Here we have an interesting and extremely important question. How long do Chihuahuas live? The answer is simple, and there are basically two numbers. But, understanding why this is the case and how you can help your pet live longer are far more complicated. There are a lot of factors you need to know, and there are a lot of things you can do.
How Long Do Chihuahuas Live On Average?
On average, most of them live between 15 and 20 years. In dogs, this is extremely long. Keep in mind that many dog breeds live around 10 years. How long do Chihuahuas live is basically answered. But there are a lot of other things you need to know about.
For instance, smaller dog breeds live longer than big dogs. Scientists are still learning why this happens, but they believe that abnormal cell growth is the reason. Well, Chihuahuas are some of the smallest dogs on the planet and they can reach 3 kg of weight tops. But, smaller ones are 1.5 kg in weight.
Another fact we would like to share with you is that many Chihuahuas can be seen at 20 years of age. Some live even longer. Of course, this cannot be generalised and there are many variations and not all sources are accurate!
Common Health Issues Chihuahuas Suffer From
All dog breeds have health issues that affect their life span. Some are more dangerous than others and some breeds have more issues than the others. When it comes to Chihuahuas, there are a few health issues we would like to discuss.
Obesity is a huge issue for many dogs, especially Chihuahuas. The reason is that these dogs are very small and can gain weight in a matter of days. This can lead to issues with joints (because they must support the extra weight now), the kidney, the heart, and the liver. All of these start out as non-severe but can become life-threatening, except for bad joints.
Hypoglycemia occurs when a dog has lower than normal blood sugar. This will remain present all the time and can lead to severe issues and complications. For lack of a better word, it is a life-threatening disease.
On the other hand, regular visits to a vet and proper treatment can make these issues extremely minor and be treated successfully.
Chihuahuas are prone to heart diseases and issues, period. One of the most common is heart murmurs which disrupt the blood flow through the heart and it is severe. Luckily, there are a lot of treatments out there that are very helpful.
Osteoarthritis is a condition that affects the cartilage between the two bones in the body. As a result, bones will rub one another which causes severe amounts of pain. Of course, this issue doesn’t have a direct effect on how long your Chihuahua will live but does affect things. Dogs with Osteoarthritis will become depressed, won’t be able to exercise, which has a negative effect on how long they can live.
Patellar Luxation can significantly affect the quality of life your dog has. This issue affects the knee and will make your dog limp all the time. There are a few treatments for it and they are reasonably effective. Patellar Luxation affects almost all small dog breeds.
How Can Your Chihuahua Live Longer?
There are a lot of things you can do to help your pet live as long as possible. Consider these as tips, tricks, or just pieces of advice that will help your pet live as long as he can. These are very simple and easy to implement, but they are very effective.
Take him to the vet on a regular basis
You need to take your pet to a vet on a regular basis so all potential issues and problems are discovered as soon as they appear. Most of the health-related issues are treatable or completely curable if discovered in time. If you don’t do this, your pet may develop complications that will have a negative effect on his lifespan.
Use special food for Chihuahuas.
Well, this type of food is not extremely special or impossible to find, but it is different than other dog breeds require. The food is designed specifically for very small dog breeds. You have countless examples on the market. This food is essential, and it will have a huge, positive effect on the lifespan of your Chihuahua. It is not expensive or hard to find, so it is something all owners should consider.
Vaccines are mandatory
Here is one thing all dog owners must memorize: We, as humans, get vaccines as babies and children. But dogs get vaccines throughout their lives to help them have a strong and effective immune system. That’s why it is important to take your Chihuahua to a vet on a regular basis to get the vaccines needed. This is extremely important and can make a massive difference. No, vaccines are not dangerous for your pet, and there are no severe side effects.
Allow your pet to exercise
All dogs need a lot of physical activity. Chihuahuas need it as well. On average, they need 30 minutes of running around per day so make sure you provide them with that. Don’t forget that they have small sizes and thin coats, so they can get chilly in a matter of minutes. This also means that you need to carry a coat or a sweater and make sure your pet doesn’t get too cold.
Environmental and Lifestyle Factors
Chihuahuas, though small and often perceived as indoor lapdogs, thrive in environments where they’re both safe and stimulated. Here are some critical environmental and lifestyle factors that can influence the health and lifespan of a Chihuahua:
Safe Living Conditions:
Chihuahuas, due to their diminutive size, can be vulnerable to injuries. Ensure that there are no spaces where they could fall or get stuck. When outside, a secure yard or leash walking is essential as they can easily become prey for larger animals or risk getting stepped on or accidentally injured.
Protection from Extreme Weather:
Chihuahuas have a low tolerance for cold due to their short coats and low body fat. They often need sweaters or jackets in cold weather. On the flip side, they can be prone to overheating in hot conditions. It’s crucial to provide a comfortable, temperate environment for them.
Though they are small, Chihuahuas are intelligent and curious dogs. They benefit from toys, puzzles, and regular interaction with their owners. A bored Chihuahua can develop behavioral problems, so keeping them mentally engaged is key.
Given their sometimes feisty nature, early and continued socialization is important. Positive interactions with different people, pets, and environments can help reduce anxiety and potential aggression, contributing to a more balanced and happy life.
While this applies to all dogs, Chihuahuas can be especially prone to obesity because of their small size. Overfeeding or giving them too many treats can quickly lead to weight gain. Obesity can shorten a dog’s life, so maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise is crucial.
Avoidance of Harmful Substances:
Chihuahuas are especially sensitive to substances like chocolate, caffeine, grapes, and certain artificial sweeteners, which can be toxic to them. Owners should be vigilant about what their Chihuahua has access to.
Dogs, in general, thrive on routine, and Chihuahuas are no exception. Regular feeding times, consistent bedtime, and a structured day can provide comfort and reduce stress.
Signs of Healthy Aging in Chihuahuas
As Chihuahuas enter their senior years, it’s comforting for owners to recognize the signs of healthy aging. Just like humans, dogs will inevitably face physical and behavioral changes as they grow older. However, certain indications can reassure you that your Chihuahua is aging gracefully and healthily:
While it’s normal for older dogs to lose a bit of weight, a Chihuahua that maintains a relatively steady weight is likely in good health. It’s essential to monitor for sudden weight loss or gain, as these can be indicators of underlying health issues.
Bright and clear eyes without excessive tearing or cloudiness are a good sign. While some aging dogs may develop a bluish transparent haze (lenticular sclerosis) which doesn’t significantly affect their vision, it’s different from the cloudy appearance of cataracts.
Good Dental Health:
Even with age, a Chihuahua with minimal dental issues—like less tartar build-up or fewer missing teeth—is showing signs of good health and proper care.
Consistent Energy Levels:
While they won’t be as playful and active as their puppy days, older Chihuahuas that still show interest in play, walks, and family activities are aging well.
Healthy Skin and Coat:
A shiny coat and clear skin without excessive dryness, bald patches, or flakiness indicate good health. Some graying, especially around the muzzle, is a typical sign of aging but isn’t a health concern.
A healthy senior Chihuahua will still have a consistent appetite. While they may eat a bit less than they did in their youth, a keen interest in meals is a positive sign.
Regular Bowel Movements:
Regular, solid bowel movements without signs of constipation or diarrhea indicate a healthy digestive system.
While some changes in behavior can be expected as dogs age, a Chihuahua that remains relatively consistent in their temperament, without sudden or extreme behavioral changes, is showing signs of healthy aging.
While they may slow down a bit, a senior Chihuahua that still responds to their environment—whether it’s a doorbell ringing or their owner entering the room—demonstrates good cognitive function.
Minimal Signs of Pain:
An aging Chihuahua that moves without showing signs of pain or stiffness, especially after waking up or during colder weather, is likely in good joint health.
Recognizing these signs of healthy aging can provide Chihuahua owners with peace of mind. However, regular vet check-ups remain essential to catch and address any potential issues early and ensure the golden years are truly golden for your beloved pet.
The Final Word
If you are one of many people who always wanted to know the answer to this question, now you know. How long do Chihuahuas live was an interesting question. There are a lot of variables and a lot of things you need to know and we have covered all of them. Try to implement all of these in your Chihuahua and make sure your pet has a long and high-quality life.