I think no matter what kind of dog you have you should be aware of any health problems that they could have throughout their lives. In this article I will be focusing on chihuahua health concerns. I will list some of the more common problems that are seen in this breed.
Here is a few interesting facts about Chihuahuas. Life expectancy is between 14 and 18 years. The record holder for the chihuahua who lived the longest is 20 years. These dogs usually have one to three puppies a litter, but can have up to six. Most of them should be six pounds or under. But there are some that get much bigger than that.
One of the most common chihuahua health concerns is dental problems. Dogs with small mouth can have overcrowded teeth; which can cause food to get trapped between the teeth. This can cause tooth decay and gum disease, which can lead to bigger health issues later on. It also causes them to have very bad breath. I know about this personally having several chihuahuas. They love to give stinky kisses.
Here are some things you can do to help with this problem:
- Brushing your dog’s teeth regularly or try using a tooth wipe can help. I have found this could be difficult to do. Some chihuahuas will let you and others refuse.
- Another method that could help would be to try dental treats or chews. These can help remove plaque and some dogs really like them.
- The last option would be to take your pet to vet for routine cleanings.
Low Blood Sugar
Being a small breed dog, they are prone to low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Sometimes they run off more energy than their little bodies can restore. If, a dog is not eating enough to match the calories he/she is running off this can occur. This is more common in dogs six pounds and under. I have had an experience with this in one of my dogs. It can be scary if you do not know what is happening. Thankful it has only happened a couple of times. These are some of the warning signs:
- When standing or sitting they may be wobbly
- Trouble lifting the head while laying down
- Glassy or starry eyes
- Disoriented or seem to be confused
Some things you can do to help. Feed the dog something sweet; about a teaspoon of honey, Karo syrup, or anything that is soft or in liquid form that is sugary. If, dog is disoriented or refuse to eat it, put some on the gums. Once, the dog starts coming around it should eat the rest on its own. If, a dog becomes unconscious or starts having a seizure seek medical attention immediately.
Reverse sneezing is a common respiratory issue in dogs; small breeds are more prone to it than the larger dogs. When this occurs, your pet may sound like they are choking or make the sound of a cat trying to cough up a hairball. The dog will stand with his/her elbows apart, eyes may bulge, head extend while making a snorting noise. This should only last for a few seconds to a minute. Some things that can cause it is:
- Household cleaning products
- The collar is to tight; this is a common one. If you have had a dog to pull to tight on a leash and it seems to be choking; this is the sound they make.
Reverse sneezing rarely needs to be treated. Once, an episode is over your pet should go back to its normal routine. If, your pet has been doing this try to pay attention when he/she does it. You may be able to find what is triggering it and help lessen the episodes. If this seems to become a chronic issue, you may want to consult a vet. If you can get a video of your dog’s reverse sneezing it can help the vet to determine if there may be something else more serious going on or if your suspicion is correct.
Heart Disease is when the blood flow does not move through the heart properly. This can affect one or both sides of the heart. Heart disease usually comes on slowly and can go undetected for quite some time. Some dogs are born with a heart defect. Other ways it can occur is old age, injury or an infection. These are the early warning signs:
- Coughing (during or after exercise, or around bedtime)
- Having difficulty breathing
- Get tired easily
- Has a hard time settling down before bed
As the disease gets worse you may notice:
- Fluid build up in the belly, making him/her look overweight
- The tongue or gums could start to look a bluish gray due to poor oxygen levels
- Weight loss
The vet may want to run some test. Which may include a chest x-ray or ultrasound. After, you have a diagnosis your dog may be put on medication. Some of these are:
- Medicines to help correct the heartbeat if it is irregular
- Medicines for fluid; to help keep fluid from building up in the lungs
I have tried to cover some of the most common health concerns that may occur with your chihuahua. This is all based on the research I have done and the things I have experienced with my own pets. I am not a vet and cannot legally give you medical advice. If, your pet is showing symptoms that you are concerned about please seek professional advice.
I hope that you do ont ever have to be concerned with these health problems. For most of us our pets are just as important to us as our own family. And when they have medical problems come up we worry about them as much as we do our own children. I have had the privilege of enjoying mine for eleven years now. I hope that you also get to enjoy your chihuahua for many years. They are such a loving breed.