chihuahua health problems

Common Chihuahua Health Problems To Watch for

Chihuahuas are adorable and fun dogs, but like every dog breed, they have their share of problems. It’s important to do your research before adopting any animal, and it’s my hope that this article will help you to go into Chihuahua ownership armed with the correct information.

The Chihuahua is a particularly long-lived dog, and you can expect to enjoy the companionship of your new friend for as long as 20 years! However, look out for these ailments and contact your vet if you notice any symptoms.


Chihuahuas are, unfortunately, prone to disorders which impact their brains, spinal cord, and nerves. Epilepsy can be a common ailment for them, but it’s easily controlled with medication.

Dogs experiencing a seizure will be unresponsive, showing signs of convulsion, and could also foam at the mouth. These symptoms will likely pass momentarily, and you should take your pup to the vet as soon as possible to get them on a treatment regiment.

Hip Dysplasia

Typically seen in large breeds, whose bones grow too quickly, the Chihuahua also has this issue. However, for them it’s due to the fact that they have such tiny bodies that they can develop this issue from injuries when they are young. There are plenty of treatments available, but the surgery can be costly.

Prone To Injuries

While not specifically an ailment, Chihuahuas are small dogs. That means their bodies are, of course, more fragile. They can be easily injured doing mundane things like misjudging a jump, or even from playing with other household residents.

If you have other larger dogs, or even children, this could be a concern, and you should monitor play time. It’s easy for a small dog to be injured by larger playmates, even if they are not playing particularly rough.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

This is a condition that causes the photo-receptors at the back of the eye to degrade. Sadly, there is no cure for , and a dog diagnosed with this ailment will eventually go blind.

The good news is, that plenty of dogs live happy lives without vision. While they may be a bit clumsier, and you may have to work on some home adjustments, they will still be a healthy and happy companion otherwise.


Due to the small size of their bodies, Chihuahuas sometimes have difficulty regulating their blood sugar. Most toy breeds can have the possibility of this ailment, and it is treatable with proper veterinary care.

If you notice that your dog is constantly shivering, is losing hair, or doesn’t seem to have an appetite, then you should take them to your vet.

While it may seem a minor condition, it is not. Dogs that go untreated could experience organ failure, and they may slip into a coma and die.

Patellar Luxation

This is a condition that impacts your dog’s knees. Basically, it’s a disorder which causes continued dislocation. While normally this type of an issue is seen in larger dogs, Chihuahuas are particularly prone to it.

In some cases, it will be an infrequent occurrence of no real concern. However, more sever cases may require physical therapy or surgery to correct the condition.

Dental Issues

Chihuahuas have particularly bad teeth, and you may find that your pup is losing his or her chompers. One of the surest signs of tooth decay is bad breath, so if your dog could knock you down when they open their mouth, it’s time to see to their dental care.

Pups should go to the vet for regular cleanings, but it’s also important to do daily cleanings at home yourself. A few minutes spent brushing your dog’s teeth could save you hundreds or even thousands in vet bills.


This condition is often acquired as a puppy from the parents, but it can sometimes pop up later in life if your dog experiences a brain injury. It occurs when the animal has excessive amounts of spinal fluid in its brain.

Symptoms vary in severity, and in some cases it can be fatal. If your dog shows signs of excessive sleepiness, uncontrolled bowel movements, seizures, shaking, vomiting, or impaired learning ability, you should see your vet for treatment possibilities.

Heart Problems

Yet another common Chihuahua health problem which is normally common in larger dogs, heart issues. You likely won’t know about this unless your vet brings it up during a routine health check, but if it’s found that your dog has health problems, then you’ll need to make some changes. In most cases, your dog will be put on a special diet.

Collapsed Trachea

This condition stems from a weakened trachea. Normally, it occurs in older dogs, and it can make it difficult for them to breathe as the wind pipe collapses. Common signs of this issue are a “honking” like cough, harsh breathing, or coughing while eating or drinking.

You should use a harness rather than a collar on your Chihuahua for this reason, and avoid putting your dog into stressful situations, which can exasperate the condition. However, your vet may prescribe bronchodilator drugs for mild cases, or surgery for extreme cases.

In short, while small dogs are typically seen as “healthier”. This is not always the case for the Chihuahua. If you plan to adopt a dog of this breed, you should know what you’re getting into and be aware of the symptoms of a serious ailment or disease.

You might also consider picking up a pet insurance policy since the Chihuahua is a long-lived dog with many health issues. Make sure that it’s a policy that will favor an older dog. Some pet insurances will actually give your dog the boot if they get too old!

Leave a Comment