Chihuahua Lifespan: 7 Tips to Help Chihuahuas Live Longer

In this article, we explore how long the average Chihuahua lifespan is, plus take a look at breed-specific health concerns to be mindful of. We also share our expert tips on how to keep your Chihuahua healthy and happy for as many years as possible.

Jun 20, 2024·8 min read
Chihuahua Lifespan: 7 Tips to Help Chihuahuas Live Longer

Chihuahuas are known as small dogs with larger-than-life personalities. These little pups are loyal and loving, and they tend to form very strong bonds with their families.  

If you are the proud owner of a Chihuahua, or you are planning on adopting a Chihuahua into your family, you may be wondering how long they live and what you can do to help your small-but-mighty companion live as long as possible. 

Let’s dive in and cover Chihuahua lifespan information, common breed-specific health problems, and important tips for helping your dog live longer. 

What Is the Average Chihuahua Lifespan? 

The Chihuahua, like many other small dogs, has a longer lifespan than other dog breeds. You can expect a Chihuahua to live between 12 and 20 years on average, with around 15 to 18 years being the average lifespan for this breed.  

Of course, several factors play a role in how long your Chihuahua lives, including genetics, their overall care, and any health issues they may develop. 

Common Health Problems for Chihuahuas  

Chihuahuas are prone to certain health conditions like hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), due to their low body mass. This makes it more difficult for them to regulate their blood sugar. Signs of hypoglycemia in Chihuahuas may include shaking, vomiting weakness, uncoordinated movements, trouble standing or walking, and fainting or collapse.  

Chihuahuas can also suffer from obesity, as they tend to overeat when given the chance. Obesity can impact a Chihuahuas quality of life and lead to joint problems including arthritis.  

Other health problems to keep an eye out for in your Chihuahua include: 

  • Heart disease – This is one of the most common causes of Chihuahua death, and it commonly occurs in older Chihuahuas. 
  • Dental disease – Due to their small mouth size, Chihuahuas are prone to certain types of gum and tooth diseases which makes regular dental appointments essential. 
  • Luxating patella – This occurs when your Chihuahua’s kneecap moves out of position. 
  • Hip dysplasia – This condition occurs when the hip joint fails or loosens, causing pain, trouble walking, and limping. 
  • Eye problems – Chihuahuas have large eyes, and they are more prone to eye injuries and infections. 
  • Tracheal collapse – This is caused by a weakening of cartilage in your dog’s neck, and it can cause persistent coughing or trouble breathing. 

If you suspect your Chihuahua is having health problems, you should take them to your local veterinarian as soon as possible to address your concerns. 

Tips to Help Your Chihuahua Live Longer 

Tan and white Chihuahua puppy staring up at camera with big eyes

If you want your Chihuahua to live a long and healthy life by your side, follow these tips to improve your dog’s wellness and increase their longevity.  

Choose a Chihuahua Breeder Wisely 

Ethical breeding is one of the most important things to keep in mind when you are purchasing a Chihuahua puppy from a breeder. Proper breeding methods lower the chance of health issues and certain genetic problems from being passed down through generations.  

Overall, an ethical breeder will keep the dog’s health and comfort in mind, ensuring that any puppy has a good chance at a healthy and happy life. If you are planning to get a Chihuahua from a breeder, make sure to research the organization before making a decision. Look at reviews, visit the facility, and ask questions to ensure the breeder uses humane practices and the Chihuahua puppy you’re receiving is healthy. Be wary if the breeder does not let you meet puppies in advance, dodges questions, or can’t provide health screenings. 

There are plenty of Chihuahuas in animal shelters all across the country, so adopting a Chihuahua is also an option. The same rules apply for making sure the adoption organization or shelter facility is ethical and humane.  

Don’t Skip Exercise 

Exercise is essential for dogs of all breeds, and a Chihuahua is no different, despite their small size. These dogs will need at least two to three walks each day, and they will also benefit from dedicated playtime both indoors and outdoors.  

You can take them to a dog park to play with other dogs, but make sure that they are properly socialized before doing this. You may also need to monitor their interactions with other dogs to ensure injury doesn’t occur. 

Feed a Proper Diet  

As we mentioned above, Chihuahuas are prone to certain health issues, like obesity and blood sugar problems. This makes it especially important to ensure your Chihuahua receives a proper diet of healthy food, and that their meals are split into portions throughout the day. 

You should select either wet or dry dog food, or use a combination of both, and ensure that you are meeting your dog’s caloric needs. You can work with your vet to figure out the best feeding amount for your specific dog. 

Boost Their Brain Health 

Mental stimulation is important to a dog’s overall health, and you can give your Chihuahua this through training and play. Puzzle toys, toys that give treats, and consistent obedience training can help your Chihuahua’s mind stay active and alert, something that helps to encourage longevity in your pup.  

Additionally, proper training and socialization for your Chihuahua helps them behave in public, allowing them to easily accompany you to more places. 

Bathe and Groom Regularly 

While many people may not think of grooming as integral to Chihuahua health, regular brushing and bathing — in addition to trimming nails and cleaning ears — is vital to monitoring your dog’s health and helping them feel their best.  

As you give your Chihuahua a bath, you can check their skin for itchy spots or other indicators of health issues. Cutting their nails and cleaning their ears helps to prevent injury and infections, and brushing helps to keep Chihuahua coats looking clean and healthy. 

Double Down on Dental Care 

Dental care is an integral part of your Chihuahua’s health. Chihuahuas are especially prone to periodontal disease and rotten teeth. Making sure your Chihuahua’s teeth are in good condition at each vet appointment is essential.  

You can also speak to your vet if you believe your Chihuahua needs a professional dental cleaning or if you have concerns about keeping your Chihuahua’s teeth healthy at home. 

Keep Up With Preventative Care 

Preventative healthcare is a major factor in keeping your Chihuahua healthy and living a long life. Keeping up with regular veterinary appointments can help identify health problems early. Additionally, as your dog interacts with other dogs or children, they should be watched, as they can easily be injured due to their small size. 

You should also adjust your dog’s care as they age, adding helpful items like dog stairs and comfortable flooring to your home as they become seniors. Adjust your dog’s diet, exercise schedule, and training routines as necessary to meet their needs with every passing year. 

When Should I Take My Chihuahua to the Vet? 

Ensuring your Chihuahua attends regular healthcare visits once or twice a year is essential. However, there are some signs and symptoms that indicate your Chihuahua needs immediate medical attention. It’s important to keep an eye out for these signs, as they often indicate a serious health issue. 

Take your Chihuahua to the vet if you notice any of the following: 

  • Unexplained lethargy  
  • Nausea, upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea 
  • Seizures 
  • Bloating or abdominal distension 
  • Trouble eating or sudden loss of appetite 
  • Unconsciousness 
  • Limping or bleeding 

If your regular vet is unavailable for a visit on such short notice, you may need to book an appointment at the nearest emergency vet. 

Help Your Chihuahua Live Happily 

Every dog parent loves their pup, and it’s only natural to want your dog to live their healthiest and happiest life. You can improve your Chihuahua’s lifespan and support your dog’s longevity by ensuring they receive proper care throughout their life.  

If you have any concerns about your Chihuahua, don’t hesitate to take them to your veterinarian. And remember, a loving home is the best thing for helping your Chihuahua thrive and live their life happily at your side. 

Sources: 
 
Author Traverse, Teresa, “Valvular Disease in Small-Breed Dogs,” American Kennel Club, June 28. 2023, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/valvular-disease-in-small-breed-dogs/ 

Author Coates, Jennifer, DVM, “Collapsing Trachea in Dogs,” petMD, January 8. 2023, https://www.petmd.com/dog/general-health/collapsing-trachea-dogs-everything-you-need-know 

Deidre GrievesD
WRITTEN BY

Deidre Grieves

Deidre Grieves is a pet-industry writer and editor with over 15 years of experience working for brands including petMD, Chewy, and Great Pet Care. She’s currently the Director of SEO at PetLab Co. When not creating content about pets, she enjoys spending family time with her husband, two human babies, and Goldendoodle named Clementine.

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The information contained within this site is not intended as a substitute for professional medical or veterinary advice. PetLab Co. is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If your pet has, or you suspect your pet has any medical condition, you are urged to consult your veterinarian. Medical conditions can only be diagnosed by a licensed veterinarian. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Results May Vary. Not intended for human consumption. Please consult your veterinarian regarding any change in treatment or supplementation.
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