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Chihuahua Health: 10 Common Issues & Solutions (2024)

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chihuahua health issuesChihuahuas have been a popular breed for decades, but they can come with some potential health issues. From periodontal disease to tracheal collapse, it’s important to know the common Chihuahua health problems and what you can do about them.

In this article, we’ll look at 10 of the most frequent conditions seen in these feisty little dogs. These include hypoglycemia, patellar luxation, and chronic bronchitis. We’ll also provide solutions on how best to care for your pet if any of these conditions occur.

With proper attention and preventative measures, you can ensure that your Chihuahua stays healthy throughout its lifespan. This way, both of you will have many years together filled with joyous memories.

Key Takeaways

  • Brush teeth daily and get dental cleanings to prevent periodontal disease.
  • Monitor diet and exercise to prevent IVDD and patellar luxation.
  • Watch for symptoms of heart failure and monitor breathing for valvular disease and COPD.
  • Monitor for weakness and trembling to treat hypoglycemia promptly.

Common Health Issues for Chihuahuas

Common Health Issues for Chihuahuas
Chihuahuas are prone to a variety of health issues, and understanding these common problems can help you take steps to prevent them. Periodontal disease, intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), patellar luxation, valvular disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) or chronic bronchitis are some of the more frequent ailments affecting this breed.

Knowing what signs and symptoms to look for can ensure your Chihuahua lives a long and healthy life.

Periodontal Disease

Brushing your Chihuahua’s teeth daily is essential to prevent periodontal disease. Signs of gum inflammation, loose or missing teeth are clear signs of periodontal disease. Keep an eye on your pup’s teeth and gums for optimal health! Avoiding bacteria buildup in the mouth can help keep their pearly whites healthy for years to come.

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)

Be mindful of the signs and symptoms of Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) in your pup – it’s a life-threatening condition! IVDD affects the vertebral column, with milder forms often causing pain and a higher risk for developing liver issues.

Monitor diet, exercise levels, and watch out for spinal discomfort to protect against this serious ailment.

Patellar Luxation

Stay vigilant for signs of patellar luxation in your pup – it can cause pain and lameness if left untreated! This condition arises from the soft discs between individual vertebrae, often resulting in knee injuries or a sudden rupture.

Early detection is key to preventing long-term damage to your furry friend’s health. Monitor their activity levels and watch out for any discomfort around the joints.

Valvular Disease

Check for signs of valvular disease in your pup. It can cause heart failure, even death if left untreated.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), or Chronic Bronchitis

You should watch out for signs of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), or chronic bronchitis, in your pup as it could lead to life-threatening complications. To prevent this: 1) Ensure regular vet visits; 2) Avoid environmental irritants; 3) Provide a quality diet and nutrition; 4) Monitor activity level; 5) Check with the kennel club regarding small breed health issues.

COPD can manifest similarly to other heart diseases, so be aware of congestive heart failure symptoms, such as difficulty breathing and fatigue.


Hypoglycemia is a health problem that affects Chihuahuas and other small breeds. It can be caused by an underlying birth defect, inadequate nutrition, or a lack of food for extended periods of time. Symptoms include weakness, disorientation, and trembling as the body struggles to keep blood sugar levels stable.

Hypoglycemia must be treated at the right time in order to avoid extreme cases, which may lead to more serious consequences such as seizures or comas.

Causes Signs & Symptoms Treatment

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Regular vet visits are recommended for early detection and treatment of hypoglycemia in Chihuahuas. This allows potential problems to be identified quickly and managed accordingly before they worsen over time if left untreated.

By taking proactive steps like providing your pet with proper nutrition, along with mental stimulation through interactive toys or games, you can help ensure your Chihuahua lives a long, healthy life free from this potentially dangerous condition!

Tracheal Collapse

Tracheal Collapse
Tracheal collapse is an incredibly serious condition for Chihuahuas, and without swift treatment, it can be absolutely devastating. It’s a progressive disease that affects the trachea of small dogs like Chihuahuas and can cause breathing difficulties due to narrowing or collapsing of the airways.

If left untreated, this issue may lead to labored breathing as well as coughing fits, which could result in further complications over time.

Taking proactive steps, such as regular vet visits, is essential for detecting any respiratory issues your Chihuahua might have before they worsen. This will help keep them healthy and safe from harm caused by tracheal collapse.

Tooth and Gum Disease

Tooth and Gum Disease
Now, let’s take a look at tooth and gum disease in Chihuahuas. Periodontal disease can be quite serious for the tiny breed and is often caused by bacteria that build up on teeth over time.

To ensure good health for your Chihuahua, there are several methods of proper cleaning that should be undertaken regularly. These include brushing their pearly whites with canine-specific toothpaste or scheduling them for professional dental cleanings.

Doing this will provide your pet with a healthy life free from pain due to periodontal problems down the road.

Prevention through measures like these is always easier than working towards treatment after an issue has already occurred. So make sure you keep an eye out and don’t skip on those important trips to the vet! With just minimal effort each day, you can help secure years of joyous companionship between yourself and man’s best friend without having any fear about poor dental hygiene getting in the way.


Avoiding potential health problems is key to a long life with your pup, and hydrocephalus is one ailment that should be on your radar. This condition affects the fluid-filled cavities of the brain in small dog breeds like Chihuahuas, as listed by the American Kennel Club, and can cause various neurological issues if left untreated.

Common symptoms include seizures, difficulty walking or standing up straight, blindness, depression, or changes in behavior. If you suspect any signs of this illness, then it’s important to take them to get checked out right away at their vet.

Proper diagnosis will help determine what type of treatment plan may need to be put into place for them, depending on the severity level.

The good news is that there are steps owners can take, such as providing mental stimulation through interactive toys/games, which could potentially improve life expectancy if caught early enough! Hydrocephaly remains one of the leading causes of death among these tiny but resilient creatures, so make sure you stay vigilant when it comes to monitoring their overall health status regularly, just like any other pet family member would do too!

Spinal Injuries

Spinal Injuries
Spinal injuries can be a major cause of death for Chihuahuas, so it’s important to make sure your pup is not engaging in activities that could increase their risk. Provide ramps or stairs when necessary and avoid temperature extremes, which may lead to joint pain or injury.

To keep your pet safe:

  • Monitor the dog’s vertebral column for any unusual bumps, curves, or signs of wear and tear.
  • Consult Matthew Wheaton’s notes on veterinary science-related safety tips.
  • Promote normal life activities like walks and playtime while avoiding risky behavior.

It is always best practice to assume potential threats are lurking around every corner and take steps towards protecting one’s four-legged friend from them before they become an issue.


You can help keep your pup healthy by avoiding obesity through measured feeding and regular exercise. Annual vet visits are essential to monitor any changes in weight or coat condition as Chihuahuas tend to be one of the most popular dog breeds.

Obesity can lead to many health issues such as heart disease, joint pain, and respiratory problems. It’s important to stay on top of your pet’s nutrition needs. Look out for signs such as excessive panting or difficulty breathing when exercising.

Bladder and Kidney Stones

Bladder and Kidney Stones
Be aware that bladder and kidney stones are common health concerns for Chihuahuas, with nearly half of all cases occurring in these extra-small dog breeds. As the disease progresses, your pup may experience difficulty urinating or frequent bladder movements due to blockages.

Signs of infection, such as bad breath and red gums, can also indicate periodontal disease if left untreated.

To keep your furry friend healthy, make sure they have regular checkups with their vet to catch any potential issues early on! Additionally, be mindful of their diet – a quality food is essential for maintaining a healthy weight, which will help reduce the risk of developing this condition further down the road.


Scleritis is an often overlooked condition in small dogs, and Chihuahuas are no exception. It can cause inflammation of the eye tissues, leading to redness, pain, and decreased vision. Symptoms like puffy gums or bleeding from your pup’s mouth may indicate a more serious issue.

To prevent this disease, schedule regular six-month cleanings for your adult Chihuahua. Monitor their weight closely as obesity increases risk factors. Make sure they get enough mental stimulation with interactive toys or games so they stay active without becoming bored.

Early detection is key when it comes to scleritis. If you notice any signs of infection such as bad breath or red gums, contact your vet right away! With proper care and monitoring by both you and the veterinarian, this condition can be managed successfully throughout the life of your four-legged friend!

Reverse Sneezing

Reverse Sneezing
Strive for prevention rather than cure. Reverse sneezing is a common Chihuahua ailment that requires attention. This condition occurs due to irritation of the soft palate and can range from mild to severe cases.

A typical symptom includes your pup making honking or snorting sounds as they try to clear their airways.


  • Brush teeth daily with a finger brush and quality toothpaste
  • Schedule annual dental cleanings at the vet’s office


  • Avoid obesity through measured feeding
  • Regular nail trimming
  • Proper dental care prevents infections
  • Steam inhalation therapy in more severe cases
  • Medications may be prescribed if infection is present

Reverse sneezing often indicates periodontal disease, so look out for bleeding gums and bad breath as signs of possible infection. If you notice any unusual symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately! They’ll provide guidance on how best to treat the issue while keeping costs down.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the average lifespan of a Chihuahua?

The average lifespan of a Chihuahua is 15 to 17 years, with some living up to Proper dental care and avoiding obesity are key to maintaining health and increasing longevity.

How much exercise does a Chihuahua need daily?

Chihuahuas need at least 30 minutes of exercise daily to stay healthy. Keeping them active helps prevent obesity and joint injuries, so make sure to provide plenty of opportunities for playtime!

How should I socialize and train my Chihuahua?

Socialize your Chihuahua by providing positive reinforcement, rewards, and gentle guidance.

How can I prevent my Chihuahua from becoming overweight?

Feed your Chihuahua measured portions of healthy food, avoid treats and snacks, ensure they get regular exercise – 30 minutes daily. Keep an eye on their weight, with regular check-ups to prevent obesity and its risks.

What type of clothing should I have for my Chihuahua in cold weather?

Chihuahuas typically have a lifespan of 15-20 years, so investing in warm clothing is essential for cold weather. Look for sweaters, vests, and coats made with breathable materials to keep your pup safe and comfortable.


No two Chihuahuas are the same, but they all share common health issues. From periodontal disease to valvular disease, it’s important to stay on top of your pup’s health so that you can tackle issues before they become serious.

As the old saying goes, An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. With regular vet visits and proper nutrition, you can help your Chihuahua live a long and healthy life. Take the initiative to research common health issues and their treatments, so you can be prepared in case your Chihuahua has any of these common health issues.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief with a team of qualified veterinarians, their goal? Simple. Break the jargon and help you make the right decisions for your furry four-legged friends.