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7 Facts About Senior Chihuahuas

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Whether you have just adopted a senior chihuahua (and bless you if you have!) or have had your little fur ball for most of their life, there are questions you may have about this stage in your chihuahua’s life.

7 Things To Know About Senior Chihuahuas

We do have a more in depth article on senior chihuahuas but this post is good for a quick read.

Check out our main post that showcases all our chihuahua facts articles!

1- At what age is a chihuahua considered a senior?

Chihuahuas are considered a senior when they reach 10.

This is much later than other breeds who reach senior citizen status at around 7 or 8 and in the case of giant breeds 5 to 6.

2- How long does a chihuahua live?

12-20 years but they have been known to live into their early 20’s.

older chihuahua

3- Any health advantages to being an older chihuahua?

Yes, there is a neurological condition called GME which is becoming more and more common.

It is believed to caused by over vaccination and targets mostly small breeds.

For some reason, dogs over 8 years of age do not develop this disease.

4- What are common health problems in elderly chihuahuas?

Many are the same issues other dog breeds, and even people get as they age including:

  • cataracts
  • glaucoma
  • dementia
  • arthritis
  • gum disease and dental problems
  • cancer
  • diabetes
  • hearing loss
  • congestive heart failure

sleeping senior chi

5- Does my older chihuahua need clothes?

Most likely yes. Chihuahuas in general tend to be cold natured.

Just like people tend to get cold more often in their senior years, well chis do too.

So do keep a few cuddly sweaters on hand for your dog along with lots of soft blankets.

senior fawn laying down

6-Will my chihuahua’s personality change?

It may change as they age.

Of course, they won’t be as active as they were when they were younger.

Some chihuahuas get a little crotchety as they enter their senior years and don’t handle stressful situations as well as they did when they were younger.

Sometimes things that didn’t bother them when they were younger, suddenly scare them such as thunder storms.

And sometimes dementia sets in and changes their personality drastically.

If you notice signs of dementia such as confusion, staring into space for long periods of time or other personality changes, get your dog to your vet as soon as possible.

There are drugs available that can help with dementia and for some reason, they have a better success rate with dogs than humans do with their drugs with dementia.

7- What else should I do to keep my senior chihuahua happy?

  • Keep an eye on your fur baby for any health problems that need veterinary care. If you can afford it, you might want to switch to vet visits every 6 months instead of once a year.
  • A good joint supplement can help a lot with arthritis.
  • Your dog still needs some exercise, just not as much as when he was younger. Do try to take him for a daily walk for 15-20 minutes. If you like to go for longer walks, bring a pet stroller with you and just put your dog in it when they get tired.
  • Don’t move the furniture around as it can be confusing and frustrating for dogs that are losing their site or are developing dementia.
  • Keep a check on your chihuahua’s weight and don’t over feed them.
  • Don’t let them jump from high distances such as from the bed or couch. Get them pet steps and teach them how to use them.
  • Keep them away from crowds,  (unless you have them secure in a stroller or sling) as they can be scary or too much stimulation for an older dog.
  • Keep small children away from them as much as possible.

Leave a comment and tell me about your oldster.


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Ronald Kipp

Sunday 22nd of November 2020

My Smudge is 7 1/2, 8 in May. I'm starting to look for ways to keep him HEALTHY, playful and happy as he gets older. As a nurse I'm wanting to ward off any "evil spirits" [illnesses].

Want to make sure his joints, heart and lungs work for yes to come. Any tips I might introduce in his diet ... etc?

Cathy

Wednesday 25th of November 2020

Hi Ronald, We have a post on supplements you can give them as they age here: https://ilovemychi.com/best-supplements-for-small-dogs/ Personally, I limit kibble in my dogs' diet. I do give them a little in the morning but I use a high quality brand and just give them a tablespoon or two. I make much of their food or sometimes I will buy from a subscription service. I can highly recommend Ollie's and The Farmer's Dog. I love that name Smudge by the way.

Shona

Friday 30th of October 2020

Great info here & pretty much right on point...!

Cathy

Friday 30th of October 2020

Thanks Shona!

Nancy Kay Benoit

Monday 19th of October 2020

Very true, I rescued my Chihuahua a day before she turned 10 - My Tobi died in my arms January 3, 2020, her heart gave out. I would love to rescue an other long coated Chihuahua around 8 yrs of age. I have checked into SPCA but they seem to only have large dogs, which I do not want.

Cathy

Monday 19th of October 2020

Ask for them to contact you if they get any chihuahuas. Ours will do that and call people on that list when they get them in.

Evelyn Wright

Monday 3rd of August 2020

My senior chihuahua is 14. She is in renal failure(BUN 103) the last time it was taken. Creatinine elevated but holding. She also has severe arthritis in her hips. I need tips on keeping her comfortable. I know she has pain from her whimpering and shaking. I can’t give her anything orally but I do keep an electric blanket for her the heat helps. I rescued her 4 years ago. She was an active dog until a year ago then she went into renal disease

Evelyn Wright

Saturday 24th of October 2020

Thank you Cathy. I met with the vet on September 18. I finally decided it was best to let her go. She was my first chi. She left a big impression in my heart.

Cathy

Monday 3rd of August 2020

I'm so sorry Evelyn. Have you asked your doctor for a prescription for pain killers? If you haven't, I would. Also some canine CBD oil may help with pain.

Loveyah

Friday 10th of July 2020

How do you get chihuahua to stop barking when guests come in and leave the house?

Cathy

Friday 10th of July 2020

You can train them but it takes a lot of work and consistency. We have an article on it here: https://ilovemychi.com/chihuahua-barking/ Your other options is to separate them to a different room or use a humane barking collar.