Chihuahua Health Issues

Friday, December 6, 2019 13:10:00 PM America/Los_Angeles

Since one of the dogs in our office had suffered a cardiac arrest, we decided to look into the potential Chihuahua health issues. We thought that we would make this post to increase awareness about the risks that your pet may have. Chihuahuas are highly desired since they are the smallest dog breed in the world, and they are a result of nature rather than selective breeding. In general, they can be a very healthy breed of dog, but they are still genetically susceptible to certain health issues. However, taking care of chihuahuas should be manageable if you educate yourself about these potential medical issues and how you may mitigate Chihuahua health issues.

Heart Disease































One of the most common Chihuahua health issues is heart disease, especially patent ductus arteriosus and mitral valve disease. There is not much an owner can do to prevent their genetic risk of heart failure other than making sure their dog does not become obese. A high-quality diet and regular exercise is always a good thing. Heartworm infections can also cause heart failure so preventative treatments should be given when taking care of chihuahuas.





Corneal Dystrophy

One Chihuahua health issue that is common is severe cases of corneal dystrophy. It is a slowly progressive disease where a clear film of abnormal material will accumulate onto the surface of the eye. Some dogs won't be bothered by it, but Chihuahuas are more prone to having their vision severely impaired. Your vet may want to treat this by using eye drops, antibiotics, or even laser treatment. This is a genetic condition so it sadly cannot be prevented.



Chihuahuas, and small dog breeds, in general, are prone to suffer from hypoglycemia. This is basically when blood sugar levels drop dangerously low and it will make your pup feel uneasy and possibly pass out. Sugar shock can occur if a glucose supply is cut off from the brain. When this happens, they feel lethargic, weak, anxious and can sometimes end up with a seizure. Your Chihuahua may need more frequent feedings than larger dogs so that there is a constant supply of glucose to prevent hypoglycemia. In the event of an emergency, give your dog simple sugars like ice cream, honey, or sugar water.

Joint Problems

Common Chihuahua health issues include bad shoulder joints, knee joints, and hip problems. It's estimated that over 20% of the Chihuahua population is affected by osteoarthritis. The implementation of glucosamine can decrease the progression of joint problems or arthritis. Making sure that your dog does not become overweight is also helpful as the extra weight will burden the joints when walking. Physical therapy sessions and swimming are another great treatment for taking care of chihuahuas with grave joint problems. If your Chihuahua already suffers from joint problems, you may want to make life as easy as possible for them to prevent pain. One way to do that is to use an indoor dog potty. That way, your Chihuahua will not have to strain themselves on outdoor terrain.


Due to the small skull size, one of the most common Chihuahua health issues is hydrocephalus. This is when there is a build up of cerebrospinal fluid around the brain. If your dog has an unusually small head, sluggishness, lack of coordination, or seizures, then it may be affected by this condition. It is possible for surgery to be performed in order to drain the fluid, but results may vary. Chihuahuas with mild cases can live long and healthy lives without treatment.  

Tracheal Collapse

Chihuahuas are a breed that is prone to having a Tracheal Collapse. This happens when the cartilage in the neck is weakened and causes the windpipe to narrow. You need to look out for dry hacking coughs, which caused by inflamed membranes. Struggling to breathe at moments, especially after activity, is another sign. Your vet will likely prescribe supplements that will aid in strengthening the cartilage in the neck. It is also recommended to not use a collar so it doesn't add additional stress to the neck. If it is severe enough, surgery may be performed. If your dog is overweight, then it will only make the situation worse.  

Dental Problems

Chihuahuas and other toy breeds may have severe dental problems due to their tiny mouths. Overcrowding of teeth is very common, which increases plaque, tartar, and bacteria to build up. Unkempt tooth decay issues may lead to serious infections as well. Something that may also occur in Chihuahuas is retained puppy teeth. When an enlarged adult tooth develops next to puppy teeth, this causes the smaller teeth to be stuck in place. The puppy teeth will need to be removed by the vet in order to prevent severe problems in the future.

Urinary Tract Infections

If you notice your Chihuahua breaking its house training, it may have a urinary tract infection. You should definitely take note if your dog's urine is pinkish, meaning that blood is present. Having a constant urgency to go to the bathroom is the primary sign of a UTI, so going to a vet to get the proper medication is necessary before the infection becomes serious. During the treatment, your dog may continue to have accidents since the treatment does not provide instant results. An indoor dog potty, such as the Bark Potty will definitely come in handy during the treatment since you won't want to be constantly taking your dog outside to pee!

Contagious Diseases

If your Chihuahua is still a puppy, you need to keep it up to date on its shots right away. Distemper and Parvo is a deadly disease that should be vaccinated against first. Later on, Leptospirosis is another deadly disease that should be vaccinated against. Leptospirosis, in particular, is most commonly spread through dogs sniffing or drinking the urine of other animals or dogs. If you have multiple dogs and one is infected by leptospirosis, it is best to keep them away and have them urinate in a separate area. Items like potty pads, a dog potty, or dog grass could come in handy to keep the contaminated urine contained in one spot.