Skip to main content

PawTracks may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Should your Chihuahua wear a leash? What you need to know

It may seem like an odd question at first, but there’s reason to think about whether your Chihuahua should wear a collar and leash. As small and fragile as they are, sometimes it seems like even the wind could hurt them. Nevertheless, this fierce breed has shown time and again that small can be strong.

Many first-time Chi owners find themselves Googling “Should a Chihuahua wear a leash?” because of their dog’s combined tiny size and mighty power — it doesn’t take much pulling before the panting and coughing begin. No matter your fur baby’s breed, this can be distressing to see as a dog owner. That’s why it’s important to read up on safety tips and breed advice when shopping for a Chihuahua collar and leash. Don’t worry! Here’s what you need to know.

a black and brown chihuahua wearing a collar and leashes stands in front of a forest background
Joshua Hubbard/Unsplash

Chihuahua collar and leash injuries

Tiny dogs like Chihuahuas are more susceptible to injury to their neck and windpipe because of their small size. Although it’s not a common occurrence, it is possible for a small dog to injure a number of organs and even limbs simply by pulling too hard on a leash that’s attached to their collar.

Since collars sit right on top of the thyroid gland in a dog’s neck, chronic pressure and inflammation of the thyroid are risks. So is nerve damage, which can result in a range of symptoms from numbness and tingling to the loss of limb movement altogether. Probably the most concerning collar injury is a collapsed windpipe, which Chihuahuas may be at higher risk for, considering how small their windpipes are already.

Should a Chihuahua wear a leash?

Despite concerns over injuries due to the Chihuahua’s small size, keeping your dog leashed is essential to her safety. It’s easy for a small dog to get lost or carried away with a distraction, so whether you’re navigating a crowded place together or just going for a walk, she should be on-leash. Keeping your pup restrained will make your life exponentially easier, too.

Another item of concern for dogs as tiny as Chihuahuas is the collar, since even lightweight ones can distress your Chi’s fur, skin, and even windpipe. Still, collars can have a benefit when chosen carefully and not worn 24/7 or in dangerous situations (like while in a crate). If your dog is not microchipped, she should wear a collar and tags for identification purposes, especially while playing in a dog park or visiting public places.

So, what can you do, then, if your Chihuahua needs to wear a collar and leash without risking injury?

a woman holds a white chihuahua who wears a black collar
musicFactory lehmannsound/Pexels

How to prevent Chihuahua collar and leash injuries

Luckily, one easy-to-find canine accessory will change everything for your small dog — a harness to wear while walking. Although like any new piece of clothing, a harness will take some getting used to, your dog will get the hang of it eventually, and your walks will become easy as cake.

Because Chihuahuas are more likely to pull on the leash, wearing a harness will put less pressure on their neck and more pressure on their body, which won’t hurt them. If you attach their leash directly to their harness and not the collar, you’ll have more control over them and how they move. It’s a lot harder to slip out of a harness than to quickly back out of a loose collar, too, if you think about it. No escapes here, please!

Look for a harness that fastens in the front, at your dog’s chest, or on her back for extra control. You may want to consider a padded harness such as the Metric USA Comfort Fit Harness, which is just as cute as it is functional. This particular harness has two D-ring attachments to keep escape artists in, so you’ll know your tiny friend is always safe.

Remember to keep your pup’s collar and tags on if you’re out and about in a public space — safety first! If you’re concerned about the health effect your dog’s collar is having, it won’t hurt to upgrade your pup to a lightweight collar that won’t put so much pressure on her neck.

Just because your fur baby is tiny doesn’t mean she needs to be put at risk just to go for a walk. Luckily, you can make a few small changes — and purchases — now that you’re armed with the knowledge you have. Before you know it, your feisty little Chihuahua will be pain-free, comfortable, and so happy! And that’s all any pet parent could want, right?

Editors' Recommendations

Gabrielle LaFrank
Gabrielle LaFrank has written for sites such as Psych2Go, Elite Daily, and, currently, PawTracks. When she's not writing, you…
Why do dogs’ anal glands fill up? Here’s what to know
How often you may need to take your pup to the vet to relieve this issue
A small dog sits on the table at a vet office

In pet ownership, as in all life, you run into hurdles. Some dogs never have an issue with their anal glands, but they can come as a surprise to even veteran owners who suddenly see or smell something off. Unfortunately, you'll quickly discover how difficult (and gross) these little sacs can be. But dogs with particularly tricky bathroom issues will require a little maintenance and extra attention to the butt area.
What are anal glands?
There's no delicate way to say this: They're two smallish glands on either side of your pet's butthole. From an evolutionary perspective, the anal glands give off a unique scent, and the idea is that it acts as a canine's signature. Anal glands aren't analogous to anything we have as humans, so definitely don't worry about your own body expressing anything like this. However, many pups wind up having issues in this department and find themselves unable to empty them on their own.
Why do dogs' anal glands fill up?
Certain underlying problems, like obesity and poor diet, might make a dog more susceptible to gland issues. Smaller breeds also tend to struggle a bit more since their whole area is more compact. You may find your pooch expressing their own glands, licking the area, or scooting. That means it's time for an inspection.

How do you prevent anal gland issues?
Talk to your vet about what could be causing Fido's difficulties, as it can vary, but generally, you'll want to look at how much food and exercise they're getting. Additionally, a supplement, like a probiotic, will frequently take care of the issue. This works mostly by firming up the poop but can also introduce good bacteria to his gut.

Read more
Why do you often find your dog with their tongue out? Here’s what vets say about the ‘blep’
This behavior may be cute, but what does it really mean?
A German shepherd puppy sticks out their tongue

There's nothing cuter than a "blep" but what does it mean? Whether you first heard the term blep on the internet (it is meme-worthy, after all), or are learning of it for the first time, you're in for a treat. Bleps are positively adorable. The term started gaining online traction in the late 2010s, though it's no less popular today. The common canine behavior it's based on, however, is a habit as old as time: sticking out a tongue. Yep, a dog with its tongue out is enough to break the internet!

It's pretty dang cute, after all, but it's not always easy to figure out why a dog's tongue is sticking out. Don't worry though, pet parents — this is a great place to start. This is everything you need to know about bleps and what they mean.

Read more
Can dogs eat Christmas foods? Here’s what to share and what to skip this holiday season
Most common Christmas foods you can and can't share with your dog
A border collie wearing reindeer antlers looks over the dinner table

It’s the most wonderful time of the year -- for festivities and for food! From peppermint everything to Mom's famous roast turkey, there’s no shortage of delicious Christmas delicacies for to enjoy. Here’s where it gets complicated, though: These recipes aren’t necessarily safe for everyone in your family. Only some human foods are safe for dogs. Since canines have their own dietary needs and preferences, there are many festive treats they should stay away from.

Many of these are known no-nos for dogs -- chocolate, grapes, alcohol, etc. -- but a few may surprise you. We’ll cover popular holiday snacks, main courses, and even a few sweet treats, though a quick online search will help you learn about any ingredients we might have missed. When in doubt, you'll never go wrong buying your dog their own holiday treats!

Read more