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Caring For Your Elderly Chihuahua

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elderly Chihuahua

Chihuahuas are blessed to be live the longest out of all the dog breeds. But because of that, you will have a lot of years with an elderly dog. And you want to keep your Chi healthy and happy for as long as possible.

Because of their long life, Chihuahuas aren’t considered a senior until they are about 10 years old.

Many of the issues that afflict dogs as they age are often the same as what aging humans experience.

Hopefully your Chi will never experience these things but you should be aware of them and know how to help your pup if they do.

Health issues that elderly Chihuahuas may develop:

  • Arthritis, and other joint issues such as Luxating Patella
  • Fatique
  • Dental disease
  • Weight gain
  • Weight loss (may be caused by dental or liver disease)
  • Diabetes (look for sweet, fruity breath, frequent urination and drinking more water than normal)
  • Liver disease (look for foul smelling breath,vomiting, weight loss)
  • Senility which is called Canine Cognitive Dysfunction which is similar to Alzheimer’s in humans
  • Incontinence (may be cause by physical or mental issues)
  • Sight problems
  • Hearing problems
  • Heart condition which is usually an enlarged heart in Chihuahuas

What you can do to help your senior Chi:

  • Regular visits to your Veterinarian, Now more than ever, it’s important to take your dog to the vet for regular check ups and whenever there is a health issue.
  • Quality dog food. There are specially formulated dog foods that are made for seniors.
  • Supplements: Omega 3 supplements are great for your dog’s hair and coat. Glucosamine, Chondroitin Sulfate supplements work well for joint issues.
  • Brush your dog’s teeth at least several times a week and give them dental treats.
  • Exercise: gentle exercise and play to keep them limber and healthy.
  • Toys: Puzzle food toys, balls and other toys to keep them entertained.
  • Orthopedic beds to ease their joints while sleeping.
  • Ramps or steps to couches and beds to help your dog access them without jumping. (These are good for all Chis so they don’t hurt themselves going up or down on furniture).
  • Keep them warm: doggy sweaters, warm bedding, etc.
  • If you have hard, slick floors, place floor mats to help your Chi maneuver them without sliding.
  • Keep them stress free as much as possible. Keep small children or other pets who tend to annoy your old pup away from them.
  • If your dog has sight issues, do not move furniture around to confuse them.

Last but not least, know when it’s time to let go. Don’t let your faithful friend suffer because you are having a hard time letting them go. When they are in pain and medication no longer helps or when their quality of life has diminished significantly, it’s time to do the right thing and put your beloved baby out of their misery. Discuss it with your vet, and get their guidance on when it’s time to let go.

The senior years can last for 10 or more years in your Chihuahua’s life and with a little extra care, there’s no reason they can’t continue to be a happy, healthy companion.

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Sunday 9th of September 2018

Hello my 15 year old Belle just passed away today and I am very confused! Her vision and hearing were starting to deteriorate. But she was a very spunky Chi. She would always hound me down for food like a little greedy puppy. Lol. Occasionally she would poop in the wrong area. Other than that she seemed pretty active to me. Every time I was in the kitchen she would always wait for me to give her a little treat. Seemed like she was training me. Lol. She passed unexpectedly. Today I went into the kitchen to feed here and she would not leave her bed. I had to pick her up and take her to her bowl of food. She looked at her food and slowly walked back to her bed. I picker back up and brought her to the food again. I noticed she had shortness of breath. She looked at her food then looked at me and walked back to her bed. I was very worried at that point. About 1.5 hours later I noticed she totally missed her pee pee pad. I had a bad feeling. I knew it was time to go to the vet. Loaded her up in the car and 30 mins into the drive she pooped on her bed that I put in the car and she had stopped breathing and was already getting stiff. When I got to the vet the dr did not give me an answer of what it could be. Just threw out if could of been a heart or blood issue. Wanted to charge me 2000.00 to get a definite answer. Any idea why she passed suddenly without prolonged symptoms? Sorry for the long comment. She was perfectly fine the night before hunting me down like she always does for food. Lol. Thank you

sherry hansen

Sunday 9th of September 2018

Hello David, My heart goes out to you in the loss of your beloved Belle. My wee chihuahua, Perry, passed Jan 2018, age 16 years and I truly believe that Belle's issues was heart failure and sudden. I am still not over Perrys death and doubt I ever will get over it. He was my **All*, since he was 3 months of age. He was my family, my wee protege. I feel deeply for your loss, as it is very real. To get me to this period in time, I have lit candles EVERY day, to light the way and also therapeutic for me as well. Have his photos about and talk to them daily. Where do the years go ??????? Time is precious. Chihuahuas are prone to heart murmurs, fluid on lung, hacking cough, cataracts, and I have to remember the Happy Times of the 16 yrs. I feel absolutely empty, what else is there to say..... Go in Peace, know that others care and feel for you... Sherry PS I am also on : Petlossgriefmessageforum


Sunday 9th of September 2018

I'm so sorry for the loss of your precious Belle. I'm not a vet and no one could know for sure without an autopsy but it sounds like a heart problem. My Kilo passed from congestive heart failure but she was fine until an hour or two before she died. She passed much in the same way your Belle passed with loss of appetite and shortness of breath.


Saturday 18th of August 2018

Hi everyone! I have a soon-to-be 18 year old chihuahua named Emmy, I've had her since I was 12 years old. I was just cuddling with her on the sofa and decided to google further information about dogs her age and here I am! Because of her age, she now sees the vet every 6 months, simply to monitor her health. During her last visit, she was given the all clear--everything was normal for a dog her age. She has very poor vision due to cataracts, sways a bit when she walks, and tends to get lost in the dark but that seems to be the norm. To help her with these issues, my husband and I have not moved any furniture in the past 2 years or so, keep her from walking long distances and follow her outside in the early morning and evenings when she needs to go to the bathroom. She stills jumps a bit when she wants to sit on the sofa and eats regularly and has little bursts of her old self when she wants to play, but those days are soon fading. Our vet told us to keep her diet as is, Pedigree, that if it has worked for her this long then there was no point in changing it--and she's 18!!! So, for those of you who are worried about the costs of supporting a delicate dog like the Chihuahua, there are potential savings there, especially for those of you who have younger ones. Best of luck to all of you and here's to many more years of cuddling with your loved ones.


Saturday 18th of August 2018

It sounds like you are doing everything right for your little old lady Veronica. Thanks for sharing!


Thursday 26th of July 2018

Looking for some advice. My Chi is 18 years old. She has an enlarged heart, heart murmur, hard time walking and kidney disease. Medication helps manage those conditions. Recently though she has had diarrhea. She has an appetite. The vet gave me something to treat the diarrhea and her blood results were normal for her. She showed low potassium and salt so i give her a little pedialyte during the day. She drinks water well. Not sure what to do about her diarrhea. Its been weeks. She will go a few days without a bowel movement and then have a normal one and then diarrhea. She normally eats blue buffalo duck and potato. She loves it and never has gotten sick before. During this time the vet suggested chicken soup and rice. It helps but the diarrhea keeps returning. Any suggestions to manage this issue? Thank you.


Thursday 26th of July 2018

Sorry Vanessa, I don't know how to help her. Maybe add a little yogurt with pro-biotics to her diet to help with tummy troubles. There are also supplements on the market for dogs that have them too.

I know Lucas had a severe case of diarrhea and vomiting twice now. It was pretty scary because he had blood coming out of both ends. One time her was in the hospital for several days.

Among some of the prescription meds the vets gave me, they also told me to get some Pepcid tablets and give him 1/4 of a tablet every 12 hours. I've used it on him several times when I can tell he may getting diarrhea again since then and it has nipped it in the bud.

Marie S.

Friday 2nd of March 2018

within the next 48hs I'll be adopting a Chi. I was told he was between 8-10 yrs old. I found out yesterday he was 15 yrs old in Feb. No other info was given me. I can't change my mind because i can't stand the idea of being so old abd left in a shelter. However, I'm very worried about the proper care and related expense of such a senior dog.


Sunday 4th of March 2018

Congrats Marie! I'm so glad you are taking this little old fellow.

Basically, just try to keep him comfortable, keep his food and water within easy reach. Don't move furniture or leave things laying around as that may confuse him or if his eye sight is going, he will get used to where everything is and doesn't need any surprises. An orthopedic bed may help and put several blankets in it to keep him warm.

If he enjoys playing or going for walks, don't over do it but do those activities with him as it will keep him healthier and happier longer.

If he still has his teeth, be sure to get him some dental treats to keep them healthy. If he doesn't, give him soft food.


Tuesday 23rd of January 2018

Hi Guys,

I just adopted an about 7-8 years old chihuahua. the previous owner was an old lady who died and none of her family members could give me any papers or documents that i could predict her age. I took her to a vet and she said her molar on upper left side is loose. she has been with me only from last 4 days but what i observed and can tell you guys is that: - she sleeps all time day and night - she has no energy at all - she does not like to play - and a wierd thing- i have not heard her voice since last 4 days not even a single bark

I cuddle her a lot but i am not sure if i am missing anything

Please suggest!!!!


Tuesday 23rd of January 2018

It could be she's just depressed from losing her former mom. Time and lots of love will help with that. Or she could have an underlying medical problem such a hypothyroidism that could be causing her problems, in which case I would tell your vet just what you told me and see what she suggests. Hypothyroidism is easy and cheap to treat, by the way (I have it myself). 8 years old is too young to be acting the way she is acting. If she were 15, I would say that was normal behavior, but not 7 or 8.