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Chihuahua Health Problems to Be Aware Of

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Overall the Chihuahua breed is relatively healthy. They live the longest of all the dog breeds and sometimes even make it into their twenties!

But like all dog breeds, there are some common genetic health issues in Chihuahuas that you may encounter.

This post will update you on all the chihuahua health problems you need to be aware of.

Eye Problems

It’s not hard to imagine why Chihuahuas may have eye problems with their large protruding eyes. Their eyes can easily get injured or get infected.

Dry eyes or Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca is another eye issue.

You may also notice tear staining under your dog’s eyes. This is normal unless you notice an odor.

An odor or tan/green discharge is a sign of infection that needs to be treated by your veterinarian.

Click the link for more about eye problems.

GME ( Granulomatous Meningoencephalomyelitis)

This condition affects mostly small dogs and can cause a multitude of neurological problems including death. Though it hasn’t been proven some vets believe it can be caused by over-vaccination.

You can read more about it here: Granulomatous Meningoencephalomyelitis.

white chihuahua outside


This is a condition some Chihuahuas are born with. It is often fatal but if it’s a mild case, the Chihuahua can live a somewhat normal life.

It is a fluid build-up on the brain. Read it about it here:  Hydrocephalus.


You have probably heard of this condition before since some people suffer from it. This is the scientific term for low blood sugar.

It is most common in younger Chihuahuas and Chihuahua puppies. Basically, it’s caused by the high metabolism of the young dog. It’s important to make sure your Chi eats at regular intervals.

Symptoms include muscle weakness, staggering, listlessness, and in extreme cases, seizures, coma, and death.

If you suspect your dog is suffering from this, rub a little honey or jelly on his gums and see if that helps. You can read more about it here: Hypoglycemia in Chihuahuas.

Kennel Cough

It’s highly contagious and is usually caused by the Bordetella bacteria but can also be caused by a virus too. To read more about this disease, click here: Kennel Cough.

fawn chihuahua on chair under blue blanket

Patella Luxation

Many dog breeds suffer from this. This condition in layman’s terms is simply loose knee caps. The cause of this can be genetic or can be caused by injury.

Be sure to keep your dog at a healthy weight as obesity can aggravate the condition.  To read more about this condition, click here: Patella Luxation.

Reverse Sneezing

This condition is very common among small breeds. Although it sounds scary, kind of like honking. It’s usually not serious. You can read more about it here: Reverse Sneezing In Chihuahuas.


Seizures can be serious and frightening. I have an in-depth article on them here: Seizure Disorders.

chihuahua face under orange blanket


Chihuahuas tend to shiver a lot. It can be caused by several different things. The most common reason is that they are cold.

Being that their breed comes from a hot climate, they have trouble dealing with chilly temperatures.

Chihuahuas also shiver when they are stressed, excited or frightened.

Hypoglycemia can cause shivering too.

You can read more about shivering here: Chihuahua Shaking

Teeth Problems

Chihuahuas have very small mouths, which often causes dental problems with overcrowding their teeth.

The overcrowding causes food build-up in their teeth which causes decay and tooth loss.

Congestive Heart Failure

CHF isn’t known to be a hereditary disease in chihuahuas like it is in other breeds BUT I hear of more and more cases of it from chihuahua owners.

Congestive Heart Failure is when the heart can’t pump the blood needed to the rest of the body.

This causes fluid to become congested in the dog’s lungs, thoracic cavity, or abdomen.

There are different conditions that can cause CHF . Most common in small breeds is mitral valve disease. It’s not curable and can eventually lead to death. 

With proper treatment though, a dog with CHF can live for years and have a relatively normal life.

Find out more about it here: Congestive Heart Failure

Tracheal Collapse

In this condition, the dog’s windpipe weakens and collapses, causing the dog to chronically cough and wheeze. It can be quite serious. You can read more about it here Tracheal Collapse

Hopefully, your Chihuahua will stay healthy throughout his or her life and never have any of these problems. Veterinary care is vital in keeping your fur baby healthy and happy.
Cathy signature Chi

woman kneeling in front of a dog outside in snow

Paula Simons, DVM

This post has been fact-checked and approved by Dr. Paula Simons DVM. Find out more about Dr. Simons on our About page.


Thursday 25th of November 2021

My best friend was a Lil six year old white long haired. He was my soul mate. He loved me more than anything and I He. But he passed away from heart disease and trachea collapse. I miss him daily


Thursday 25th of November 2021

I'm so sorry you lost him Amanda, especially so young.


Thursday 11th of November 2021

I have a white an black chi . She has started getting red spots in her skin. We thought it was her being nervous but it has stayed this time for a few months now. Tried all kinds of shampoos. Nothing works. The vet wants to give steroids but long use kills there kidneys. I had a friend that lost her dog from kidney failure caused by using steroids. Any one has any information out therr


Thursday 11th of November 2021

Is she scratching at her skin Sandy? It sounds like an allergic reaction to something. Maybe her food. What are you feeding her?


Saturday 18th of September 2021

my Chi keeps dragging his butt across the floor and chewing at it. He has had his anal glands extracted tice in a month but he is still doing it. Also he quit jumping up on the couch and chair he make you pick him up now, he also will not go down the steps to the lawn to do his business. Can somesone please tell me what is going on with him? Another thing his bloodwork came back good.


Saturday 18th of September 2021

Karen, is a vet the one who extract the anal glands. I know if they aren't extracted properly, it can cause more problems with them. How old is your dog? The nor wanting to jump may be a joint issue. I'd get your vet to check out both of these problems.

Kay Mitchell

Friday 5th of February 2021

Mine is having essential tremors and vet keeps claiming they will lead to sezures and I can find no research that says so. I like him but disagree with him on that and have stopped the meds because they don't help. Any advice is welcomed.


Wednesday 10th of February 2021

I don't know about that but if you check the comments people have left on our seizure post, you may find an idea there that might stop the tremors.


Friday 5th of February 2021

My baby wasn't even 4 years old and she died of sweet syndrome.went from healthy chi to had to be put down in a week.


Friday 5th of February 2021

I'm so sorry Marsha. 4 is way too young to lose a fur baby. I haven't heard of sweet syndrome before What is it?