Common Chihuahua Health Problems


For the most part, Chihuahuas are a healthy breed, and your Chihuahua will live to be anywhere from 15 to 22 years of age. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t any health concerns that you must be aware of. As with any breed of dog, there are certain health risks associated with Chihuahuas, as well as genetic disorders that you should be aware of.

Hydrocephalus is one genetic disorder that Chihuahuas are subject to. This is essentially a condition where there is too much fluid on the brain, causing the head to be rather large. It is a fatal condition. Chihuahuas are also born with an incomplete skull, which creates a soft spot right on top of their heads. Getting hit in this spot could kill the dog. Some Chihuahua’s skulls will close over time, while others will never fully close.

Hypoglycemia is another health condition that you should be aware of, as it can lead to coma or death. Hypoglycemia is essentially low blood sugar. These dogs have an incredibly high metabolism, and if they are not fed properly – or often enough – they can suffer from low blood sugar.

Chihuahuas have protruding eyes, and this combined with the fact that they are so close to the ground leads to eye problems. These eye problems and infections are usually caused by foreign objects in the eye. Any sign of redness in the eyes should be thoroughly investigated, and veterinary care should be sought to avoid eye infections.

Obesity is another health concern. Proper nutrition is essential to the Chihuahua’s good health. Check with your veterinarian to ensure that you are not over feeding your Chihuahua, or feeding him foods that will lead to obesity.

Many new Chihuahua owners wonder about the trembling or shivering that they see in their Chihuahuas. This is seldom due to any health problems. In fact, in most cases, it means that the Chihuahua is full of energy that he needs to expend, or that he is simply cold.

When a Chihuahua is giving birth, professional health care should be sought. This is very important because these dogs are so small that losing the mother or the pups is not uncommon. Chihuahuas should never give birth unassisted.

Make absolutely sure that you and your Chihuahua visit your veterinarian at least twice a year for a checkup. This is the best way to prevent many health problems, and to detect other health problems in the early stages, so that successful treatment can take place. With proper care, your Chihuahua will live a long and healthy life.

50 Comments on "Common Chihuahua Health Problems"

  1. faye faircloth | September 5, 2009 at 2:18 pm |

    my chihuahua has dry white spots on her hip area. what might this be

  2. I’d suggest you take your dog to your vet as soon as possible. I’m totally unqualified to give you any kind of diagnosis. I doubt any vet would either without seeing the spots for him/herself.

  3. I adopted a chihuahua from a rescue group a couple of years ago. She goes totally crazy whenever you take her to the Vet or try to do anything to her, give anything by mouth or trim her nails. You simply cannot brush her teeth or trim her nails. She always gets hysterical and tries to bite whenever I do this. Just trying to hold her still without hurting her is almost impossible. Any suggestions? The Vet didnt have that much success either. She freaks out with a muzzle also.

  4. I have a Black tea cup Chihuahua, and he is about 4 years old. Recently he has started to to tense up, fall over, spin in circles, ect. it looks like sezurse. What do you think this is and how can I stop it?

  5. I have three Chihuahuas all very different in just about every way. I have the oldest who is also the tallest .She is 15 and went blind in one eye due to age. Then I have 2 boys one is shorthaired, about 6lbs.and very agressive, he’s 9 and the other boy is 4 yrs. Old, medium height and weighs about 15 lbs. And long haired usually very mellow. But lately they have all three been having territory wars. Even my girl hikes her leg and pees. Any advice on how I might could get this to stop. Short of getting them new homes? HELP!

  6. Katie Nicodemus | May 25, 2012 at 7:36 am |

    This is a very difficult situation indeed. My two chihuahuas have a hard time with their nails. I find it best when I swaddle them (like babies, lol) and bounce them with each step as I walk around back and forth, this distracts them while i clip each nail individually. You see, if I stay still they are more prone to getting upset. Keep moving… and talking gently, BE PATIENT, sometimes you will get most of the nails but will end up having to take a break, that’s ok finish when u can as they calm down. Hope this helps!!!

  7. Katie Nicodemus | May 25, 2012 at 7:41 am |

    Seek veterinary help immediately!!! I went through the very same thing with my first chihuahua, it is epilepsy! And the symptoms you are describing are classic and early onset. Get help now or it WILL progress!

  8. my chihuhahua has really red eyes and is always itching them constantly to where the fur is off around his eye. what is the cause of this????

  9. I just needed to say I love my Chihuahua. she is my 1st one. I think people have nail problems cuz you have to start when they are puppies. i can cut her nails bath her and look into her mouth i am bless. But I am worried about her diet. Can you give me some advice?

  10. I have a female and she will be 4 in January. I noticed some cloudiness in her right eye. No signs of irritation or redness prior to this. I’m hesitant to believe she is already losing vision in one eye. Any other ailments that could cause this?

  11. I put a life jacket on mine when I cut his nails! It imobilizes him & calms him a little.

  12. My 4 year old black and white chihuahua hates when I try to cut her nails how can I stop this

  13. I have found a little lump maybe bout the size of a minstrel? On my little chihuahua rib cage he is 6months old. It doesn’t seem to bother him? It’s soft and can move a little should I be worried?

  14. well if it gets bigger it could be a fluid pouch wich usally have to be poped at the vetnarian wich they dont have to be rushed if it starts to get swollen around the area and red you should cal your nearest vet and they will give you advise hopefully dont be worried if it dosent get bigger or dosent do any of the above !!!!! hope it stayes the same good luck….

  15. well i have the same black and white,what you need to do is get her comfterble and and always have treats ready for at the end of the treatment always even if your chi didnt do well at least he knows for the next time you treat him he will expect a treat,then start with the toes first to get them over with they are very tikalish (sorry i dont know how to spell that) umm. then you finish that you start on the top you chi will most lickaley be mor comfertable on their backs…

  16. you usally cant he probably has servier elapsy seziers so the best thing tol do is go to the vet asap and then talk about options the most lickaley choice that the vet will say is to put down your chihuahua cause your chi has a servier disese and most lickaley hurts your chi and thats why he runs in circles he could have symptoms like losing his memory for a short term period and agresiveness especially if you have children and it costs alot of $ if you do decide to keep him alive,even though it hurts you to give them up it hurts them worst to keep them alive the vets cant fix this due to this disese is in the brain and would usally kill your chihuahua to have any prosedur done cause they are fragile so its a hurtfull choise best thing to do is ask your vet good luck and sorry for the pain poor thing….

  17. Kerri Harrison | February 3, 2013 at 8:58 am |

    I am very worried our little 2 year old boy Cisco , I think has just had a siezure, he had his left front poor off the ground and was sort of turning to the right but if he went to put his paw down he nearly fell has anyone else had thgis sort of problem with their Chihuahua I am so scarred please help

  18. Macy Starkey | March 5, 2013 at 3:40 pm |

    @Cheyan mine too! I believe it’s from allergies. I just started him on doggie benadryl (you suposed to give half a pill for every 15 lbs of dog, my chi is 4 lbs so I give him a quarter of one :p ) I also have started cleaning his eyes as often as possible with a mild sea salt solution. I’ve also been trying to keep dust and such as low as possible. It’s help but it’s not going away. I’m concerned because not only has he lost fur hell scratch till he bloodys his poor little eyes :(.

  19. Kerri and Macy,
    If your dog has another suspected seizure, keep him/her comfortable and safe from hurting himself. Time the seizure and video if possible and then get to a vet immediately. Give a small amount of local raw honey, rubbed into the gum area on the way. The doc will be able to determine if it was a grand mal seizure, etc. from the info you’ve gathered. It really needs to be properly diagnosed.

    If any dog has suspected allergies, first thing to consider is their food and start with abolishing grains from their diet. Environment is important, but food is often the worst culprit.

  20. I too thought my chi was having a seizure, but
    I looked into medical conditions associated with
    chi’s and found they tend to be hyperclycemic.
    The symptoms can be similiar, it scared me,
    she would not move her back legs or neck and her eyes bugged out like she was scared to death. My medical book recommended giving them sugar or syrup, so I put syrup on my finger and she licked it off, in a few minutes she was fine. So now I know, and make sure she always has food available, they burn energy and have to eat several times durring the day, they are grazers. In fact she freaks out when the bowl is empty and runs up my chest and licks me anxiously and will not be pushed away. I then know her food bowl must be empty.

  21. my chihuahua snorts all the time when he’s excited or agitated. it usually lasts sometimes for more or less than a minute. is it asthma? is it normal for this king of breed?

  22. i just got a black and white 4 month old chi and he isnt quite potty trained but that isnt much of a problem because he is doing pretty well at it but my problem is leash breaking him he hates it he wants to constently be carried and he barley ever leaves my side which then leads to my next concern which is him becoming over protective of me if you have any advise please

  23. paula french | May 4, 2013 at 3:06 pm |

    mine does exactly the same. he was treated at vets last week for kennel cough but antibiotics have made no difference what so ever. x

  24. paula french | May 4, 2013 at 3:14 pm |

    gwen i have checked other websites and come to a one describing our chi,s symptoms as reverse sneezing. i feel slightly calmer after reading the article. im hopeless with computers otherwise i would post it up. but please check it out and it may calm your nerves as it has mine. x

  25. My chihuahua my best friend is more then 20 years old he is in the hospital since last wed with kidney probleme i cried everyday . What did i do wong the age or table food he likes that he cant eat they tried everything what your suggestion?

  26. What the F**** is wrong with you! if your dog is having seizures you take him to the vet not post on a forum you C*** people like you shouldn’t own a dog.

  27. People like you should not be allowed to communicate until you are taught proper language skills – I found you very offensive!!

  28. the food you feed is very important. I don’t know what you are feeding now, but I use Diamond small breed puppy for my chihuahuas. There is no corn in it (corn is what goes bad and causes the food recalls), has high protein, and salmon oil. It is best to not give much people food as they won’t eat their kibble.

  29. It sounds like a seizure, but it could be caused by many things. Some dogs react like this to a bee sting and Chihuahuas are bad about catching bees in their mouths or stepping on them–and many are allergic. It could be epilepsy, a heart problem, or he might have bumped his head. The vet may give him a shot of steriods depending on the issue. Don’t despair–take him to a vet who knows about chihuahaus.

  30. This is normal for chihauhaus. Hook your finger over the muzzle, and gently pull the muzzle down toward the chest andrub the throat so he will swallow. That should take care of it.

  31. Your chihuahua has had a very long life. You should resign yourself to making your friend happy and comfortable in his final days. He may be around for a while yet, but you should try to keep your distress under control and comfort him as much as possible. At this late date, changing his diet and taking what he is used to eating would only confuse him and make him unhappy. Should you get another chihuahua someday, try getting the diet, etc. down early on for a happy healthy friend.

  32. Mine is a rescue and almost four. He is doing the same thing and we can’t figure out why.

  33. my Chihuahua has a cough I think it has something to do with the throght .

  34. My chi did NOT like his leash … I got him a harness and he did great the vet told me he may have not liked the pulling on his neck…. Now he loves to go on walks…paded ones work better if you can pay the extra ….

  35. Jamie Lewis | August 28, 2013 at 2:58 am |

    My chihuahua is doing this also and you need to take you pup to the vet immediately. Sounds like seizure activity and the underlying cause needs to be identified and treated

  36. I will never understand why anyone goes on the internet when their dog has a health issue instead of going to the vet. WTF?? Get your dog to the vet if his eyes are red all the time, his skin is crusty, he’s having seizures, he’s got a lump, he’s got the poops or whatever else is wrong. After you take your dog to the vet, then you can go play on the internet.

  37. I’m a first time chihuahua owner found a lot of this info useful thanks..only have had my little guy a few days..made an app to get him checked and vaccines..I think he came from a home that didn’t treat him well..he seems to be to skinny and he hates men… my bf loves animals and animals usually love him..but this little guy growls every time my bf trys to show him love:( I dont think his last home did anything for this little pooch… worried about him

  38. I have a Chihuahua and mine is in the vets seeking medical treatment as we speak he may be losing his sight of his legs and my not be able to walk again because he has that brain deses and trust me its one off the hardest thing in going thew so please anyone think there dogs might have it don’t sit back till its to late because its reali hard hes part of my family and i don’t want to see or hear any other chuahaha go threw it

  39. Roberto Rosario | January 14, 2014 at 1:39 am |

    I recently got a female chihuahua puppy and we found a ball that is located on the lower side of her belly towards the side close to the genital area. It feels kind of soft but it pops out in a scary way. Do anybody knows what this could be. My older male chihuahua had the same but it appeard later when he was older and we thaught it had to do with his testicles. If anybody knows please let me know. Thankful in advance.

  40. Mine chews on his nails but only on the right side! Is that something I should stop him from doing?? He is only about 3 lbs if that. Should I be worried about his weight??

  41. This sounds similar to what happened to my chihuahua, every now and then his legs tense up and he can’t walk i was in total shock when i saw this and rushed him to the emergency vets by the time i got him to the vets it had stopped but i explained what happened and he suggested a blood test to check for neurological problems which came back clear she also pressed along his spine and stretched his legs (it was a bit like like yoga if that makes sense) she indicated to me that it could have been trapped nerve, it has happened a few times since but whenever it does i do what she showed me and it stops since king this for a few years it hasn’t happened for a long time now fingers crossed what ever it was has corrected itself. i would try asking the vet to check for trapped nerves

  42. My dog has wetness under his eyes is this normal

  43. deseree cook | January 28, 2014 at 7:47 pm |

    My 2 year old chiuahua has a problem with his toenails, they are ugly and brittle and break off causing him great pain. My vet started him on vitamin e and Omega 3 acid but it does not seem to be helping. any suggestions for foos that might help w.this apparent nutritional defficiency?

  44. Chihuahuas should never be muzzled!

  45. My 9 yr old female chihuahua is losing her hair, round patches the size of a silver dollar, couple places on her back and side.. She is still eating well and does not seem sick. I also have another male chi but he has no symptoms of hair loss. What could be causing this?

  46. I just adopted a 3 yr old male chi he’s really friendly but he sleeps all the time. Could that be due to stress? He also has clear mucus coming out of his nose and he sneezes sometimes. Is that just allergies?

  47. Hi q.v. Got a black Chihuahua and his tongue always sticks out at the left side is this normal

  48. Don’t take this the wrong way, but don’t you think that you have health concerns about your dog you should see a vet ? If my own dog were suffering from any of the above that would be my first port of call. Forums are all very well and I’m sure that those who give out advice do so with the best of intentions but how many are actually qualified to give that advice ? Maybe some speak from experience, but the issue I have is that some may THINK they are giving advice when, in fact they are wrong.

  49. My dog has a red/ pink eye with a small to large pink bump it the corner of his right eye. This started happening 3 days ago. It leaves after a day or a couple hours then comes back after being taken outside to use the bathroom. This hasn’t happened before and it is our first time having a Chihuahua. And we don’t have enough money to pay for regular visits to the vet. Can you please explain what is wrong with him. If he has pink eye, allergies, or some type of eye problem and give me some advice to help it. I really appreciate it thank you

  50. just adopted a chihuahua 2-3 yrs old? male from the county shelter. They dont give you any information about the dog’s health. I saw that the dog lifts he’s hind leg.I ask questions about that and was told thats common for chihuahua. Now that I pay to have the dog neuter and brought it home over the last 4 days he snorts,coughs like he’s clearing he’s throat.
    So what is that about? I go to the internet to read about this and I’m mad because the shelter give me a dog with problems…medical problems!

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