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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.

Ernestine Fance

Sunday 16th of January 2022

My Chihuahua is 11 yes old He has started peeing in the House 2 or 3 times a day He eats 3 meals a day but he is loosing weight.

Cathy

Sunday 16th of January 2022

I'm not a vet but those sound like symptoms of diabetes. Get him checked by a vet because it is treatable but left untreated is eventual death.

Katie

Sunday 16th of January 2022

I recently lost my Chi his name was Shawn, he was 16. Started with some tooth loss a few years back and some tumor growths and cataracts. I rescued him at age 1 from the spca and have had him since. Recent behavior changes the past few months increased barking and confusion. Sadly he passed on the 14th I came home to find him passed away, and tried to save him worked on him for an hour with cpr. I feel so much guilt from his passing as I feel he got left out in the cold too long which was an accident of course. Any suggestions on how I can better deal with the grief are welcome. I am waiting for his ashes to return to me for which I will make a shrine for him.

Katie

Monday 17th of January 2022

@Cathy, Thank you for the reply. THe guilt I feel is unimaginable. If i had just brought him in, if I had realized he was outside in the frigid temps he might still be here now. I feel like he suffered and thats what hurts.

Cathy

Sunday 16th of January 2022

I'm so sorry for your loss Katie! Unless he was showing signs of illness (like pneumonia) he probably didn't die from being left out. But I know what that guilt is like when losing a fur baby. We do have several posts on grief that may help some: https://ilovemychi.com/ways-to-cope-with-death-of-chihuahua/ https://ilovemychi.com/painless-death-but-heavy-heart-how-i-grieved-over-the-loss-of-my-dog/ https://ilovemychi.com/grieving-over-the-loss-of-a-pet/

Patsy G.

Saturday 15th of January 2022

I have recently taken on my elderly great grandmother in-laws 21 year old Chi. Scamp is a longhaired chi with a sassy temper .Scamper is mostly blind and a little hard of hearing . She enjoys her outside visits to the grassy areas in the yard wear she likes to waddle around sniffing. Like most seniors she also enjoys her daily naps on the carpet.Scamp goes to work everyday with her doggy brothers and sister , Skittle(female) is a 15 year old fawn chi and Boots( male) a 16 year old short-haired chi , and also Mr. Smith (male) a 5 year old Belgian Malinois. My best chi advice for owners would be to always take care of those little teeth!! Ms. Scamp has 18 teeth still grandma gave her lots of vitamins ! Boots has 2 teeth now and skittle has 7 . This could have saved me hundreds of dollars in vet bills but I was young and uninformed about dog dental disease.

Cathy

Sunday 16th of January 2022

Wow, that's amazing! Not only Scamp is 21 but she still has most of her teeth. Do you know what vitamins your great-grandma gave her? I give mine vitamins too but they are still too young to know how well they are working. So far they are all healthy with good teeth but the oldest is 8 and the youngest is 8 months.

Cathy Stranberg

Thursday 6th of January 2022

I have an 11 year old chihuahua cross with a pomeranian, he recently started being skittish , quite often ge will skittle just our of nowhere, is there a reason why he is all of a sudden being skittish?

Thanks

Cathy

Cathy

Thursday 6th of January 2022

He may be losing his eyesight and be scared by that or something else could have spooked him. I'd get him checked out by your vet.

Vilma

Monday 3rd of January 2022

Very interesting article . I have 2 Chihuahuas. Sid 10 this year and Avril 6... How old are they now on dog time ..

Cathy

Monday 3rd of January 2022

Sid would be about 56 and Avril would be 40.