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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.

Sunday 10th of October 2021

I have a 15 yr old Chi who weighs 3 lbs. He was diagnosed over a year ago with early signs of kidney disease. Recent tests show encouraging better numbers. He is now having to go pee and sometimes poop at least once an hour....round the clock.he can't get off my bed alone. He wakes me with a bark and I take him to the potty pad. He eats like a champ and drinks fine, not excessive like he used to. I am getting hardly any sleep. Anyone know why he is doing this and is there anything to help it? Mama needs sleep.


Sunday 10th of October 2021

Older dogs (like older people) tend to not be able to hold it very long so that may be causing some of that. Or it could be the kidneys are a little damaged and causing him to need to go more. Do you have steps he could use to get down from the bed? I have them and they are sleep savers for sure! You may need to train him to use them but it's fairly easy to do.

Mary L Stanhope

Tuesday 21st of September 2021

My beautiuful little girl Muffin died September 3, 2021 from congestive heart failure. She was the cutest sweetest most loyal loving little friend to me. I took her everywhere with me for 13 years and also to work with me daily. Bike riding, I'd put her in my handlebar basket...kayaking......walks... shopping...parks ... she laid on my chest at dentist appointments... Dr's appointments... car rides... trips...or just snuggling at home. Anywhere I go I can see her ..I literally see her then poof she's not there and it's the hardest thing to even try to accept or adjust to. There's a huge void in my heart and in my every day life now. 😞😣😖🥺😭 I love you muffin I miss you so much


Tuesday 21st of September 2021

I'm so sorry Mary. I know how hard it is. They are such a big part of our lives and it's just heartbreaking when they leave us. I think it's as hard as when a family member dies (sometimes harder).


Tuesday 21st of September 2021

My boy is 14,and apart from a few lipomas and hearing loss recently is still enjoying life with a spring in his step. He has a stroller for longer walks and days out as you've mentioned in the article.. which I've found invaluable. He definitely needs his sleep if he overdoes it..and will be almost comatose the day after.!! Long live CHIHUAHUAS,top dogs.


Tuesday 21st of September 2021

It sounds like he's doing great Elena!


Thursday 16th of September 2021

When I rescued my mini chi, he was living in a cage and let out for 10 minutes a day so his owners could clean the messes up, that was also his only time to access food and water. He was 11 years old and now he soon will be 16 he had lost an eye earlier in life, and now is blind in his other eye, he has lost his hearing, but is still as happy as ever with his brothers and sisters(4 other senior dogs) that I kept from going to a shelter just because they were old. My other chi is a lively 12 year old full size chi, that was surrendered to me because she had a mild health issue. I don’t know what I will do when they are no longer with me, but I hope I made their lives better in their last years


Thursday 16th of September 2021

You are a wonderful person Elizabeth to give these fur babies a wonderful life in their last years! My heart breaks for all the dogs who are treated like your little guy.


Wednesday 25th of August 2021

Hi, I have two Applehead Chihuahuas! A brother and sister, they’re black and white and they will turn 9 in December. I inherited them from my parents when they went into the nursing home, however I’ve been in their life since the day my dad brought them home to my mom. I do have one question, are you supposed to cut the hair from their feet? My babies look like the grinch… LOL I never have even thought about it, but I do keep them brushed and they are everything you talk about in your articles! Love your website! Thanks, Jan


Wednesday 25th of August 2021

I don't think it's required but when I was a groomer, we always shaved the hair between their toes and between the foot pads and trimmed the hair around the paws. It keeps debris from getting caught up in there.