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Caring For Your Elderly Chihuahua

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elderly Chihuahua

Did you know Chihuahuas are among the top pooches when it comes to living it up in old age? Yep, they’re record holders, often living well into their late teens and can even reach their twenties!

So, get ready to spend lots of quality years with your senior furball. Let’s ensure they’re not just about quantity, but full of quality as well.

Chihuahuas don’t hit senior status till around 10 years old. That’s when we have to keep an extra keen eye out for signs of aging – pretty much the same stuff we humans face.

Though we hope your little buddy doesn’t have to deal with any of these, it’s worth being in the know. Here are a few health bumps your oldie might run into:

Health Issues that Elderly Chihuahuas May Develop:

  • Arthritis, and other joint issues such as Luxating Patella
  • Fatigue
  • Dental disease
  • Cancer
  • 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, and 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 conditions such as Congestive heart failure and an enlarged heart.

But hey, don’t panic! There’s loads you can do to make your senior Chi feel like they’re still a pup at heart.

What You Can Do To Help Your Senior Chihuahua:

Veterinarian checking chihuahua's teeth

Vet Visits are Vital!

Regular check-ups, at least once a year, are super important. Your vet will check their heart, eyes, head, knees, and spine, among other things, and can catch any issues early on.

Food is Fuel!

Not all dog food is created equal. Opt for something designed specifically for seniors – it’ll support them in staying healthy for longer. Look for food that is lower in fat but packed with protein to maintain lean muscle mass.

Supplements for Support!

Consider supplements like Omega 3, Glucosamine, and Chondroitin Sulfate to give your Chi’s health a boost. Eye supplements can also be beneficial, especially since Chihuahuas can be prone to eye problems as they age. Ask your vet for their recommendation.

Dental Duty!

Brush your Chi’s teeth a few times a week and consider dental treats. Regular professional cleaning can prevent painful periodontal disease. They can scrape away the tartar and remove any infected or broken teeth. The vet can help catch the early signs of periodontal disease.

If your sweet senior has lost their teeth, be sure to check out this post for how to make food for your toothless dog. We also have another post on how to help elderly chis with no teeth.

Exercise for Elders!

Yes, your old-timer still needs their exercise! Gentle activities keep them nimble and healthy. Consult your vet about the best exercise regime for your little companion.

chihuahua in green harness

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.

I do want to mention that some dogs lose all interest in toys as they age. That’s okay. Try a food puzzle.

Creature Comforts!

An orthopedic bed can ease their joints while they sleep. And a pet stroller will allow them get to share time with you outside the house in comfort.

Safe Spaces!

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.
  • Always keep a list of emergency contacts at hand, including your vet and the nearest 24-hour veterinary clinic.
  • Regular grooming is not just about looking good but also about health. Regular brushing prevents matting, and nail trimming avoids discomfort.
  • 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.
elderly senior chihuahua

The golden years of your Chihuahua’s life can span over a decade. So, let’s ensure these years are golden indeed, full of love, care, and lots of snuggles. Always consult with your vet for the best advice tailored to your little one’s needs. Remember, every dog is unique, just like yours!

Cathy signature with cartoon chihuahua
blond woman holding white chihuahua

Cathy Bendzunas

Pet Blogger

I have had dogs all my life. I have been a pet groomer, worked in a pet hotel, and a kennel, and have bred and showed dogs.

Bass Mann

Tuesday 30th of May 2023

I can no longer afford to take my little companion to the Vet any more. All the vet "hospitals" in my area are corporate owned so there is no competitive pricing. It costs more to take my pup to the vet than it does for me to see a human Dr. I'm going to keep him as healthy and happy as I can. But I can't afford $400.00+ for euthanization when the time comes. I don't think that caring for my Chihuahua should be priced so high that us "low income" seniors are priced out of stewardship. Amoral.

Cathy Bendzunas

Tuesday 30th of May 2023

Check with your local SPCA. They often have a animal hospital that is income based. I've used it before and the only bad thing is it's hard to get an appointment sometimes. Also check to see if there is a veterinary college in your area. They offer services for very cheap or free.

Friday 14th of October 2022

Love this article. Straightforward facts and all questions asked from my old Chihuahua. Many thanks

Cathy

Friday 14th of October 2022

You're welcome. Glad you enjoyed it.

Billy

Thursday 7th of April 2022

i saved my boy from a neighbor that was leaving him out side in the cold weather , he saved me . Lost 2 poodles 30 years ago swore Id never get another doggie thank God for my little boy. hes my world dont even want to think about him not b n there with me. crazy as it seams when his time comes I want to go with him , I love himm that much

Cathy

Thursday 7th of April 2022

I'm so gld you saved him Billy!

Edith Bruce

Wednesday 16th of February 2022

i am 73 years old and would a chihuahua as I have had a lot of love for them I've had 5 from puppys and they all lived after 17 years if anyone wants to find a home for one I need the companionship of one

Peter Kriticos

Thursday 30th of December 2021

My Charlotte is somewhere between 14 and 15. I got her two years ago, helping out a lady that worked at a cafe that couldn't keep her anymore. Charlotte is so happy, its just her and I, she sleeps all day while i work. She hangs out on the sofa as i have built a ramp for her, and she is so dedicated to me. Follows me everywhere, does not need a leash, and is the sweetest thing on earth. She is my first dog ever.I had to have her teeth removed last year, and she came through like a champ, and she is beautiful. I think of her all the time.

Cathy

Thursday 30th of December 2021

She sounds like a wonderful chihuahua Peter!