Q:

How do you care for a Chihuahua-rat terrier mix?

A:

Caring for a chihuahua-rat terrier mix involves keeping them warm in cooler weather, brushing their teeth daily and not leaving them unattended when outdoors. These highly active dogs also need early training and socializing.

Chihuahua-rat terrier dogs are alert, playful and highly energetic. Because they are so lively, their owners need to train and socialize them regularly. Training should start as early as possible. If training and socializing cannot be done regularly, it is best to hire an obedience trainer. Owners should reinforce their dogs' good behavior with dog treats or favorite toys. Chi-rats return all of the affection given to them if treated with kindness.

Because chi-rats are very small, owners should provide their dogs with sweaters when walking them in the cold. Their small size makes these dogs very susceptible to freezing in cooler temperatures. They usually do not grow to be more than 10 to 25 pounds.

Chi-rats are not at risk for many health problems other than being susceptible to an overbite or an underbite. Their teeth should be brushed daily to keep up with their dental health. Occasionally, they may have allergies. Owners should take their pets to the veterinarian if other problems arise.

This breed of dog should not be left unattended outdoors for long periods of time. Chi-rats need to be kept away from other large dogs. In addition, large cats, birds or coyotes may also see such a small dog as prey, so owners should keep a close eye on these small dogs.

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