- How Long Does a Chihuahua Live?
- 9 Ways You’re Shortening Your Chihuahua’s Life – What to Avoid!
- ❎ Letting Your Chihuahua Become Overweight
- ❎ Neglecting Dental Hygiene
- ❎ Not Letting Your Chihuahua Exercise
- ❎ Exposing Your Chihuahua to Second-Hand Smoke
- ❎ Pushing Your Chihuahua too Hard
- ❎ Allowing Your Chihuahua to Roam Outside Unsupervised
- ❎ Not Socializing Your Chihuahua
- ❎ Not Neutering or Spaying Your Chihuahua
- ❎ Not Bringing Your Chihuahua to the Veterinarian
- How to Make Your Chihuahua Live Longer?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Words
No one wants to part with their chihuahuas too soon. While our chis’ lifespans are shorter than ours, it is possible to extend them! But how to make your chihuahua live longer? From making lifestyle changes to providing quality care — these can make your furry best friend stay by your side a bit longer. See how you can help make your chihuahua live longer and what you’re doing wrong!
How Long Does a Chihuahua Live?
Generally, a chihuahua can live between 12 and 18 years, but some can go for 20 years beyond. That means their average lifespan is a whopping 15 years! And this is impressive for a chihuahua’s small stature. But surprisingly, their tiny build is one of the many reasons they live for so long!
These tiny dogs can live for so long that they’re among the longest-living dog breeds. Their average age surpasses many dog breeds as most live an average of 12 years max! And that’s way below the chihuahua’s 15-year average life span.
But with closer attention and earnest care, these miniature dogs can live even longer. The oldest recorded chihuahua, “Megabyte,” is one of the many proofs — living beyond 20 years.
Here’s a more in-depth view of a chihuahua’s life cycle:
A chihuahua is born without senses, weighing around 5 ounces or less. At this stage, a chihuahua grows daily, gaining approximately 7% of its total body weight in mass. And this continually occurs for two weeks! By 6 to 7 weeks, your chihuahua should have developed all their senses and can move around alone.
But newborn chihuahuas still prefer to sleep most of their time during this period. And they love to nurse on their mom or eat when they’re not sleeping!
Once your chihuahua reaches two months onward, congratulations, you now have a puppy! At this stage, chi pups are incredibly active, curious, and growing. And at the end of three months, your chihuahua should have developed around 30% and 40% to its full size.
Young chihuahuas need more socialization and exposure as they’re naturally nervous dogs. It would be best if you made your chi get used to people and other animals to prevent them from becoming fearful and hesitant. So, help your chihuahua embrace its brave sides during their puppy years.
You can consider your chihuahua a fully-pledged adult once they reach one year! But many still consider chihuahuas “young,” up to 3 years old. Regardless, your chihuahua should’ve developed its unique personality at this point.
Aside from providing a healthy and balanced diet, it would be best if you also kept your chi active and happy. And don’t forget about dental hygiene as well!
Once your chihuahua reaches 7 to 8, they’re officially seniors! Due to their small size and healthier demeanor, senior chihuahuas face fewer health problems than other breeds. But that doesn’t mean your chi won’t face medical issues! Senior chihuahuas still develop common conditions in older dogs, such as arthritis.
The older your chihuahua gets, the more attention you need to provide. And since senior chihuahuas can’t warm themselves as well as when they were younger, you need to keep them warm and comfortable! Whether through snuggles or a comfy sweater, keep your chihuahua warm.
9 Ways You’re Shortening Your Chihuahua’s Life – What to Avoid!
Before delving into how to make your chihuahua live longer, it pays to know what you’re doing wrong. No chihuahua owner is perfect. Still, it’s better to know what not to do to keep your chihuahua by your side for as long as possible. Here are nine ways you’re shortening your chihuahua’s lifespan:
❎ Letting Your Chihuahua Become Overweight
Chihuahua owners often don’t know that their tiny dogs don’t process or break down food as fast as people. Hence, many tend to overfeed their chihuahuas. And as cute as a chunky chihuahua is, it’s not the healthiest. Overfeeding your chihuahua can shorten its lifespan for years!
Limit the amount of “human” food you provide to your chihuahua. And monitor your chihuahua’s intake of kibble and regular wet dog food. Aside from that, help your chihuahua become more active,
Increase your chi’s exercise routine, even if that’s only adding a 15-minute walk daily. These are excellent ways to stop your chihuahua from succumbing to obesity. But if you have a chunky chihuahua and the weight isn’t coming off, consult a vet ASAP! The earlier you address weight issues, the better it is for your chi.
Remember, preventive measures are better than treatment. So, be proactive and keep your chihuahua at a healthy weight for them to live longer.
❎ Neglecting Dental Hygiene
Many chihuahua owners neglect their dog’s dental hygiene. And unfortunately, periodontal or gum disease is quite common in these tiny dogs. It happens when too much bacteria and plaque collect in a chihuahua’s mouth. And though this dental condition is not fatal alone, it can cause many debilitating health issues. These include cardiovascular valve issues and kidney infections.
So, if you can, brush your chihuahua’s teeth, no matter how challenging it is! But despite what people say, scrubbing a chihuahua’s teeth is not too difficult. The task should be a breeze if you have the proper tools.
Giving your chihuahua chew toys or dental bones is ideal if you can’t commit to brushing their teeth. Although they won’t clean your chi’s canines, they can help reduce plaque and cavities. But the best way to maintain your chi’s dental hygiene is to bring them to the vet for professional cleaning at least once a year!
❎ Not Letting Your Chihuahua Exercise
Chihuahua owners often neglect exercising their dogs as they think they’re too fragile. But that’s far from the truth as chihuahuas are solid and healthy dogs. So, try to bring your chihuahua for regular daily walks or at least play with them at home. Exercising won’t only keep the excess pounds off, but it’s also excellent mental stimulation for your chi!
Moreover, keeping your chihuahua’s fitness routine provides a healthy way of expelling energy. I recommend finding an activity you and your chihuahua can enjoy and adding that to your routine. But if you can’t spare time to drive your chihuahua to the doggy park or walk them daily, mix it up.
One day you can bring your chihuahua for walks around the neighborhood. And next, you can play at home. Keep things fresh and exciting by mixing your daily routine!
❎ Exposing Your Chihuahua to Second-Hand Smoke
Like people, a chihuahua’s lungs can’t withstand smoke. Exposing your chi to second-hand smoke can be detrimental to them. Prolonged exposure can lead to many ailments, including cancer and respiratory issues. Ideally, it’s best to stop smoking yourself.
But if breaking your smoking habit is beyond your capability now, at least do it away from your chihuahua. For instance, you can keep your chi indoors while you go out to the yard to have a puff.
❎ Pushing Your Chihuahua too Hard
Like other toy dog breeds, Chihuahuas have more specific exercise needs than others. For example, exercising in the heat can be detrimental for a chihuahua, so it’s not encouraged. It can be tricky to determine what’s too much for your chi and what isn’t. I recommend speaking to your chihuahua’s vet for a more accurate overview.
But if your chihuahua tells you you’re overdoing their workout, listen! Here are it’s time to stop pushing your chihuahua too hard and let them rest ASAP:
- Excess panting
- Sudden fainting during exercise
- Overall lethargic behavior
❎ Allowing Your Chihuahua to Roam Outside Unsupervised
Letting your chihuahua go outside without supervision is never a good idea. After all, these tiny dogs can easily slip through your vision and escape! You’re opening the door to a world of many tragedies for your chihuahua at this point. Traffic, predators, or dangerous humans are all bad news for your chihuahua.
So, never let your chihuahua roam outdoors without supervision, even if they’re microchipped or have a tag. I recommend leashing your chihuahua whenever outside and always keeping an eye on them.
❎ Not Socializing Your Chihuahua
Chihuahuas who haven’t been able to socialize with people and other animals are prone to mental illnesses. Unsocialized chihuahuas can develop anxiety and other fear-related problems. Or worse, these tiny dogs can develop dermatologic issues due to extreme stress. So, you can see why this can shorten your chihuahua’s life span!
A chihuahua without human or animal interaction, fun, or playtime can develop depression. So, while your chihuahua is young, please bring them to doggy parks or puppy meet-ups. Or let your chi stop and greet other pets while out for a walk. Either way, expose your chihuahua to others, and it’ll be happier and healthier over time.
❎ Not Neutering or Spaying Your Chihuahua
Not neutering or spaying your chihuahua can be detrimental to their health. These are some of the best ways to reduce cancer risk and behavioral issues in chihuahuas. Moreover, each heat cycle female chihuahuas face makes them more susceptible to mammary cancer. And male chihuahuas are likely to develop prostate-related problems over time.
I recommend having your chihuahua spayed or neutered while young.
❎ Not Bringing Your Chihuahua to the Veterinarian
Although it can be a hassle for many chihuahua owners to bring their dog to the vet, it’s worth it. After all, not only can it help you detect possible issues early, but it may also save your dog’s life! By bringing your chihuahua to the vet annually, you’re already improving their lifespan!
After all, even if your chi is behaving, as usual, something might be happening inside! And when it comes to these tiny dogs’ health, you need to race with time. That’s because, in some cases, even vets won’t be able to help your chihuahua once they show symptoms. However, if you can provide treatment early, not only are you saving your chihuahua’s life, but you’re also improving their quantity of life!
I recommend bringing your chihuahua for yearly or bi-annual physical exams, especially if they’re over seven years old! Meanwhile, if your chihuahua has preexisting conditions, ask for annual blood work to see if they have progressed or not. And most importantly, always keep your chihuahua’s vaccines up-to-date!
How to Make Your Chihuahua Live Longer?
Now you know what not to do to shorten your chihuahua’s lifespan; it’s time to learn how to make it live longer. Here are six proven ways to help your chi stay by your side a bit longer:
✅ Be More Attentive to Your Chihuahua
As your chihuahua ages, it makes sense to pay more attention to them. After all, the older your chihuahua gets, the more changes they’ll have to face! And as the owner, you must monitor these and adjust your behavior toward your chihuahua. Sometimes, you may also need to spruce up your layout to make it safer for your chihuahua.
Here are the most crucial changes you need to pay attention to for your chihuahua:
- Eyesight. A chihuahua’s vision can drastically change once they reach its senior years. These dogs may find navigating their environment challenging as they age. I suggest keeping your home layout consistent and intact to make it safer for your chi.
- Brain (Mind). Older chihuahuas can suffer from cognitive decline, especially once passing the 10-year mark! I recommend keeping your chihuahua’s mind active while young till their senior years. Whether through puzzle toys or dog TV, make an effort to keep your chi mentally stimulated.
- Hearing. Like other dog breeds, older chihuahuas tend to have a poorer hearing. Although not life-threatening on its own, this can lead to many accidents. So, keep an eye out for your chihuahua, especially in dangerous areas like the staircase or outside.
- Mobility. The older your chihuahua gets, the worse its mobility will be. So, modify your house to make it more manageable for your chi to explore. For instance, lay down carpets on wooden or titled floors as older paws tend to be clumsy and slip a lot!
Adapting to these changes won’t only make it safer for your chihuahua, but they can also improve their quality and quantity of life!
✅ Help Your Chihuahua Maintain a Well-Balanced Diet
A surefire way to help your chihuahua live longer is by giving them a healthy diet. Feeding a well-balanced diet to a chihuahua is essential to maintaining optimal health. And with that comes extended longevity for your furry best friend!
Overfeeding your chihuahua can lead to many risks, such as the following:
- Heart issues
- Joint problems
- Difficulty breathing
- Shorten lifespan
Aside from that, packing extra weight for such tiny bodies can strain your chihuahua’s muscles, joints, tendons, and heart! And the added adipose (fat tissue) can worsen inflammation in the body. As a result, not only will a poor diet shorten your chihuahua’s lifespan, but it can also cause a lot of pain.
You consider your chihuahua as “overweight” once it goes beyond 10% to 20% of the average body weight. Meanwhile, going over 20% means your chihuahua is obese.
Chihuahuas are omnivores, meaning they can eat meat and plants. So, diversify their diet to keep things fresh and exciting for your chi. Feeding your chihuahua natural foods like boiled chicken or turkey ensures you’re providing your dog healthy meals as you know what’s going into the dishes.
But when looking for the best commercial dog foods for chihuahuas, here’s what you need to keep in mind:
You can be confident you’re giving the highest quality food to your chihuahua by looking for the AAFCO’s seal of approval. This company ensures that commercial dog foods follow strict dietary guidelines for different dog breeds. With this, you’ll know you’re giving your chi food the highest standards and has all the nutrition it needs.
If you’re a seasoned chihuahua owner, you know how crucial ingredients order is in dog food. The top three are the base or main ingredients of the recipe. So, ensure these consist of real meat or veggies to help your chi live longer!
When checking for the meat ingredients, ensure these list as single proteins. It shouldn’t say “chicken meal,” “by-product,” “beef dinner for dogs,” or “chicken flavor.” After all, these labels mean manufacturers are using modified proteins, not the meat themselves!
Avoid “with” labels
If you see the word “with” on dog food, like “with REAL chicken,” the dog food only has 1% to 3% of the ingredient. I recommend avoiding all products with “with” labels.
These crucial nutrients help in joint issues and coat and skin health. You can prevent the onset of these problems by giving your chihuahua dog food with omega-3 or -6 fatty acids.
Besides knowing what to get for your chihuahua, you must be strict with portions. Many chi owners tend to overfeed the tiny dogs, making them prone to obesity and heart problems. So, reduce the serving unless the food indicates it’s been formulated for chihuahuas. After all, food packaging serving recommendations are based on mature and non-spayed or non-neutered dogs.
Those canines have a higher and faster metabolism than chihuahuas. Hence, they can eat more calories and burn them off while your chihuahua can’t likely keep up. So, consult your chi’s vet instead of relying on what these manufacturers say! After all, there’s no other person who knows your chihuahua best.
A vet can help you determine the perfect amount to feed your chihuahua based on its diet, age, activity levels, and lifestyle.
✅ Ensure Your Chihuahua Stays Physically and Mentally Active
Keeping your chihuahua active physically and mentally can help prolong its lifespan indefinitely. Although there’s no age limit to exercising for chihuahuas, starting during puppyhood is better. So, I recommend adding appropriate exercises to your chi’s daily routine while young. But you can also make older chis do conditioning and stretching exercises to stay fit.
But as mentioned earlier, pushing your chihuahua too hard is never a good idea. So, before you make your chihuahua exercise, know their limits. Generally, older chihuahuas won’t be as strong and athletic as younger chis. Still, that doesn’t mean you can push your young chihuahuas too hard! Know when to tell your dog to slow down.
Aside from staying physically active, mental stimulation is also essential for chihuahuas. Challenging your chi’s minds, keep their brains busy and sharp! I recommend investing in a puzzle toy to keep your chihuahua engaged and thinking.
✅ Never Forget About Dental Care
Many chihuahua owners neglect their chi’s dental hygiene, which isn’t the best idea if you want your dog to live longer. A chihuahua’s teeth and gums are the secret pathways diseases can infiltrate your chi’s body. Nasty bacteria and other illnesses might be already wreaking havoc inside your chihuahua without you even knowing!
A common dental-related disease in chihuahuas is periodontal disease. It’s where bacteria plaguing your chihuahua’s teeth get into the bloodstream. And this eventually leads to inflammation in the heart, kidney, and liver. These are often irreversible damages that prove to be fatal in chihuahuas. So, be proactive and keep your chihuahua’s dental hygiene in check!
I recommend regularly brushing your chihuahua’s teeth daily. But if not possible, at least do it thrice a week. Doing so reduces tartar build-up, reducing the risk of gum disease. But if you’re not keen on scrubbing your chi’s canines, you can always opt for professional dental cleanings at the vet! You can do that annually or bi-annually.
Besides that, I suggest buying chew toys or dental chews for your chihuahua. Not only are these exciting treats, but they can also fend off dental diseases!
✅ Give Your Chihuahua Supplements
Preventing the onset of illnesses will always be better than looking for a cure or treatment. And what better way to make your chihuahua live longer than by giving supplements? These are excellent health boosters that can stave off debilitating conditions in chihuahuas.
Here are the top supplements that can make your chihuahua live longer:
- Omega fatty acids. These can reduce inflammation and joint pain in chihuahuas as they age. You can find these in commercially-made supplements for dogs or with sardines or fish oil.
- Probiotics. These are good bacteria that aid digestion and help make your chi live longer! After all, gut bacteria in chis tend to decrease as they age. So, it’s straightforward why you should supplement it to your chihuahua. Aside from commercially-made probiotic supplements, you can give your chihuahua all-natural yogurt or kefir.
- Antioxidants. These can eliminate the free radicals causing your chihuahua to age. I recommend supplementing antioxidants through raw veggies or fruits.
- Glucosamine. Slow your chihuahua’s aging with glucosamine. These reduce joint inflammation, keeping your chi pain-free and healthy as they age. You can supplement glucosamine via raw meat products like chicken feet or beef tail.
Before giving your chihuahua any of these supplements to help them live longer, consult the vet first! After all, your chihuahua might be allergic to them!
✅ Bring Your Chihuahua to Regular Veterinary Visits
Finally, one of the best ways to make your chihuahua live longer is by bringing them to the vet often. I recommend getting your chi and visiting the vet at least annually. But as your chihuahua ages, double this to bi-annual checkups! These include physical exams and, sometimes, blood work.
Having the vet check your chi from snout to tail ensures everything’s going well. And if there is something wrong with your chihuahua, you’ll be able to discover and address it ASAP! With this, you can spot abnormalities before they become more debilitating!
Best of all, discovering health issues early on can help you do preventive measures for your chihuahua better. As a result, you’ll be able to let your chihuahua live longer.
Determine a baseline of what’s typical for your chihuahua. Doing so helps you know when your chihuahua is acting abnormal and might have something. And not only can this warn you early, but it can also benefit your vet! So, you can see why having regular checkups with the vet is essential for these tiny dogs.
So, even if something doesn’t seem off with your chihuahua, make it a habit to bring them to regular vet visits.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why does a chihuahua live longer than other dog breeds?
A: Although there’s no solid reason why chihuahuas live for so long, many say it’s because the breed isn’t prone to debilitating illnesses. Generally, these tiny dogs can live between 15 and 20 years. The longest-living chihuahua lived up to 20 years old. So, chi owners don’t need to worry about these tiny dogs leaving their side for a while!
Q: How to make your chihuahua live longer than the expected lifespan?
A: A surefire way to extend your chihuahua’s lifespan is by feeding them a healthy and balanced diet. Moreover, keeping your chi active physically and mentally is also essential. But most importantly, chi owners must ensure they bring their dogs to regular vet visits! Doing all these and committing to them throughout your chihuahua’s life is enough to extend their lifespan.
Q: What foods can make a chihuahua live longer?
A: Whole, unprocessed, and natural foods can help your chihuahua live longer than usual. They should be free from artificial ingredients, preservatives, or toxic chemicals. I recommend adding leafy greens or quality freeze-dried food to your chihuahua’s regular meals.
Q: What shortens a chihuahua’s life span?
A: The most common mistakes chi owners make that shorten the dog’s lifespan are giving their chihuahuas unhealthy and unbalanced diets, not keeping them active, and skipping vet visits. And one practice that many chihuahua owners do is failing to keep up with their dog’s vaccines. This negligence can be dangerous for their chihuahua and the people surrounding them.
Q: How to know my chihuahua is dying?
A: As morbid as this may sound, the most obvious sign a chihuahua is dying is a relaxed body. Your chihuahua may no longer look tense. Instead, they’ll look like they’re letting go. Aside from that, you may also see rapid slimming of your chi’s body. That happens due to the expelled air from the dog’s lungs for the last time. And finally, you may see the lack of life in your chihuahua’s eyes if they’re still open.
The only downside of owning a chihuahua is that they often leave us too soon. Luckily, your search on how to make your chihuahua live longer led you to this guide. Follow these common-sense tips, and your chihuahua can stay by your side for a long time! So, be proactive and pay attention. Every cent and effort is worth it if it means your furry best friend can stay by your a second longer.
Here at ILoveChihuahua, we share our personal experiences as owners of this feisty breed. We talk about recommended methods, dog supplies picks, and advice on common Chihuahua problems. Our goal is to promote responsible dog ownership, so there would be fewer Chihuahuas in shelters.