them. By training Chiweenie Puppies early, you can reduce the risk of bad habits and behaviors, which can be very hard to train out of a Full Grown Chiweenie. There are a few techniques that can help your Chiweenie Puppy with its anxiety.

Provide a calm space

Chiweenie Puppies are tiny, and it’s not hard to imagine how big and overwhelming the world can be for them. An empty house or apartment with everyone gone but them can be scary. Many things can be seen as threats. Providing your Chiweenie Puppies with personal space can help them feel safe and secure. Designate an area in your home just for your Full Grown Chiweenie. Add a comfy dog bed or blanket. Make sure the area you pick isn’t where lots of noises can be heard. You can add a gate to a room to section it off, or even use a playpen. Avoid crating your Chiweenie, since Chiweenie Puppies are too small for crating and become stressed and claustrophobic.

Don’t encourage clingy behavior

While Chiweenie Puppies are natural clingers, you mustn’t encourage this behavior. It can feel great to get so much love from your Chiweenie, but it can also make it difficult for you to leave your Chiweenie Puppies alone. Condition your Chiweenie to be okay with not being by your side at all times. Start with a simple “stay” command. After a few minutes, leave the room, making sure your Chiweenie does not follow you. Gradually increase the length of time you are gone from the room.

Don’t make a big deal when you leave or return

If you treat leaving for work every day as an event, your Chiweenie Puppies will see it that way as well. The same goes for when you return home. Don’t make a fuss when you leave in the morning. Don’t give your Chiweenie Puppy excessive cuddles and coos. Greet your Chiweenie Puppies with love, but stay calm. Give your Chiweenie Puppies something to distract them before you leave for work in the morning, like a toy with treats or peanut butter in it. If your Chiweenie Puppy is engaged in an activity, they won’t even notice that you’ve gone. If your Chiweenie Puppies have an accident or damage something while you’re gone, don’t punish them. This will only increase your adult Chiweenie’s anxiety.

When training and conditioning aren’t enough and your Chiweenie Puppies are still battling anxiety, natural supplements can help. CBD oil, valerian root, and pheromone diffusers have all been shown to help calm dogs battling anxiety.

It can be hard to prevent separation anxiety in Chiweenie Puppies, and once it’s started, it can be hard to treat. If you have tried all the above methods and supplements and still nothing is working it may be time to see a veterinary behaviorist who can work with you and your Chiweenie Puppies.

Physical Health

Allergies

Allergies are due to an over-reaction or hypersensitivity to a substance. Allergens can be animals, foods, insects, or plants. Exposure to a specific allergen over time can sensitize the immune system and create an over-reaction. Allergies are common in most dog breeds and can appear in Chiweenie Puppies after six months of age. The majority of Chiweenie Puppies show signs of allergies between 1-2 years of age. Allergies can be inherited. Your Chiweenie can exhibit allergies to everything from dust mites, mold, and pollen to flea saliva, insect proteins, and certain medications. Symptoms of allergies in Chiweenie Puppies can range from atopic dermatitis to gastrointestinal issues. The most common allergies are:

Food Allergies

Food allergies or food sensitivities are the most common form of allergies in the Full Grown Chiweenie. Signs of food sensitivities in Chiweenie Puppies can range from itchy skin, vomiting, and diarrhea to weight loss, hyperactivity, and lack of appetite. Dog food can be a common source for food allergies, with ingredients such as beef, lamb, chicken, chicken eggs, soy, and gluten being the usual culprits, though any ingredient has the potential to become an allergen. The Chiweenie is especially susceptible to food and skin allergies. Food allergies are usually diagnosed by an 8-12 week hypoallergenic or food elimination diet.

chiweenie dog laying in dog bed

Flea Allergies

Flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) is the most common dermatologic disease in dogs in the United States. Although flea allergy dermatitis is most prevalent in the summer months and warmer climates, it can persist year-round. A reaction to a flea bite happens when a flea bites your Full Grown Chiweenie. Fleas can leave behind their saliva under your Chiweenie’s skin, causing a reaction. Fleas do not need to live on your Chiweenie Puppy, and your home does not have to have an infestation for this to occur. One flea bite can cause a reaction that lasts days. Signs of FAD are your Chiweenie Puppy biting at its flanks and the base of its tail (the most common spots for flea bites). You may also notice your Chiweenie Puppy is missing hair from excessively scratching these areas. The obsessive licking and biting of these areas can cause open sores to form and put your Chiweenie Puppy at risk for infection. If you suspect your Full Grown Chiweenie has fleas, a visit to the vet can confirm this. Your vet will take use a fine-tooth comb to examine your Chiweenie’s fur for signs of fleas or flea dirt (flea excrement).

Environmental Allergies

After food allergies, environmental allergies are the second most common form of allergy in dogs. Environmental allergens can include dust, mold, pollen, and certain grass, weeds, and trees. Your Full Grown Chiweenie can have allergic reactions to fragrances and other substances within your home. Your Chiweenie can often exhibit the same seasonal allergies you exhibit in the spring when the pollen, mold, and ragweed counts are high. Symptoms of environmental allergies include sneezing, watery eyes, itchy skin, irritated skin, and recurrent ear infections. The symptoms of food and environmental allergies often are the same, and your Full Grown Chiweenie can have both at the same time. Diagnosing environmental allergies in your Chiweenie Puppies can involve skin tests and blood tests. Intradermal allergy testing is similar to the test run on humans for allergen diagnosis. It involves small injections of about 60 different allergens under the skin on one side of your Chiweenie’s body. Your Chiweenie Puppy is sedated for this procedure. Though intradermal testing is the gold standard for allergen testing in dogs, it isn’t 100% accurate. Blood allergy testing involves measuring the antibody levels your Chiweenie Puppies have formed against specific allergens. The results can vary depending on the lab that runs the test, which is why some vets prefer to do intradermal testing.

Prevention and Care

Adjusting your Chiweenie’s diet, lifestyle, and home space can all help to alleviate Chiweenie Puppies allergy symptoms. Invest in an air purifier and keep your home dust-free. Also, make sure to keep your windows closed during seasons when the pollen count is high. Exercise can also help boost your Chiweenie’s immune system. If your Full Grown Chiweenie suffers from seasonal allergies, try walking them earlier or later in the day.

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Gut Health

Chihuahuas are not more predisposed to tummy issues. However, Dachshunds can be, so it is a bit of a crapshoot whether your Chiweenie Puppies or Full Grown Chiweenie will experience stomach issues. Gut problems that can arise from your Chiweenie’s Dachshund bloodline are stomach pain and cramps, especially in cold or winter weather.

Bloat: Gastriic Dilaton and Volvulus

Bloat, or Gastric Dilation and Volvulus are primarily seen in larger dog breeds, but any dog can bloat including your Full Grown Chiweenie. Bloat isa life-threatening condition that occurs when a dog’s stomach “bloats” and fills with gas. Sometimes this is as far as the condition goes. A Gastric Dilation is when the bloat turns into a Volvulus, where the gas-enlarged stomach turns on itself, blocking the entrance and edit of the stomach. The cause of GDV is unknown, though as stated above, some dogs have a higher predisposition to it.

Causes

The exact cause of GDV is unknown and has perplexed vets for decades. It is known that exercising directly after a meal or drinking large amounts of water increase the risk of GDV. A Chiweenie has a higher chance of developing GDV within the first one to two hours after a meal. Anxiety can also play a role, and recent studies show that Chiweenie Puppies with high-stress levels or that are described as “hyper” had a higher risk of developing GDV. A nervous and stressed Full Grown Chiweenie can be at a greater risk for Gastric Dilation and Volvulus. Other factors that may increase the risk of GDV include feeding your Chiweenie only one meal a day, your Full Grown Chiweenie being underweight, eating moistened dry food (particularly if citric acid is used as a preservative), and having a family history of bloat (a parent or sibling of your Chiweenie had the condition). A Full Grown Chiweenie (7 years or older) is at a higher risk than a Chiweenie Puppy. Symptoms to look out for are salivating, retching, and the inability to sit or lay down comfortably. Your Chiweenie may whine if you touch or press on their belly.

chiweenie dog sitting in front of white background

Diagnosis

Unfortunately, there is no good news about this condition. GDV kills 30% of the dogs who it affects, and complications from the condition can involve the spleen, the pancreas, and even the heart. Paying close attention to signs of GDV will give your Full Grown Chiweenie a better chance at beating it. If you suspect your Full Grown Chiweenie has GDV, get them to the vet immediately. Your vet will run blood work as well as an abdominal x-ray to confirm the condition. Your vet will also run an electrocardiogram (ECG) to detect the presence of heart arrhythmias, which can be a by-product of GDV. Additionally, a blood gas test will be performed to evaluate if your Full Grown Chiweenie has any respiratory complications.

Treatment

Stabilizing your Chiweenie is the most important part of treating GDV. Your vet will give your Chiweenie IV fluids and oxygen, followed by gastric decompression. Gastric decompression involves passing a tube down the esophagus into the stomach to release air and fluid. In certain cases, a needle or catheter is placed in the stomach from outside the body to release the air. The time for surgery will depend on the stability of your Full Grown Chiweenie and your vet’s discretion.

Surgery involves exploration of the abdomen and de-rotation of the stomach. Removal of part of the stomach wall and/or the spleen may also be performed. Once the stomach is returned to its normal position, it is permanently fixed to the abdominal wall. The purpose of this is to prevent further rotation if GDV occurs again.

Prevention

Prevention of GDV is elusive. Vets have searched for years to find ways to prevent the condition. Much of the research behind prevention is inconclusive. Using slow feeder bowls, waiting 2 hours after feeding to walk your Full Grown Chiweenie, and managing your Chiweenie’s stress are all tips that can prove useful at prevention. Additionally, feed your Full Grown Chiweenie and Chiweenie Puppy away from other dogs to prevent anxiety around mealtime. You may not be able to fully prevent GDV in your Full Grown Chiweenie, but these simple techniques may reduce their risk.

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Eye Health

The Chiweenie is prone to eye infections and eye conditions such as cherry eye and glaucoma. These eye problems are common in both Chihuahuas and Dachshunds, leaving Chiweenie Puppies predisposed to the conditions as well.

Cherry Eye

Cherry eye is the common term for prolapse of the third eyelid gland in the Chiweenie .Like many other mammals, dogs have a third eyelid that protects the eye. There is a special gland in the third eyelid that produces the eye’s protective tear film. When this gland “pops out” or prolapses, it is known as cherry eye. A red and swollen mass on the lower eyelid appears close to the nose or muzzle. Cherry eye can be large and take up a significant portion of the eye or can be small and only occasionally be visible.

Causes

The gland of the third eyelid is anchored to the lower rim of the eye by fibrous tissue. In Chiweenie Puppies, this tissue can become weak, allowing the third eyelid to prolapse. Vets are unsure why this occurs. Cherry eye most often occurs in certain dog breeds like Chiweenie Puppies. The majority of Chiweenie Puppies who develop cherry eye will do so in the first year of life. Chiweenie Puppies are especially prone to developing the condition.

Treatment

If left untreated, the condition can grow worse over time and can lead to permanent damage to the eye and the third eyelid. The third eyelid produces 50% of the tear production for your Chiweenie Puppy, and if cherry eye is left untreated, it can lead to dry eye, which can impair your Chiweenie’s vision. Treatment for cherry eye nearly always requires surgery. Surgery involves the replacement of the third eyelid gland. Many Chiweenie Puppies who develop cherry eye in one eye will eventually develop the condition in their other eye as well. Between 5-20% of dogs who have had surgical correction of the third eyelid will experience a recurrence of the condition. In severe cases, your vet may have to remove the gland entirely. This is considered a last resort. In most cases, the third eyelid returns to normal function a few weeks after surgical correction.

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Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a disease in which pressure on the eye (called intraocular pressure), is increased. The increased pressure can cause destruction of the retina and the optic disk. Glaucoma occurs in 1.7% of all dogs in North America.

There are two types of glaucoma: open angle and closed-angle.

Open-angle Glaucoma

This is a painless and gradual development of blind spots or loss of vision over a period of time. The signs of early to moderate long-term glaucoma are often missed in Chiweenie Puppies by their owners. Early signs of glaucoma are slightly dilated pupils, mild congestion in the conjunctiva, and enlargement of the eye can be so subtle you may not be aware of the change.

Closed-angle Glaucoma

This is the sudden increase of pressure in the eye and is accompanied by severe pain, redness, and loss of vision. A Full Grown Chiweenie with sudden severe glaucoma typically has a dilated or unmoving pupil, redness in the whites of the eyes, swelling of the cornea, and a firm eye globe.

Prolonged pressure in the eye can lead to enlargement of the eyeball, breaks in the corneal membrane, and displacement of the lens.

Causes

Glaucoma is caused by inadequate drainage of aqueous fluid in your Chiweenie’s eye. Glaucoma is classified as primary or secondary glaucoma. Primary glaucoma is due to inherited abnormalities of the drainage angle. Secondary glaucoma results in increased intraocular pressure due to injury to, or disease of your Chiweenie’s eye.

Treatment

If your Full Grown Chiweenie is showing signs of glaucoma, they need to see a vet immediately. The choice of medical or surgical treatment is based on the severity of your dog’s type of glaucoma. The most important thing is to decrease the pressure in your Chiweenie’s eye as quickly as possible. A Chiweenie Puppy with end-stage glaucoma with an enlarged blind eye may need to have the eye removed. After the pressure is lowered, it is stabilized to prevent further issues. Your vet will assess what plan of treatment is best for your Full Grown Chiweenie. Most Chiweenie Puppies who develop glaucoma will need long-term management of the condition.

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Ear Health

Ear Infections

Ear infections are common in most dog breeds, including the Chiweenie. Dogs breeds with floppy ears are especially prone to ear infections. If your Chiweenie Puppies have inherited floppy ears from their Dachshund parent, they are at an increased risk for ear infections. Infection of the external ear canal is the most common form of ear infection. Ear infections are painful, and you may notice your Full Grown Chiweenie shaking its head or scratching at its ears to soothe the discomfort. Your Chiweenie Puppies may have red or swollen ears that are hot to the touch. You may also notice a foul odor coming from your adult Chiweenie’s ears, accompanied by a black or yellow discharge. The ears of your Chiweenie Puppy may be crusty or thickened, and the ear canal can be narrowed from chronic inflammation.

Causes

Your Chiweenie’s ear canal is more vertical than our human ear canals. The Chiweenie ear canal forms an L-shape that can hold fluid. Your Chiweeenie’s ear infection may be due to ear mites, though ear mite infections are most common with Chiweenie Puppies and not the Full Grown Chiweenie. Ear mites can create an environment that leads to secondary bacterial or yeast infection. Other causes of ear infections are allergies, wax buildup, injury to the ear canal, autoimmune disorders, and moisture (which can promote bacteria and yeast growth). Trimming or clipping the hair in your Chiweenie’s ear can also be a cause.

Diagnosis

If your Chiweenie Puppy is showing signs of an ear infection, your vet will have to do a physical exam as well as a full medical history write-up for your Chiweenie Puppies. An exam will include your vet checking your Chiweenie’s ears for swelling and discharge, as well as palpation of the ear to assess pain levels. Your vet will also use an otoscope to look down the ear canal and take a swab sample of any debris in your Chiweenie’s ears.

Treatment

Most ear infections will clear up within 1-2 weeks after treatment begins. Severe infections can take months to resolve, and if the infection remains after treatment your vet may need to perform a Total Ear Canal Ablation, or TECA, on your Chiweenie Puppies. A TECA involves your vet removing the ear canal of your Full Grown Chiweenie, thereby removing the infected tissue and preventing future infections.

It is important to follow all of your vet’s instructions and be current with post-treatment vet visits. Lapses in treatment can cause a relapse of the infection in your Chiweenie Puppies.

close up of chiweenie dog

Prevention

There are things you can do to prevent ear infections in your Chiweenie Puppies. Moisture is a breeding ground for bacteria, so be sure to keep your Chiweenie’s ears dry. Also, be sure to clean your Chiweenie’s ears regularly. Use an ear cleaning solution formulated for dogs. Fill the ear canal with the solution and massage the ear canal from the outside. Wipe the canal out with gauze. Avoid using cotton swabs and paper towels as they can leave fibers behind in the ear canals. Under no circumstances should you use cotton buds to clean your Chiweenie’s ears.

Ear Mites

Ear mites primarily occur in Chiweenie Puppies. The signs and symptoms of ear mites can mimic the signs of an ear infection. Your Chiweenie Puppy will shake its head and scratch at its ears. Additional symptoms include a crumbly, dark, brownish-red discharge. The discharge can often resemble coffee grounds. In heavy infestations, the ear mites can travel to other parts of the body. The most common sign of ear mites is a scab near the base of the ear from your Chiweenie Puppy scratching at it.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of ear mites is relatively straightforward and is done by your vet examining your Chiweenie Puppies’ ears and examining the discharge under a microscope. Your Chiweenie Puppies may need to be sedated for the examination.

Treatment

Ear mites are infectious and can spread to other animals in your household. It is important to eradicate them as soon as possible. If your Chiweenie Puppy has been diagnosed with ear mites, all of the other dogs you have will need to be treated as well. Mites can spread to humans, though this is rare. Chiweenie Puppies with painful ears may be resistant to handling and treatment. A variety of treatments are available for eradicating ear mites. Work with your vet to come up with a care plan that works best for your Chiweenie Puppies.

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Immune Health

Your Chiweenie’s immune system is a complex system of cells and organs that defend your Full Grown Chiweenie from bacteria, viruses, toxins, and foreign materials that enter your Chiweenie’s body. The major components of the immune system include the lymph nodes, the spleen, bone marrow, antibodies, white blood cells, and the thymus. Chiweenie Puppies are prone to diabetes, which can negatively impact the immune system.

Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects dogs as well as other animals. Diabetes Mellitus, or “sugar diabetes” in the form of diabetes is most commonly found in the Full Grown Chiweenie. Diabetes occurs when the glucose-insulin connection doesn’t work. Glucose fuels the body’s cells. When your Chiweenie Puppies eat, the body breaks down nutrients into glucose. Glucose is a type of sugar that is a vital source of energy for body cells and organs. Insulin is in charge of fuel delivery. Insulin acts as a gatekeeper and tells the cells to grab glucose from the bloodstream and use it as fuel. The two major types of diabetes are:

Type I Insulin-deficiency diabetes

This is when your Full Grown Chiweenie isn’t producing enough insulin. This occurs when the pancreas is damaged or not functioning properly. Chiweenie Puppies with this type of diabetes need daily insulin shots to replace the missing insulin. This is the most common form of diabetes in dogs.

Type II Insulin-resistance diabetes

This is when the pancreas is producing some insulin, but your Chiweenie’s body isn’t utilizing it as it should. The cells aren’t responding to the message being by the insulin and so no glucose is being pulled out of the blood and cell. This type of diabetes occurs most in Full Grown Chiweenie and senior Chiweenie dogs.

Less common forms of diabetes include diabetes in Chiweenie Puppies called insipudus and gestational diabetes. Your Chiweenie can develop this condition during pregnancy. Secondary diabetes can be caused by certain medications and Cushing’s disease.

Symptoms

The early signs that your Chiweenie may have diabetes are excessive thirst, increased urination, weight loss, and increased appetite – your Chiweenie Puppies may be hungry all the time because the cells aren’t getting the glucose they need. In most cases, if your Chiweenie has an advanced case of diabetes, the signs will be loss of appetite, vomiting, lack of energy, and depression. Uncontrolled diabetes can cause other health issues in your Chiweenie Puppy. This is why early detection is vital. Effects of diabetes on your Full Grown Chiweenie can include cataracts, UTIs, kidney failure, seizures, enlarged liver, and ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis is a life-threatening condition. Symptoms include rapid breathing, dehydration, lethargy, and vomiting. If your Chiweenie Puppies have been diagnosed with diabetes, you should have ketone testing sticks on hand to test your Chiweenie puppy’s urine if they exhibit any of the above symptoms. If your pet tests positive, get to your vet immediately.

chiweenie dog sitting in front of white background

Diagnosis

Your vet will run a few simple tests on your Full Grown Chiweenie. These include testing for excessive glucose in the blood and urine of your Chiweenie Puppies. There is no cure for diabetes, but it can be managed. The sooner it is caught, the better it can be for your Chiweenie’s long-term prognosis.

Treatment and management

A diet of good quality protein with fiber and complex carbohydrates that helps slow the absorption of glucose will be recommended by your vet. Additionally, your vet may recommend a low-fat diet for your Chiweenie Puppies. Exercise can be an excellent tool in helping your Full Grown Chiweenie avoid sudden drops and spikes in glucose levels. Your Chiweenie Puppies must maintain a regular, moderate exercise routine. Your Chiweenie Puppies may require insulin shots to aid in their production of insulin.

Certain supplements and vitamins can also help manage diabetes in your Chiweenie Puppies. Vitamin E can strengthen the immune system of your Full Grown Chiweenie, as well as help control blood sugar levels, and improve insulin action. Vitamin C can help protect your Chiweenie’s kidneys, prevent cataracts (a common side effect of diabetes), and help control blood sugar levels.

Your vet will work with you to create a comprehensive care plan for your Chiweenie Puppies. You may be given a glucose monitoring system for your Chiweenie Puppies to monitor their glucose levels. Your vet may also give you a list of signs and symptoms to watch out for in your Chiweenie Puppies. Monitoring can aid in the early detection of changes in your Chiweenie’s condition. Diabetes is not a death sentence for your Chiweenie Puppies. A Full Grown Chiweenie with managed diabetes has the same lifespan as a Full Grown Chiweenie without diabetes. With early detection, lifestyle and diet changes, and monitoring, your Chiweenie can live a full life.

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Joint Health

Intervertebral Degenerative Disc Disease

The most common joint issue found in the Chiweenie is intervertebral degenerative disc disease. Intervertebral degenerative disc disease is a degenerative disease of the spinal column. The disease results in compression of your adult Chiweenie’s spinal cord and the spinal nerves. In Chiweenie Puppies, spinal discs can begin degenerating in the first months of life. A herniated disc can occur suddenly in Chiweenie Puppies as young as 1-2 years of age. Herniated disks are most common in the middle of the back and the neck of Chiweenie Puppies.

Causes

The disc is composed of two parts, with the fibrous outer ring functioning like a thick shell. This “shell-like” structure protects and contains the central part (the pulpy nucleus). The sudden herniation or rupture of the disc may not be related to injury but can occur suddenly after your Chiweenie Puppies have a traumatic injury or even a small jump. Rupture of the disc in the lower back of your Chiweenie Puppies can cause paralysis without pain, while rupture of the disc in the neck can cause severe pain with no paralysis. If the paralysis affects all four of your Chiweenie’s legs, the rupture is in the neck. This is due to the way the nerves are arranged in the spinal cord. Disc rupture in the neck may only affect the rear legs of your Chiweenie Puppies and not involve the front limbs.

Diagnosis

A presumptive diagnosis of disc rupture can be done based on if your Chiweenie has a history of neck or back pain, uncoordinated walking, or paralysis. The Chiweenie is considered a “high incidence” breed due to its predisposition to the condition. Your vet will take this into account when examining and diagnosing your Chiweenie Puppies. Plain X-rays can sometimes assist in diagnosis, but can often show no abnormalities since the spinal cord is not readily visible on a traditional X-ray. To confirm the diagnosis, your vet may perform a myelogram on your Full Grown Chiweenie. This procedure involves injecting a special dye around your Chiweenie’s spinal cord and then taking traditional X-rays. Your Full Grown Chiweenie will be sedated for this procedure. A break in the dye column indicates pressure on your Chiweenie’s spine. A CT scan or an MRI may also be used to diagnosis your Chiweenie Puppies.

Treatment

Not all ruptured discs need to be corrected with surgery. The treatment plan will be based on the stage of the disease. There are five stages to degenerative disc disease:

Stage I disc disease

Produces mild pain in Chiweenie Puppies and usually self-corrects in a few days.

Stage II disc disease

Causes moderate to severe pain in your Chiweenie’s neck or lumbar area.

Stage III disc disease

Causes partial paralysis. This can result in your Chiweenie Puppies walking in an uncoordinated pattern.

Stage IV disc disease

Causes paralysis, but your Full Grown Chiweenie will still have feeling in its limbs.

Stage V disc disease

This is the most severe form of disc disease and causes paralysis with no feeling.

The stages can sometimes overlap, and your Chiweenie can move from one stage to the other in a matter of hours or days. Chiweenie Puppies with Stage II and Stage III disease can usually be treated medicinally and with exercise restriction. If the condition persists after treatment, surgery may then be considered. A Chiweenie with Stage IV disease may need surgery. A Full Grown Chiweenie with Stage V will need surgery immediately. The sooner the surgery is done, the better the prognosis. A Full Grown Chiweenie with Stage V disease should have surgery within 24 hours of the onset of paralysis. The purpose of surgery is to remove pressure from the spinal cord. A “window” is created in the side of your Chiweenie’s vertebral bone. The window exposes the spinal cord and removes pressure. The success rate for surgery for disc degenerative is good with 80% of Chiweenie Puppies being able to return to a normal lifestyle. The prognosis for a Full Grown Chiweenie with severe degeneration and paralysis will have to be taken on a case by case basis.

chiweenie dog close up

Prevention

Because IVDD is primarily a hereditary condition, it is not completely preventable. You can minimize the risk of your Chiweenie developing the condition. Obesity in Chiweenie Puppies can contribute to the risk of IVDD. Make sure to keep your Chiweenie Puppies at a healthy weight. Try to limit the amount of jumping up and down off beds and other furniture your Chiweenie has to do on a daily basis. Invest in a set of stairs to help your Chiweenie Puppies get on and off the bed or couch. Keep your Full Grown Chiweenie up to date on their yearly physicals. Early detection can be key in slowing down the progression of the disease in Chiweenie Puppies.

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Skin and Coat

Grooming

Chiweenie Puppies with a short hair coat doesn’t require a lot of grooming. Your Full Grown Chiweenie should be brushed once a week and bathed once every one to two months depending on their level of activity and if your Chiweenie Puppies are dirty or smell. Chiweenie Puppies with long hair will need to be brushed and bathed more often. Brush your long hair Full Grown Chiweenie 3-5 times a week. Chiweenie Puppies should be bathed at least once a month. Chiweenie nails should be trimmed once a month.

Dental Disease

The most important thing to pay attention to with your Full Grown Chiweenie is its dental care. Like its parent breed, the Chihuahua, Chiweenie Puppies are prone to dental disease. Chiweenie Puppies can also suffer from early tooth loss. Dental disease can be catastrophic to the overall health and wellbeing of your adult Chiweenie. Dental disease is connected to heart, kidney, and liver disease in the Full Grown Chiweenie.

Causes

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is the most common dental disease in the Full Grown Chiweenie. Poor oral hygiene and genetics are the biggest factors in determining if your Chiweenie Puppies will develop gum disease. Gum disease is a progressive disease caused by bacteria in the mouth of Chiweenie Puppies. This bacteria can cause damage to the bones, gums, and other structures in the mouth of your Full Grown Chiweenie.

Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of gum disease are not always visible. Your Full Grown Chiweenie can have sparkling white teeth and still have advanced periodontal disease. The damage from the disease is not always visible. This is why it is important not to wait until the damage is visible to take your Chiweenie Puppies. Your Chiweenie should have their teeth examined during their regular checkups. There are four stages to gum disease:

Stage I

Stage I of periodontal disease is gingivitis. Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums with no tooth or bone loss present. Though there may not be any visible signs at this stage, your Full Grown Chiweenie may have red puffy gums, gums that bleed when brushed, and bad breath. X-rays will be done to confirm the diagnosis.

Stage II

Stage II of periodontal disease is when 25% of the tooth’s attachment to the supporting structure is lost. During a professional cleaning or during X-rays your Full Grown Chiweenie may have mild bone loss that is visible. Symptoms are the same as Stage I, but your Full Grown Chiweenie may also have receding gums. X-rays will be done to confirm the diagnosis.

Stage III

In Stage III, 25-50% of tooth support is lost. On an X-ray, moderate to severe bone loss will be present. Your Full Grown Chiweenie will have all of the above symptoms. Your Chiweenie Puppies may also have loose teeth. Diagnosis is done through X-rays and periodontal probing.

Stage IV

In Stage IV more than 50% of the tooth’s attachments are lost. Symptoms are more severe. Along with the previously mentioned symptoms, your Chiweenie Puppy may have missing teeth. Your Chiweenie Puppies may also have pus oozing from around the teeth. Diagnosis is done through X-rays and periodontal probing.

Treatment

The prognosis for gum disease depends on the severity and stage of your Chiweenie’s condition. A Chiweenie with Stage I disease has a good prognosis as long as they receive an early diagnosis and appropriate dental care. A Full Grown Chiweenie with Stage II also has a good prognosis with dental care. Stage I and Stage II disease can be reversed. At Stage III, your Chiweenie Puppies may need advanced dental procedures and teeth may need to be removed, but with proper care and daily cleaning, the prognosis is fair. Stage IV has the least positive prognosis. Stage IV disease prognosis is generally poor, and your Chiweenie Puppies will need all of the diseased teeth extracted.

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Prevention

Though dental disease in the Chiweenie is primarily genetic, there are things you can do to lessen the risk of your Chiweenie Puppies developing the disease. The main thing you can do is to clean your Chiweenie’s teeth daily. Your Chiweenie Puppies should also be receiving professional teeth cleanings done by your vet. During a professional cleaning, your vet will scale your Chiweenie’s teeth to remove any plaque or tartar, polish the teeth, and probe each tooth to check for abnormal pocketing. They may also take X-rays. Your Chiweenie is placed under general anesthesia for dental cleaning. Other ways to help protect the health of your Chiweenie’s teeth are dental chews, dental wipes, and oral rinses. In some cases, your vet may prescribe your Chiweenie Puppies a special dental diet.