Chihuahuas are one of the world’s most recognisable dog breeds. This is primarily due to their overall adorable faces, small bodies, and loveable personalities!
They are the world’s smallest dog breed and are absolutely loved by many. Owning one of these cute pups is a real treasure, however, it also brings forth certain questions as well.
This can include proper ways to care for them, ways to make them happy, and even questions concerning their overall health and lifespans.
What Is The Lifespan Of Chihuahuas
Chihuahuas are known for their small sizes, only reaching about 3 to 6lbs (or 1.36 to 2.72kg) in weight and standing about 6 to 9in (or 15 to 23cm) tall.
While they are known for their small size, they are also known for their long lifespans! Chihuahuas lifespans are said to be between 12 to 20 years! That is an incredible amount of time for these little pups meaning their owners can have a lot of cherished memories with them!
What Health Problems Do Chihuahuas Have?
Health problems exist in any animal or breed of dogs, even chihuahuas. This is simply a matter of life and even with a long lifespan, chihuahuas are known for some common health problems.
The important factor behind their health issues is that they are treatable and usually do not inhibit their ability to live longer, happier lives. So what are some of the health problems that these pups can experience?
Below are the common health problems associated with chihuahuas.
Patellar Luxation (Knee Problems)
This is a very common problem in a lot of smaller dog breeds, especially chihuahuas. While it sounds complicated, it really isn’t and it basically means the kneecaps of the pup have become dislocated. This can be uncomfortable for the dog, however, with physical therapy or corrective surgery, it is able to be managed.
Pups as young as 4 months can experience this condition. Corrective surgery is a route only taken when the severity of the condition is too overwhelming. Most dogs will benefit from physical therapy which helps extend and relax the muscles associated with the area.
It is important to note that this is a genetic condition and that is why it is a common one among this breed.
Dental Issues As Chihuahuas Tend To Have Weaker Teeth
Unfortunately, chihuahuas are known for having dental issues. This isn’t an uncommon problem in other dog breeds, however, chihuahuas tend to have weaker teeth.
Because of this issue, it is extremely important to consider good, quality foods that help promote healthy teeth. These foods are typically made in such a way as to keep their teeth from getting too much buildup while also being just the right consistency so they aren’t too hard on the dog’s teeth while chewing.
The best way to approach dental issues is to brush their teeth with pet-safe dog pastes. Before attempting this feat, it is always recommended to consult a vet for the options in keeping their teeth healthy!
Eye Problems Due To Eyelashes Going More Inward
Most people probably know of the eye problems that chihuahuas can experience. These issues include watery eyes due to their eyelashes going more inward than outward and glaucoma which can lead to blindness.
Teary or watery eyes can be a sign of glaucoma, however, this condition is generally due to the eyelashes in the wrong direction or a blocked tear duct.
To treat this, it is important to clean the dog’s eyes regularly to prevent any type of buildup. This condition does cause the fur around the eyes to appear darkened, known as tear stains.
Glaucoma is an eye problem that can cause blindness if left untreated. It is important to look for signs of the issue as the pain behind the problem is not always noticeable in chihuahuas.
Symptoms can include watery eyes, swollen eyes, redness of the eye, discolouration, or bulging eyes. If any of these symptoms are noticed, the pup should be taken to the vet immediately. Treatment can include eye drops, but overall the vet will know what route might be best for the dog.
Other eye problems can include things like dry eye or cataracts. Cataracts are similar to glaucoma in that they cause blindness over time, but cataracts are able to be removed from the eye. Cataracts cause the dog’s eyes to appear cloudy or opaque in colour so this is easy to spot early on.
Heart Disease Directly Affects The Heart Valves
Heart disease is a pretty big health issue that directly affects the heart valves ability to pump blood to the heart. While this is a serious condition, there are treatments available for it in its early stages.
These can include losing weight of the dog is considered obese (yes, chihuahuas can become obese!), prescription medications, proper dental care, just to name a few.
This is only able to be diagnosed by a vet. Symptoms aren’t as noticeable but can include coughing, excessive panting, just to name a couple.
Hip Problems Cause Liping And Pain
Hip problems affect a lot of dogs and this does include chihuahuas as well. The hip problems aren’t exactly understood in this breed, but it can cause limping and pain in the dog.
It is possible though that the hip bones don’t get enough blood causing brittleness to occur. Surgery is usually required to help correct these issues.
Tracheal Collapse (Windpipe Becomes Too Narrow)
The trachea, also known as the windpipe, can become too narrow not being formed correctly, or by becoming too weak. This condition sounds super scary, but it is treatable with medication.
More severe causes do usually require surgery. Coughing is the number one sign of this problem along with laboured breathing.
These conditions are all treatable and shouldn’t raise too much concern in owners. While some of them are more serious conditions, it is important to always be on alert of any symptoms and get vet care when absolutely needed.
Moreover, feeding the pup foods that help support joint and muscle health in small breeds is a helpful tool. Routine vet checkups are another excellent way to keep track of a chihuahua’s health or any dog for that matter!
The bottom line is, all dogs and living beings have known health issues and even with these known ones in chihuahuas, they can still live a long and healthy life!
Why Do Chihuahuas Live So Long?
While the previous health issues seem serious, they aren’t usually life-threatening. Due to this, chihuahuas are known to live longer as they are not prone to be afflicted by serious illnesses.
As long as their health is well maintained, they can reduce the amount of affliction caused by their common health issues as well. Chihuahua owners, like other pet owners, obviously want the very best for their pups. This includes a happy life as well as a long life.
When thinking about why chihuahuas are known to live so long, it also poses the question about how to ensure they live the longest life possible.
There are some helpful ways to make sure these charming and lovable dogs live a long, happy life! Below are some tips for giving a chihuahua the fullest life possible!
Tips For Helping Chihuahuas Live Long Lives
Provide A Good Diet Of Fresh Foods
The first step in giving a chihuahua a long life is through their diet. A good diet should consist of appropriate food for small breeds of dogs that help joint and muscle health, dental health, and have natural ingredients.
Dog foods with excess additives are never good for any dog. There are plenty of brands out there to consider and even considering making homemade food is a popular choice as well.
This gives chihuahua owners peace of mind in knowing that the foods they are feeding their pups are of the best quality.
Do Not Overfeed, Use Small Portions
It can be tempting to overfeed our little friends. However, chihuahua obesity can be a serious problem, especially in the formation of heart disease.
The proper amount to feed a chihuahua is only about 1/2 cup to just over 1 cup of food (or 118-238ml). While this seems like very little food, they are smaller dogs. Their appetites aren’t as large as bigger breeds. Moreover, treats are usually also given to pups as rewards for behavior.
So they won’t be hungry nor be packing on any unwanted weight.
Encourage Daily Exercise Or Play Time
Creating a routine helps owners and pups stick to an exercise plan and shooting for 20 to 30 minutes of exercise a day is best. This goes hand-in-hand with helping these pups maintain a healthy weight as well.
These are the three most critical things to do for helping a chihuahua stay active and healthy to live a longer life. Their overall playful nature will enjoy the playtime or exercise as well as keeping them entertained.
What Is The Oldest Living Chihuahua?
The oldest chihuahua to ever live was documented as Megabyte, a chihuahua who lived until age 20. This adorable pup is said to have lived a total of 20 years and 265 days, almost reaching 21 years!
This pup’s death was on New Year’s Day in 2014 and since then there have been rumours of other pups living up to 22 years of age.
Those dogs have never been officially verified though, so it is hard to say if any have actually surpassed Megabyte’s record.
When we think of 20 years, that truly is a remarkable amount of time for a dog to live. In human years, it is still quite young. However, in dog years, it is quite elderly.
But what exactly does “dog years in human years” even mean? We’ve heard the phrase before, but what’s the meaning behind it? Simply put, it refers to an animals metabolism and how fast its body ages.
Animals, unfortunately, age at a much faster rate than human beings. So when thinking about the phrase “dog years in human years”, it literally means what the equivalent is between a dog’s age and what their bodies display in the aging process to a human’s age numeric.
This process is true for all animals. Take rodents for example, like guinea pigs, whose life expectancy is only up to 7 years due to how fast they age.
With this in mind, just how old was Megabyte in human years? Well, to break it down, it is said that the first year of a dog’s life can be equated to 15 human years.
At age 2, a dog’s human year age is said to increase by 9 years, bringing it to 24 years in human years. All years after this point are thought to add 4 to 5 years to the dog’s human year age.
So at age 20, Megabyte would have been approximately 100 human years! This is truly incredible to think about and really puts some perspective into what that old saying actually means. It also demonstrates just how old chihuahuas can live up to!
How Long Do Tiny Chihuahuas Live?
The phrase “tiny chihuahua” sounds strange, especially since this dog breed is pretty small, to begin with. However, there are documented chihuahuas that are smaller than the average chihuahua.
Typically, these “tiny chihuahuas” are termed as “teacup chihuahuas“. It is important to note that this is not another breed of a chihuahua. Rather, it is a chihuahua who has stunted growth.
These pups are generally a result of improper breeding and there is a lot of controversy surrounding their legitimacy.
Regardless, there are still pet owners out there with these smaller pups. These pups only get about 6in (or 15cm) tall and usually only weigh about 3lbs (or 1.36kg).
Because of this stunted growth, their lifespans are shortened compared to regular chihuahuas. It is said that they live for about 12 years or less. This is quite striking compared to other chihuahuas who can get closers to 15 to 20 years in age.
A lot of the reasoning behind their shorter lives lies within their stunted growth. But moreover, these pups are known for having more medical issues.
These medical issues aren’t different than typical chihuahuas, however, due to their tiny size teacups are more likely to develop the common health problems. This, in turn, can shorten this lifespan as well.
This isn’t something that can be directly avoided but with similar care of these pups, like regular chihuahuas, their lives can be enriched for as long as possible.
Foods To Consider Feeding Chihuahuas
As expressed, chihuahuas are known for their longevity as well as their small size. To help them live the longest life possible, the foods they eat should be of very high quality.
While some of the price points for the higher quality foods tend to be higher, they are worth the extra investment. Obviously, people’s budgets should be considered but for those who want and can spend a little extra for their pups, its a good decision!
When talking about quality, some people question what it actually means to be good, quality dog food. For a dog food to really wear a badge of “quality” it must be limited on its ingredients and preferably list meat as its first few ingredients.
When looking at any ingredient list, the first ones listed as thought to be the primary things within the recipe. If meat is listed first, this is a good sign. Furthermore, if the ingredient list is smaller that means there are less added ingredients in the food.
Added ingredients aren’t good because sometimes they are things we simply don’t know or aren’t needed.
Below are some some of the top foods to consider feeding chihuahuas!
Top Foods For Chihuahuas
- Wellness Core Small Breed – With turkey and chicken as its first ingredients, Wellness Core strives to keep its ingredients wholesome. It is also grain-free for pups who shouldn’t have too much grain in their diets.
- Blue Buffalo Small Breed (Adult) – Blue Buffalo is well-known for its pet foods. This popular brand for small breed pups has chicken, fruit and veggies for a healthy immune system and glucosamine which supports healthy joints.
- Candiae Small Breed – This food is perfectly sized for chihuahua’s small mouths, making it an excellent choice for a dog’s dental health. Moreover, the ingredients include fresh chicken and do not have any soy or grain.
These are the top three contenders for chihuahuas. They all have limited ingredients that are of good quality. There are other types of small breed foods out there that might be suitable for chihuahuas. Specifically, there are foods for senior dogs as well as puppies.
Those foods are special because they cater to elderly dogs or growing dogs to ensure they are getting the nutrients they need, all while keeping with the theme of limited ingredients.
Consulting a vet is always a good idea to ensure the right foods are being fed to these adorable dogs!
Chihuahuas are truly special dogs. They defeat all odds by being the world’s smallest, cutest dog breed all while living on for a long time! Their loyal nature, playful personalities and overall good spirits make them such a popular pup.
Moreover, their life expectancy showcases they love to live life to the fullest!
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