What Do Chihuahuas Usually Die From – #3 Will Shock You

What Do Chihuahuas Usually Die From

Do you want to know what do chihuahuas usually die from? and What is the main cause of death for Chihuahuas?

The facts will shock you……

According to experts, heart disease is the main cause of death for Chihuahuas. Chihuahuas are genetically predisposed to valvular disease, which ultimately leads to congestive heart failure. Valve deterioration causes 75% of heart disease in Chihuahuas. Trauma, liver disease, hypoglycemia, respiratory problems, and cancer are also common causes of death in Chihuahuas.

Chihuahuas are the smallest dog breed and can live between 12-20 years.

Like all dogs, Chihuahuas are prone to certain health conditions that can shorten their lifespan if left untreated.

Here we will discuss the most common causes of death in Chihuahuas and steps owners can take to help their dog live a long and healthy life.

What Do Chihuahuas Usually Die From

What Do Chihuahuas Usually Die From

The most common causes of death in Chihuahuas are:

Old Age

Chihuahuas can simply die of old age once they pass their average lifespan of 15-20 years. Healthy Chihuahuas who receive proper care and nutrition through their senior years can live up to 18-22 years.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is the most common acquired cause of death in Chihuahuas, usually starting in dogs over 10 years old. The mitral valve thickens and prevents proper blood flow, leading to congestive heart failure if left untreated. Symptoms include coughing, trouble breathing, fatigue and weight loss.

Medications can help manage the condition, but surgery or transplantation may ultimately be needed in severe cases. Annual vet checks and heart health supplements can also help detect heart disease early.


Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) is one of the most common causes of death in Chihuahua puppies under 3 months old. Their small size makes them prone to drops in blood sugar if meals are skipped or delayed. Symptoms include lethargy, seizures and loss of consciousness.

Feeding a high-protein puppy food in 3-4 small meals a day and avoiding rigorous exercise after eating can prevent hypoglycemia. Having nutritional gel or syrup on hand to rub on gums can save a puppy’s life.


Traumatic injuries are a common cause of untimely death in Chihuahuas due to their small, fragile bones and tendency to shiver when stressed or frightened. Being stepped on, dropped, attacked by larger animals or getting hit by a car can result in life-threatening injuries.


Carrying excess weight puts additional strain on the heart, joints and vital organs. Obese Chihuahuas are more prone to heart and respiratory disease, diabetes, arthritis and other conditions that can shorten their lifespan.

Keeping your Chihuahua at a healthy weight through proper diet and exercise is key to avoiding obesity-related diseases.


Cancer is a leading cause of death in older dogs, especially breeds like Chihuahuas who live into their late teens. Some common cancers in Chihuahuas include osteosarcoma (bone cancer), hemangiosarcoma (blood vessel tumors) and mast cell tumors on the skin.

Early detection through annual vet exams gives the best chance for successful treatment. Common signs of cancer include lumps, swelling, difficulty eating and breathing, limping or changes in bathroom habits.

Common Health Issues in Chihuahuas

Chihuahuas are prone to a number of genetic and acquired health conditions due to their small size and anatomy. Some of the common chihuahua illnesses problems in the breed include:

  • Heart Disease – Chihuahuas are prone to mitral valve disease where the mitral valve in the heart deteriorates, leading to heart failure. This is one of the most common causes of death in older Chihuahuas.
  • Hypoglycemia – Low blood sugar. Chihuahua puppies can be prone to this if they miss a meal.
  • Collapsing Trachea – Weakened windpipe that can collapse and block airways. Caused by a genetic defect in cartilage.
  • Dental Disease – Overcrowding and misalignment of teeth can cause dental problems.
  • Luxating Patella – Dislocated kneecap. Common in small breed dogs. Caused by a shallow groove for the kneecap to slide in.

Proper nutrition, exercise, regular vet checks and cleaning teeth can help minimize these health risks. However, some congenital conditions cannot be prevented.

How Long Do Chihuahuas Normally Live?

The average lifespan for Chihuahuas is:

  • 15-20 years for a healthy Chihuahua with proper care
  • 12-16 years for Chihuahuas from a puppy mill or without regular vet care
  • 5-10 years for Chihuahuas with chronic untreated health conditions

The current record for the longest living Chihuahua is 21 years and 265 days. Chihuahuas are considered a long-lived breed, but their lifespan depends on receiving proper healthcare.

How to Help Your Chihuahua Live a Long Life

Chihuahua owners can help increase their dog’s chances of reaching a ripe old age through the following measures:

  • Annual vet exams & preventative care – Detect any health issues early before they become life-threatening. Keep up with vaccines, heartworm prevention and dental cleanings.
  • Proper nutrition – Feed an age-appropriate high-quality dog food. Avoid obesity and nutritional deficiencies.
  • Exercise – Low-impact exercise like short walks avoids joint stress while maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Comfortable environment – Provide a soft bed, sweaters/heating pad to maintain body temperature and avoid stress.
  • Mental stimulation – Games, training and social interaction keep the brain active.
  • Safety precautions – Use a harness instead of a collar, keep indoors in harsh weather, supervise around larger pets.
  • Regular grooming – Helps avoid dental, skin and coat problems that can lead to infection or disease.

With attentive lifetime care, regular vet checkups and a bit of luck in the genetic lottery, a Chihuahua can live well into its late teens or early 20s. While some conditions are unavoidable, diligent owners can stack the odds in their Chihuahua’s favor for a long and fulfilling life.

Symptoms of Illness in Chihuahuas

There are several common symptoms to watch for when a chihuahua is sick. Respiratory symptoms include coughing, wheezing, labored breathing and nasal discharge. Gastrointestinal symptoms involve vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite and weight loss.

Behavioral changes like lethargy, hiding, shaking and irritability can also indicate illness. Physical changes to look for are eye discharge, skin irritation, hair loss, limping and difficulty standing.

Some emergency symptoms that require urgent veterinary care are seizures, unconsciousness, extreme lethargy, difficulty breathing and profuse bleeding.

If your chihuahua shows any concerning symptoms or does not improve within 24 hours, call your veterinarian. For emergency symptoms, seek immediate medical attention. While waiting for the vet, keep the chihuahua warm, calm and hydrated.

Avoid food for vomiting or diarrhea until symptoms start to resolve. Closely monitor breathing and alertness. Comfort your chihuahua and minimize stress. Follow all medical advice from the vet.

Catching illnesses early and getting prompt treatment gives the best chance for recovery in small dogs like chihuahuas. Know your dog’s normal behavior so you can recognize when they are under the weather and need medical help.

Questions for Chihuahua Owners

Here are some common questions Chihuahua owners may have about the lifespan and health of their beloved pets:

How long is the average lifespan of a Chihuahua?

The average lifespan is 15-20 years with proper veterinary care, nutrition and exercise. Some Chihuahuas live into their early 20s.

What health issues are Chihuahuas prone to?

Common issues include heart disease, low blood sugar, collapsing trachea, dental problems, knee caps slipping out of place and cancer as they get older.

What symptoms require urgent veterinary care?

Difficulty breathing, seizures, loss of consciousness, inability to walk, severe vomiting or diarrhea, profuse bleeding, crying in pain and other sudden dramatic changes require immediate emergency vet care.

How can I maximize my Chihuahua’s lifespan?

Annual vet exams, vaccinations, dental cleanings, flea/tick prevention, high-quality food, maintaining a healthy weight, joint supplements, regular grooming and keeping their environment at an appropriate temperature help maximize longevity.

What routine vet care is needed for older Chihuahuas?

Twice yearly senior wellness exams, bloodwork, dental cleanings under anesthesia, glaucoma screening and radiographs to screen for cancer, organ changes and arthritis are important for senior Chihuahuas over 10 years old.

What are signs my Chihuahua may be approaching the end of life?

Signs include extreme lethargy, incontinence, refusing food/water, difficulty breathing or walking, non-responsive to stimuli, seizures and crying/whining from pain. Consulting your vet can help assess quality of life.

What can I do if my Chihuahua has been diagnosed with a terminal illness?

Focus on keeping them comfortable through pain management, favorite foods, mobility aids and quality time with family. Hospice care or euthanasia are options when their quality of life declines past a certain point.


What age do most Chihuahuas die?

Most Chihuahuas die of old age between 15-20 years old if they receive proper veterinary care and nutrition. Some Chihuahuas can live into their early 20s. Premature death before 12 years old often occurs due to trauma, obesity, or untreated medical conditions.

Do Chihuahuas get sick easily?

Yes, Chihuahuas can get sick easily due to their small size. Their small airways make them prone to respiratory infections. Their small intestines make them prone to gastrointestinal issues. Their small bladders increase chances of UTIs. Their large, prominent eyes are prone to injury and infection.

What happens to Chihuahuas when they get old?

As Chihuahuas age, they become more prone to medical conditions like heart disease, arthritis, vision and hearing loss. They may suffer from incontinence, cognitive decline, weight loss, and loss of mobility. Extra patience, comfort and medical care are required for geriatric Chihuahuas. Keeping their environment warm, getting assistive harnesses, providing soft foods and managing pain help maintain quality of life. Lifting, stairs and long walks become difficult. Extra playtime, cuddling and human interaction keep older Chihuahuas happy in their golden years.

About Irfan Iqbal DVM

Hi, Dr irfan here, i have done Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from UVAS, Lahore which is one of the university of pakistan.

i have extensive experience in
1-Disease diagnosis
3-neutring, spaying,
5-urinary catheter passing, ear cropping, tail docking and other surgeries.
6- restraining, handling of pets especially dogs and cats
7- expert in management of feed and nutritional requirements
8- Dog training and basic obedience to owner.
9- teaching commands like sit, come, stop, as well as litre training and name recognizing

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