The Chihuahuas are one of the world’s smallest dog breeds. Even though they are small, they are hefty and have stocky and flexible bodies, with apple-shaped heads, pointed ears, dark round eyes, and a little pointed nose that make them look extremely endearing. Do you not get disturbed thinking how long these apparently frail, lovable, long-term pals can live?
Being smaller in their frame and coming from relatively healthier dog breeds, Chihuahuas tend to live longer than larger breeds. Their average life span delves between 15 to 20 years. But, with proper care and apt knowledge about a dog’s health, you can have your loyal and affectionate companion enjoy a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life by your side for a few more years.
In this blog, we will make you aware of the factors affecting a Chihuahua’s life span and the necessary steps to increase the number of years they live.
Factors That Impact a Chihuahua’s Lifespan
The genetic makeup of the dog’s parents, the gender of the dog, their regular diet, and medical treatment are the major factors that affect their lifespan. Male and female Chihuahuas can differ in lifespan by up to two years, with the female ones living longer.
It is also important to remember that, generally, Chihuahuas cannot stand chilly weather. Due to their poor cold tolerance, chihuahuas may shiver and tremble during low temperatures. To spare these little canines from braving the weather: it is also recommended for Chihuahua owners to provide them with indoor pee pads.
Common Chihuahua Health Problems
Depending on their breed, all dogs are likely to experience some health issues. The same applies to chihuahuas. Although not all of these common health issues are instantly fatal, they can nevertheless have an impact on your dog’s daily activities.
Let’s now have a look at the common health issues that may affect the lifespan of your furry friend.
1. They Can Get Overweight
A plump tiny chihuahua walking on its short legs is a typical sight. Although it’s kind of adorable, the dog is more susceptible to numerous health issues.
Small dogs are more likely to become overweight since it simply takes a small amount of extra food to gain weight. However, you may get your dog back to its trim form with a tiny amount of activity and a change in food.
Numerous biological bodily systems are overburdened by obesity, which can also result in other health issues. For instance, a collapsed windpipe is one of these health issues, which makes it challenging for your chihuahua to breathe. Dogs who are obese are likewise more likely to get diabetes and many bones and joint problems.
2. They May Suffer From Bone-Related Problems
Maintaining a healthy weight for your chihuahua is the first step in guarding against bone and joint issues. Obesity places undue strain on the joints of little dogs, which can ultimately lead to joint problems.
The alignment of the knee joints is a typical problem in small dog breeds. Although it might be present from birth but in most cases, problems appear later. If your chihuahua has bone-related health issues, this misalignment may make it harder for them to walk.
Osteoarthritis develops in chihuahuas when a joint’s cartilage deteriorates with time. In addition, a molera is a small area on the chihuahua’s head where the skull is still developing. You should be cautious when handling your dog because the Chihuahua’s head has a weak region that should not be touched.
3. Chihuahuas Can Suffer From Luxating Patella
Ever notice how straight a Chihuahua’s leg sticks out? They might be attempting to correct a condition known as a luxating patella, in which the kneecap slides sideways.
A hereditary disorder that affects how the bones of the knee develop, it makes the kneecap more prone to shifting out of place. Chihuahuas may be able to solve the problem on their own by straightening their legs and relaxing or tightening their leg muscles. Ask your vet for advice on how to treat a luxating patella if your Chihuahua has one, especially if it is causing your dog ongoing discomfort or mobility issues.
4. They Can Have Heart Conditions
Heart problems are widespread in chihuahuas, and obesity can worsen them. Cardiac valve issues are among Chihuahuas’ most prevalent heart ailments. The heart valves can deteriorate and stop functioning properly. This puts pressure on the heart and permits blood to seep back through the valve.
By listening for a heart murmur, a veterinarian can quickly identify heart valve problems. Coughing, exhaustion, and shortness of breath are other indications of heart valve issues.
Take your Chihuahua to the vet if any of these above-mentioned signs appear. A veterinarian has a better chance of treating these health issues, and as soon as the problem is identified, it is better for your furry pal.
5. Chihuahuas Can Suffer From Toy Dog Hypoglycemia
Toy dogs like Chihuahuas are prone to hypoglycemia. Owing to their small size: chihuahuas are more likely to experience hypoglycemia. They only consume around 225 calories each day and eat tiny meals, but if they skip meals, their blood sugar levels might drop dangerously low.
Common hypoglycemia symptoms are sleepiness, lethargy, lack of focus, seizures, tremors in the neck, fainting, and blurred vision. If you find your dog showing any of these symptoms, feed it with some instant food and, if required, take your pet to the vet.
6. Chihuahuas May Suffer From Dental Problems
Chihuahuas are more susceptible to dental issues since they live longer than larger dogs, especially as they get older. Your dog may experience dental pain, and while sore teeth on their own are not life-threatening, it may become a severe issue if the dog experiences discomfort when eating.
Examine your dog’s teeth if you discover that it isn’t finishing all of its food. If required, consult your vet, and they will prescribe the required medication, which will bring respite from dental problems to your beloved pet.
How to Increase Your Chihuahua’s Lifespan?
How a pet is cared for by its owner has a big impact on how long it lives. There are numerous things you can do to increase the quality of life and the number of years your Chihuahua lives, regardless of their genetics, gender, or health issues.
Let’s have a look at some of the easy ways that you can adopt to give your dog a healthy life.
1. Healthy and Balanced Diet
The main part of daily care that can influence your pet is its diet. Ensure that the food your Chihuahua consumes is made from natural components and free of synthetic preservatives. Refrain from giving your Chihuahua leftover supper scraps because doing so can cause obesity, toxicosis, and other health issues.
2. Focus on Preventive Healthcare
The fundamental healthcare of your dog is another part of their existence that is under your control. You can identify health issues early by maintaining your Chihuahua’s general and dental health and arranging routine exams.
Contact your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your dog’s health.
The key to maintaining your dog’s health is preventative treatment. This includes receiving their vaccinations to guard against diseases like rabies and distemper, which are extremely hazardous.
3. Ensuring Physical Safety
Keep your dog secure. Chihuahuas are more prone to physical harm due to their small stature. Additionally, they are quite feisty and frequently fail to notice that their next-door neighbor’s dog is three times their size. When walking a little dog, keep it on a leash to prevent it from getting into trouble. Additionally, you ought to equip them with an ID collar or a microchip just in case it gets lost.
4. Regular Indulgence in Exercise
Maintaining a healthy weight for your little dog is harder said than done. Even though they don’t need as much activity as larger dog breeds, chihuahuas nevertheless benefit from it for their health.
If they appreciate toys, play with them regularly and take them for daily walks. The weight of a dog is one important aspect of its health and lifespan. It’s highly advisable to keep it low.
5. Neutering and Spaying Them
Spayed or neutered dogs typically live longer than dogs that are not altered. This is due to the reduced risk of testicular cancer in neutered males and ovarian cancer in spayed females, respectively.
If you don’t intend to breed your dog, it’s also a smart option to have them fixed. It will stop a surprise puppy litter from emerging. Additionally, a fixed dog will occasionally also be less aggressive.
6. Keeping Them Warm
When afraid, this specific breed of dog doesn’t simply tremble. Most people just cannot tolerate the 75–80 degree Fahrenheit range that chihuahuas like. Keep them warm with clothing or a soft bed. They will live longer and remain comfortable for many years if this is done.
7. Brushing Their Teeth
One of the most crucial things a dog owner can give their pet, then one has to be dental care. Many chihuahuas are infamous for their bad teeth, and they frequently experience infections and ailments that begin at the gumline. Regular tooth brushing or frequent dental health treats are recommended.
8. Teaching Them Tricks
Many chihuahuas enjoy showing off. Giving your dog the chance to learn something new is a great approach to keep them youthful. They are perceptive, eager to please, and frequently show motivation.
You may develop a close relationship with your chihuahua by training it both for work and play, which will also help it employ some of its cognitive abilities.
Here is some additional information that will guide you to increase the lifespan of your chihuahuas.
The average lifespan of a chihuahua dog is between 15 to 20 years.
You should try to ensure a balanced diet, frequent exercise, and regular veterinary visits for your chihuahua dogs.
Chihuahuas can suffer from heart ailments, luxating patella, hypoglycemia, bone-related problems, and being overweight.
No, chihuahuas can’t deal with low temperatures and tend to shiver due to the same. Hence, it is recommended to keep them warm.
Although chihuahuas have a long lifetime by nature, there are many things you can do to raise their standard of living and lengthen it. Although chihuahuas are prone to joint and heart problems, many of these diseases can be avoided with proper care, a balanced diet, and regular exercise.
Make sure your dog gets regular checkups, dental care, and vaccinations at the veterinarian. By maintaining a healthy lifestyle for your Chihuahua, you’ll have a tenacious, amiable, and devoted pet for more than twenty years.
Forrest is a lover of dogs, the wild outdoors, deep mysterious conversations… and coffee. He is the owner of several websites, including Canine Weekly. He resides in Austin, Texas.