Your Chihuahua may be tiny in size, but if he's true to his breed then he has a big personality. He may bark a lot, and he may be wary of strangers, but his protective nature doesn't necessarily mean he's a danger to others. Generally, the Chihuahua gets along with other animals, and the only animals he's likely to eat are the ones in his dog food.
The Unemployed Chihuahua
Your tiny dog has an air of mystery about him. While many dog breeds have distinct, storied histories, this little fellow's origin and purpose are a subject of speculation. According to the American Kennel Club, the Chihuahua's ancestors are believed to have been popular pets and religious symbols, possibly before the Mayans. Whether that's true or not, it appears he was never bred for real work, such as many terriers and retrievers were. The point is that the Chihuahua wasn't made for helping with the hunt or keeping the barnyard clear of rats -- the breed doesn't have a particularly strong instinctual prey drive. The Chihuahua never had to work for a living, except to be companion. That's still how he earns his keep.
Animals for Dinner
Your pup may not be interested in your cat as prey -- and chances are, your kitty is bigger than your Chihuahua -- but he's certainly interested in dinner. Chihuahuas tend to be overweight because owners can't help but sneak them bits of extra food here and there. If you feed your Chihuahua commercial pet food, you can be sure he's eating other animals. Take a look at the packaging and you'll likely see at least one form of animal-based protein, including lamb, chicken, turkey, duck, beef or salmon. When you choose your Chihuahua's dog food, keep a close eye on what you feed him and the number of treats he's eating; a calorie- and protein-dense food requires smaller serving sizes than one with more fillers, if you want your Chi at a healthy weight.
First Things First
If you're concerned whether your Chihuahua will prey on other nonhuman family members, be patient and willing to train him. Generally, the first order of business is to teach your pup the "leave it" command so he responds to you when you call him away from your other pets.
Nice to Meet You
If you have a tiny animal, such as a gerbil, lizard or hamster, gradually introduce her to your Chihuahua by first allowing him to hear and smell the other animal. Keep the cage securely covered or out of the dog's reach; the Chi will smell the caged animal and will know it's there. When he's not so curious about what's in the cage, allow him to see the other pet. Never let your tiny pet out of its cage unless you're able to ensure its safety.
- VetStreet.com: Chihuahua
- DogChannel.com: The Chihuahua's Special Dietary Needs
- K9Magazine.com: The Most Aggressive Dog Breeds in the World?
- Animal Planet: How to Introduce Your Small Dog to Your Other Pets
- Veterinary Partner: Print this article Email this article Breed Research: How Your Dog’s Breed Affects Behavior
- American Kennel Club: Get to Know the Chihuahua
- VetStreet.com: Focusing on Protein in the Diet
- Cesar's Way: Prey Drive Problem
- cynoclub/iStock/Getty Images