Does this mean that your puppy will actually be ugly? The answer is a huge NO! A
bit scraggly looking in a cute way, for a bit...but not ugly. For the Long Coat
Chihuahua is one of the most beautiful dogs in the world and this what is known as
a "necessary evil". It is a step that leads your wonderful dog into the ball of
fluff that he or she was meant to be!
Some Chihuahua owners hope that they can escape the fate of the Puppy Uglies with a dose of good luck. Others have heard of this phrase and do not understand the sometimes shocking results of this Chihuahua term.
Still other Chi owners have puppies that are currently in this stage and mistake the symptoms for more serious medical issues.
Let's put to rest some of the myths regarding this issue and discuss all of the aspects of what exactly this term means to you and your Chihuahua. What are the Puppy Uglies, can you avoid them, what happens during this time and how long does this last? We will discuss all of these issues to help clarify the Puppy Uglies.
Chis are born with wonderfully fluffy coats of fur; this is one the features that
makes this dog breed so amazingly special and unique. There is a brief interruption
where the fur will fall out. This is only temporary; once the adult coat comes in,
you will have your ball of fluff back. The Puppy Uglies is simply a stage that all
Chihuahua dogs go through as they are growing. Just as humans enter different stages
of growing, this is a phase in which your Chi is losing its baby fur. The "Uglies"
will be the stage in which the baby fur is gone, but the adult fur has yet to grow
in. The phase will end when the adult fur has fully grown in.
A Chi puppy is born with just one coat of fur. It is soft and so heavenly smooth. After the Puppy Ugly stage is done, the Chihuahua will have its adult 2 coats of fur: undercoat and overcoat. The undercoat will be short and thick, the overcoat will be longer, soft and gorgeous.
Can I Avoid This Stage?
You may, if your Chihuahua is in the 20th percentile of Chis that do not appear to go through this stage. This 20% will actually enter the stage during winter months and not have a full-
The other 80% of healthy Chihuahua dogs will go through this stage. Please note that we stated "healthy Chihuahua". This process, in which the puppy coat is shed and the adult coat grows in is an elemental part of a growing Chi.
How Can I Be Sure My Chi is Having Puppy Uglies?
This is an important element because there are many medical issues, some serious, that cause a dog to lose fur. If your Chihuahua is losing its fur and they are not at the correct age of having Puppy Uglies, this would be a red flag to bring your dog to the vet ASAP. An acception is an adult blowing her coat. See further down for information on adults blowing there coats.
The 80% of Chis that enter this stage will do so at the age of 4 to 8 months old. The phase will end when the Chi is 10 to 14 months old. If your Chihuahua is losing substantial amounts of its coat, enough to show patches of skin and the dog is not between 8 and 14 months, you will want to bring them to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
What Else Can Cause Fur Loss?
Beside the Puppy Uglies, fur loss can occur from food or environmental allergies, thyroid problems and a host of other medical issues. Most can be resolved with treatment; which is why it is so important to have your dog checked out. However, if your Chi is at the right age to lose its baby fur, there is no reason to rush to the vet. The veterinarian will not be able to stop this stage, nor should they! It is a necessary step to your dog becoming an adult and having that wonderful permanent fluffy fur.
Where Does the Fur Loss Occur?
This will vary from dog to dog. That is where this term got its name. While we would never begin to think that a Chihuahua could actually be ugly, the fur loss can occur in strange areas, thus making the dog look very odd for a while! The fur loss may be only on the legs, causing the dog to look a bit like a Poodle shaving gone awry. The Chi may lose fur just around the eyes, causing the dog to look like it got a bit too close to a flame that sizzled off their "eyebrows". It is suggested to take this phase for what it is and have a bit of humor. Your Chi is not really ugly, he or she is an adorable little creature who is going through a very large change.
What Can I Do to Help?
Your Chi only needs your love and also a bit of care concerning grooming. Do not stop giving your dog baths and brushings, thinking that this will help slow down fur loss. The baby fur must come out and your dog must be kept clean. You will want to be careful when you are brushing your dog; the skin that has little hair or is completely bald will be sensitive. Brush carefully around those areas. Be sure to use a high quality dog fur conditioner, as this will help keep the skin soft as well. Make sure that your Chihuahua has soft elements to lay on, such as a soft doggie bed, pillows and cushions. If the dog has lost hair on the legs, sores may appear if your Chi is laying on hard surfaces. Keep your eyes out for any sores or red areas that seem irritated and bring these to the attention of your Chi's vet if your effort to provide a soft home is not working.
Do the Puppy Uglies Cause a Color Change?
Yes, this can happen. Think about humans: many people had blond hair as a toddler or child and as they grew older, the hair turned brown or another color. This is what can happen to a Chihuahua also. For example, a Chi may be a red Chihuahua as a puppy. As they go through the stage of fur loss, the red may remain at the tips in most places and a different color may be growing in as the adult coat. This is sometimes upsetting for owners who purchased a red Chi and see that dog slowly changing into a sable Chi. However, do keep in mind that you can't fight Mother Nature and that your love for your Chi should outweigh any preferences for color.
Blowing of Adult Coats
Many female dogs who are nursing puppies or have recently have been in season will lose a large amount of hair. This is not abnormal. Such a dog is often said to be 'blowing her coat.' The technical term for the cause of this loss is 'telogen effluvium.'
To understand the condition, it is important to know that a dog's hair is not always growing, but the growth goes through various stages. There is a growth phase (anagen) and a resting stage (telogen). The hairs in telogen are more easily shed than those in anagen.
During pregnancy and other stresses, hairs may enter telogen prematurely, and do so in large numbers. Hormone changes in the bitch may also play a role in this change.
The large numbers of hairs in telogen are shed simultaneously, and results in this condition of 'blowing the coat' in which the hair may actually come out in clumps. These hairs in telogen are actually being 'pushed out' by the growing hairs underneath them. As the new hairs grow in large numbers, we may sometimes observe that the 'new coat' is darker, less dense, and has a different texture.
A dog who is blowing her coat will benefit from daily brushing, which will also decrease the amount of hair that tends to accumulate in the house, on furniture, etc. Also, be sure she is receiving proper nutrition for a nursing dog.
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