Meet Frida Chihualo :) She's my darling, 11 year-old brindle chihuahua. Her name is obviously inspired by Frida Kahlo, an artist I love because of her incredible story of enduring one challenge after another. My Frida is similarly a fighter and she brings so much beauty and color to the world, hence the name!
I rescued @fridadoggy months before Covid-19 hit the US hard, but in many ways she IS a pandemic pet because most of our time together has been in quarantine in New York City and has involved me working from home. The number of dog adoptions since 2020 are quite astounding, especially coming from animal shelters. If you support the #AdoptDontShop cause which helps animals in crisis and in-need, then this is pleasing news to you. I've put together some statistics here for you to check out, just because I truly find this to be a silver lining of the horrendous time we've endured on account of coronavirus.
- At the begining of the pandemic in 2020, pet adoption rates jumped up by 34%
- Shelter Animals Count, which runs a database that tracks shelter and rescue activity, looked at pet adoptions during the pandemic. The group, which tracks about 500 rescue organizations across the country, recorded 26,000 more pet adoptions in 2020 than in the year before — a rise of about 15 percent.
- The good news is that owner surrenders and the amount of homeless dogs taken in by shelters dramatically decreased, however I read this was not the case for cats.
- I also read NYC shelters were reporting a drop in adoption "returns", and in 2020, Animal Care Centers of NYC reported 25 percent of the people who agreed to take in foster dogs temporarily at the start of the pandemic had adopted them permanently in 2020.
I want to share a bunch of personal recommendations for anyone who's adopted a small dog. These include everything from food, accessories and stylish must-haves. They're all products I use for Frida's health & wellness.
I've had dogs before, but never as small as Frida. She barely weighed 4 pounds when I rescued her as a scrawny and malnourished senior dog, and now weighs a healthy 6 pounds. Learning about the best diet, treats, and products I needed to care for her properly took some time. Previously I had two 35-pound dogs, so caring for a tiny and more fragile pup was such an education for me. I hope these recommendations help you and making the learning curve a bit faster!
Let's start with FOOD / MEALS! Chihuahuas and a lot of small dogs don't eat like bigger dogs. I started her off with 3 small feedings a day and experimented with food from Royal Canin (dry and wet). She hated the wet and likes to dry. But I also learned from Frida that she prefers fresh food to canned or dry. So, ultimately we ended up using Just Food For Dogs, which is located inside a nearby Petco. I add cooked vegetables to the recipes (carrots, brocolli, peas, green beans) and I'll sprinkle Royal Canin adult dry chihuahua kibble on top.
As far as treat, Frida and I are totally in love with Lord Jameson dog treats made from organic nourishing ingredients and COCONUT! They're also soft enough for her little teeth to bite into. I cute the balls up into quarters for her.
Like all dogs, Frida loves her rest. She has 3 beds:
- Her Purple mattress pet bed (size small)
- Her Cozy Calming Dog Bed from Alpha Paw - her favorite!
- My bed, which she needs her Alpha Paw Pet Ramp to get up to. This is a lifesaver for her little joints and the health of her spine.
When it comes to small dog apparel... My go-to is always Found My Animal because they make the cutest, best fitting and high quality clothing.
I love their tees and Frida has 2 of their jackets (not pictured is her faux fur). Click the images to be taken to their site for shopping. A proceeds of their sales goes to rescue shelters and if you follow them on instagram, they also post about available dogs for adoption across the country. I absolutely this company!
Another apparel site that sells high quality winter coats for small dogs is BaxterBoo where I got this cute reflective, vegan-fur lined coat by FabDog. It's what Frida wears when it snows because it's warm and water resistant. I think it sold out but wanted to share the details in case it leads you to something just as good or better.
And of course, there's Chewy, which has unbeatable prices but their inventory goes really fast.
For sweaters, which are key in Fall and Winter, my favorites are made by Harry Barker (the best quality!) and you can get this super soft Cable Knit Sweater (Frida has it in aqua) for around $13 off of Amazon--it's such a DEAL!
Dog grooming is critical. I buy Frida hypoallergenic shampoos for bathtime as well as hypoallergenic deoderizing wipes for post-walk cleansing. She gets tear stains a lot, so I bought these Gentle Tear Stain Wipes on amazon which work nicely. For nail filing, I'm a big fan of this product: PAWPERFECT by Bell + Howell. It's a rotating nail filing device which works exceptionally well. It takes 1 or 2 times to get comfortable doing your dog's nails but you eventually get the hang of it once you realize the more calm you are, the less your dog will resist. I made an IGTV video while using the device on my dog in case you want to take a look and hear some tips: FILING MY DOG'S NAILS.
Chihuahua teeth tend to be very week, prone to rotting and fall out quite easily even at an early age. The problem with dental care for chihuahuas is that they hate when you touch their sensitive teeth, so teeth brushing is very unlikely (unless your blessed with a chi or small dog that lets you into their mouth). I use Fresh Breath Gel by TropiClean to keep Frida's breath minty and her teeth clean. I do a dab on the right and left of her teeth and she reacts by licking it across all of her teeth. It's perfect, because she ends up applying it herself without the need for me to put my fingers into her jaw.
Let's talk pet carriers... because BE HONEST, in a pandemic you've been able to get away with taking your dog pretty much everywhere. When I first got Frida, she was smaller and thinner and I was able to put her in my purse. But she's since filled out and I've smartened up, changed my ways and invested in more comfortable carriers for her.
I have a tote carrier that I put Frida in for daily activities and errands called the Noble Duck Pet Carrier. It comes in all black and a camel brown color at a price that's incredibly reasonable. I literally cannot live without it because it's lightweight, fits her perfectly with room to spare and a head cut-out, and it has a side pocket for my stuff.
I also really love my Chanel-inspired quilted pet carrier (made with vegan fur/leather) from The Dog Squad for fancier or more chic ocassions. The chain makes it a bit heavy but it's so posh as an accessory for me, and most importantly so comfy inside for frida. She loves the super soft vegan fur. You can get from The Dog Squad in many different colors and fun textiles, and NO, IT'S NOT CHEAP at $244 but some splurges are worth it.
So that's what I've got for you. I hope my recommendations you help out, and I hope you and your pandemic pet are staying healthy and safe! Leave any comments below with your own tips, rescue/adoption stories and anything else that contributes to this topic. Thanks!