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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
  • Fatigue
  • 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 caused 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:

As a dog owner, you want to make sure that your senior Chihuahua has everything they need to age well and stay comfortable. Below, you will find a few tips on how you can help your senior Chi at home.

Maintain Regular Visits with Your Veterinarian

Now more than ever, it’s important to take your dog to the vet for regular checkups and whenever there is a health issue. Visiting the veterinarian at least twice per year is ideal. The vet will take the time to check their heart, eyes, head, knees, and spine. Early intervention is essential when it comes to senior Chihuahuas and their health.

Feed Your Chi a Quality Dog Food

There are specially formulated dog foods that are made for seniors. A healthy diet is essential and can help keep them healthier for much longer. The right diet also helps maintain healthy teeth and gums, ensures proper digestion, and can even boost their immune system.

Specially formulated senior dog food also contains lower levels of fat and higher levels of protein. This helps your Chihuahua dog maintain lean muscle mass and improves their overall health. It is especially important if your senior dog isn’t as active as they used to be.

Choose the Right Supplements

Omega 3 supplements are great for your dog’s hair and coat. GlucosamineChondroitin Sulfate supplements work well for joint issues. The right supplements help reduce inflammation, improves their range of motion, helps their joints, and can also reduce any discomfort they may be experiencing as they age. This leads to more comfort and better health.

Chihuahuas are also known to be plagued with eye problems as they age. So, eye supplements may also be beneficial. They can help encourage healthier tear secretions while promoting ocular health overall.

Proper Dental Hygiene

You should also make sure to brush your dog’s teeth at least several times a week and give them dental treats. You can schedule a visit with your veterinarian to have their teeth cleaned. They can scrape away the tartar and remove any infected or broken teeth. The vet can help catch the early signs of periodontal disease.

Regular Exercise and Activity

Exercise is also important as your Chihuahua ages. Gentle exercise and play for your older dog keeps them limber and healthy. Before starting any exercise plan, make sure to visit the vet first so that their weight and current health condition can be checked. The vet will also check their range of motion.

Exercise for older dogs is just as important as it is for younger and more active pups. However, you need to make sure that the physical activity is appropriate for your dog’s age. Adjustments will need to be made for senior dogs, and you have to keep a close eye on them.

Toys and Playtime

Puzzle food toys, balls, and other dog toys keep them entertained. As your Chihuahua ages, they may become less energetic; however, you still need to encourage them to stay as active as possible. Giving them the right toys can help keep them occupied and healthy and fit both physically and mentally.

Ensure Comfort

Orthopedic beds help to ease their joints while sleeping. These beds can also help improve mobility for your adult Chihuahua and give them as much comfort and support as possible as they age.

Easy Access

Ramps or steps to couches and beds help your dog access them without jumping. These are good for all Chis, so they don’t hurt themselves going up or down on the furniture. Many ramps are also portable and can fold up easily. When choosing a ramp or steps, make sure they have an anti-skid surface, so your dog has a good grip. You don’t want them slipping and falling over the edge.

Warmth and Safety

Keep them warm with doggy sweaters, warm bedding, etc. If you have hard, slick floors, place floor mats to help your Chi maneuver them without sliding. These are helpful when you have tile, hardwood, or laminate flooring throughout the home. Yoga mats are also a good option for those more highly trafficked areas in the home to keep your senior pup safe.

Potty Pads

Potty pads are another item you may want to have on hand for your elderly and aging Chihuahua. It is a disposable potty solution for older dogs who might not be able to make it outside as easily as before. It gives them a safe spot to go potty while also protecting your flooring.

Other Tips to Help Your Elderly Chihuahua

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.

peachs and gypsy
Alma's Chihuahua Story
Pancho is Happy to See his Daddy
Pancho is Happy to See his Daddy


Saturday 21st of November 2020

I'm hoping this comment reaches the person who needs to hear it most. I've posted on here before but I want to update on my little one.

My Jojo (chi) just turned 20 and I just turned 29.

He's been a table scrap eater his whole life and had done a daily 30 second full sprint every day until he went blind at 18.However those days are over. Now he's got 5 teeth, is deaf, and has gone fully blind. A month ago, his hips finally gave out. His spine started curving unnaturally and he could no longer walk. Then a few days later he had a second stroke (his first only 6 months prior).I thought he was done for. I had resigned myself to holding him for hours in a papoose preparing for his big sleep. I knew deep down there was one more thing we could try before giving up. So I took an old thin shirt and wrapped it around his mid section creating a sling. And we immediately started doing "Aqua Therapy". We started at two minutes of swimming every few days and built our way to 10 minutes every 2-3 days over the course of a month. All I can say is that my little boy is back. Friends and family keep commenting on his Lazarus like recovery. He can walk around the house if he needs to and he has regained a full appetite and will eat 4-6 times a day (small amounts) of freshly blended up food.I know our days together are numbered, but I'm going to give him all of my energy until he's ready to be done too. Because that's what he deserves.

So if you are in a dire situation and your pup has trouble going on walks but still has a fighting spirit I highly recommend having them swim. As a bonus* a post swim massage is great and is good for getting their fluids going in a very gentle way. You'll be surprised by how they respond. It's worth a try.

Gracie Rosales

Friday 23rd of October 2020

Hi my Lexie is 12yrs old she runs the house. But this morning i notice the she was bleeding from her personal part. She was fit at age5mos. Something isn't right here. She is a healthy, lovely girl not sure what is going on with her.


Friday 23rd of October 2020

She may have a urinary tract infection. You need to get her to a vet.

Catherine Mommsen Scott

Wednesday 19th of August 2020

This article was extremely helpful for me. The links to suggested aids are well-chosen. I would like to see an article with suggestions for senior chi’s who have no teeth. What toys would be suitable? It seems to be a common issue in senior tiny dogs.


Wednesday 19th of August 2020

That's a great idea Catherine. I'll put that on my list of articles to write.


Thursday 6th of August 2020

I have a 15 year old chi who was hit by a car at 6months old so she has replacement hips and other joint issues. In the past year she has slowed down a lot and in the past month has had frequent accidents in the house. I believe she must be deaf because she doesn’t bark that much any more. This week she has had an energy spurt like I haven’t seen in years. Running around the house , playing. Just now she took off on us and made it quarter of a mile running on a busy street (we haven’t needed a leash for awhile because she cannot get around that easily). What has gotten into her?


Thursday 6th of August 2020

Wow, I don't know Heidi!


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


Sunday 20th of September 2020

@David, I am so sorry for your lose’s never easy! I lost my “Lucy “ in May I still tear up when I think about her. 5 weeks after losing her I needed to get another one. Tinkerbella came from a rescue. She is approx 6 yrs old and 5lbs of pure love. She really helped with my grieving. Shame on your vet trying to take advantage of you. Obviously about the $. Please find another vet. May you little Belle RIP and fly high🌈❤️

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.