Know the Signs: 5 Most Common Health Issues in Chihuahuas

Written by: Arlene D.
| Published on May 23, 2023

The Chihuahua, with its petite size and vivacious personality, is a beloved companion for many. However, their small size doesn’t exempt them from health issues. Understanding the common health problems in this breed and knowing the signs to look out for can help ensure your Chihuahua leads a healthy, happy life. Here are the five most common health issues Chihuahuas face.

  1. Dental Problems

Due to their small mouths, Chihuahuas are prone to dental issues, including overcrowded teeth, tooth decay, and gum disease.

Signs Look Out For Bad breath, difficulty eating, excessive drooling, and pawing at the mouth are signs of dental issues.

Preventative Care: Regular dental check-ups and cleanings, along with daily tooth brushing, can help prevent dental problems. Provide dental chew toys and consider a diet specially designed for dental health.

  1. Patellar Luxation

This is a condition where the kneecap dislocates or moves out of its normal position. It’s particularly common in small dog breeds, including Chihuahuas.

Signs to Look Out For If your Chihuahua is limping, hopping, or appears to be in pain when moving, it could be a sign of patellar luxation.

Preventative Care: Maintain a healthy weight for your dog, as obesity can worsen the condition. Regular, gentle exercise can help keep joints healthy. Severe cases may require surgical treatment.

  1. Heart Disease

Chihuahuas are susceptible to heart problems, including heart murmurs and congestive heart failure.

Signs to Look Out For Coughing, difficulty breathing, decreased energy, and fainting can be signs of heart disease.

Preventative Care: Regular vet check-ups can help detect heart conditions early. A balanced diet, regular exercise, and avoiding exposure to second-hand smoke can also help keep your dog’s heart healthy.

  1. Hydrocephalus

Hydrocephalus, also known as ‘water on the brain,’ is a neurological condition more common in Chihuahuas than other breeds. It is characterized by an excessive accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain.

Signs to Look Out For A domed skull, frequent sleeping, difficulty with training, uncoordinated movement, and seizures can be indicative of hydrocephalus.

Preventative Care: If your dog has hydrocephalus, your vet will determine the best course of action, which could range from medications to surgery.

  1. Tracheal Collapse

This is a progressive disease characterized by the weakening and collapse of the trachea. It’s common in small breeds, including Chihuahuas.

Signs to Look Out For: Signs of a tracheal collapse include a goose-like cough, difficulty breathing, and bluish gums.

Preventative Care: Avoid using collars that can put pressure on your Chihuahua’s neck. Maintain a healthy weight for your dog, as obesity can exacerbate the condition. Treatments can include medications, cough suppressants, and, in severe cases, surgery.

Understanding these common health issues can help you spot problems early and seek appropriate treatment. Regular veterinary check-ups, a healthy diet, and plenty of love and care are essential in ensuring your Chihuahua leads a long and comfortable life. Remember, any changes in your dog’s behavior or health should be reported to your vet promptly. You know your pet better than anyone and your attentive care can make a world of difference in their wellbeing.

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