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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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Christine Holmes

Thursday 4th of June 2020

Hi. My ?Bella? just turned 10 May 29th. She is the light of my life. Unable to have children I got my furbaby when she was only 8 weeks old and we've been inseparable ever since. I do have a question, you briefly touched on it in your article. Bella's only ever known one home and due to some health issues I've moved in with family. She doesn't seem to be adjusting well at all. Do you have any tips? I would appreciate it so much. Thank you! Christine Holmes ??

Cathy

Thursday 4th of June 2020

The only suggestions I have are probably ones you already do. Try to keep routines as much as the same as possible. Keep things around that are familiar to her and just give her extra love and cuddles. Eventually she will get used to the new place.

Donna

Thursday 23rd of April 2020

I have three seniors. Two fourteen year olds that were abandoned by owner (I was dog sitting for holidays eleven years ago, and owner never returned) and a 15+ year old male my mother adopted before her death. He is deaf, has dementia, is almost blind and follows me everywhere. I have to make sure to walk slowly so he can see me. I can't imagine life without them. Would have more dogs but my family intervened at six.

Cathy

Thursday 23rd of April 2020

You sound like a wonderful dog momma Donna. What a rotten thing for that pet sitting client to do to abandon the dogs like that!

David Blakeman

Wednesday 3rd of July 2019

I am a dog lover, I used to breed Great Danes, loved them but they don't live long. Could never figure out why anybody would want a barking rat. This changed 25 years ago, when I got Poo Bear, he became my heart. I now have a Long hair male "Spencer" he was left in a house I rented without food or water and a over weight female "Roo" who was a rescue from a puppy mill and dumped on the street when she was over bred. Spencer thinks he is a 400lb Rottweiler, Roo never met a meal she could pass up, she thinks that she is always ready to eat. Love them both.

Cathy

Wednesday 3rd of July 2019

The barking rat comment made me laugh David. So glad you "came to the dark side" and now know how special these little guys are. And I'm really glad you gave these little rescue pups a home.

Julia

Tuesday 18th of June 2019

This is my apple head tea cup tippy she just turned 18 on june 1rst. I have had her since birth. Love her so much

Cathy

Tuesday 18th of June 2019

Wow 18! Your photo didn't make it through Julia. It could be because it's too big.

Susan

Sunday 2nd of September 2018

I had my Rottweiler for 12 years before having to have him put to sleep. I have always felt it was too soon and still feel guilty that I didn’t wait longer,so when my darling chihuahua,Diesel, at age 15,began to waste away I did everything I could to keep him going. One day I realized I was being selfish. He had no quality of life anymore. I had waited too long and he was suffering. He was my best friend and,although I have his mate and 2 of their pups, I miss him so much. I had him longer than either of my husbands. He was so special.

Cathy

Sunday 2nd of September 2018

That's the hardest part of having dogs, isn't it? having to let them go after them being such a big part of our lives. And knowing when it's time to let go.