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How Long Do Chihuahuas Live? (Lifespan & Facts)

The Chihuahua is one of the world's tiniest dog breeds. Due to their small size and large personalities, they are one of the most popular and well-known dog breeds in the United States and around the world.

When committing to the lifelong companionship of a dog, it is crucial to be aware of the lifespan of the breed you intend to acquire. It is commonly accepted that smaller breeds have longer lifespans than larger breeds, but what is the exact lifespan of Chihuahuas?

We have examined not only their average lifetime but also the elements that influence it in "How Long Do Chihuahuas Live? (Lifespan & Facts)" by BestForPets (bestforpets.org).

What's the Average Lifespan of a Chihuahua?

A Chihuahua’s usual lifespan is 12 to 14 years, but they have been known to live longer. A Chihuahua survived 20 years and 265 days, making it one of the longest-lived dogs on record.

So, why do some Chihuahuas live far longer than others? Like with all living things, longevity is influenced by a variety of circumstances.

Why Do Some Chihuahuas Live Longer Than Others?


1. Nutrition

Diet and nutrition have a direct effect on the longevity of a Chihuahua. Chihuahuas should be fed a small-breed-specific, high-quality, well-balanced dog food.

You will want to eliminate additives, preservatives, and artificial flavors that are unnecessary in their dog products. The number and frequency of feedings should be determined by the animal’s size, age, and degree of activity.

According to studies conducted by the AVMA, it is strongly advised that you avoid overfeeding your dog food and treats, and that you never give your dog human foods such as table scraps.

This can result in obesity, toxicosis, and a host of other problems that can limit their lives. Your Chihuahua’s nutritional objectives must be discussed directly with your veterinarian.


2. Environment and Circumstances

Chihuahuas are quite sensitive to extreme temperatures and harsh weather, especially the cold. Chihuahuas should be kept as indoor pets and should be closely supervised when allowed outside in inclement weather. Never leave your dog unsupervised in a hot car, as this can swiftly result in death.

Environmental pollutants can cause major health problems and shorten a person’s lifespan. Exposure can occur by absorption or ingestion, thus it is preferable to minimize their access to chemicals and maintain a clean environment.

A Chihuahua can easily become traumatized. Their small stature makes them susceptible to being dropped, becoming stuck in furniture, falling from heights, and being struck by vehicles.

It is essential to keep their fragility in mind and protect your home and yard from any dangers. Putting them in a secure, fenced-in yard and preventing them from running loose or escaping the house will aid in the prevention of such incidents.


3. Size of the Enclosure/Living Quarters/House

Living in tight, unpleasant conditions can affect longevity. If your Chihuahua spends the majority of its time in a cage, it is likely to have high stress levels.

Stress alone can cause a variety of health problems. Their diminutive size makes them great pets for compact homes and apartments.


4. Size

The relationship between a dog’s size and its lifespan is well-known. Tiny dogs typically live significantly longer than their larger counterparts. To date, research has concluded that giant canines age faster than smaller dogs, causing them to die sooner. In this instance, Chihuahuas’ diminutive stature is an advantage.


5. Sex

Canine gender-related longevity has not been as well studied as in humans. It has been hypothesized that females may live slightly longer than males, however research comparing changed and unmodified canines provide the strongest evidence of increased lifespan. Spaying and neutering can prevent serious health problems, like as infections and certain malignancies, later in life.


6. Genes

The influence of genetics on growth, health, and longevity is substantial. Like with all breeds, Chihuahuas are susceptible to certain genetic health issues that might shorten their lifetime, such as:

  • Luxating Patella
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Tracheal Collapse
  • Dental Disease
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Obesity
  • Bladder and Kidney Stones
  • Heart Conditions
  • Eye Problems

7. Breeding History

Accredited breeders adhere to ethical standards and seek to prevent the transmission of hereditary health issues across generations. A reputable Chihuahua breeder will properly inspect their dogs’ health and offer health warranties.

Rescue Due to the prevalence of unethical breeding practices among purebred dogs, Chihuahuas and dogs from backyard breeders or puppy mills may be more susceptible to hereditary health concerns. This does not make them less deserving of a beautiful home and life.


8. Healthcare Standardized Physical Examinations

To protect their general health and wellbeing, Chihuahuas should have regular wellness checks with a veterinarian. Your veterinarian may recommend annual or semi-annual examinations for your pet. Seeing the veterinarian for a routine examination or to address any health concerns influences longevity.

  • Vaccinations

Vaccinations and booster shots are necessary to protect Chihuahuas from several potentially fatal diseases. Parvovirus, leptospirosis, kennel cough (Bordetella bronchiseptica), canine influenza, distemper, and rabies immunizations are available. It is essential to keep children current on these vaccines.

  • Parasite Prevention

In addition to being an annoying annoyance, parasites such as fleas can also cause health problems if not eradicated. Internal parasites such as heartworms and intestinal worms can have an even greater impact on the lifespan of a dog. It is essential to keep children informed about parasite avoidance.

  • Spaying/Neutering

Spayed and neutered Chihuahuas are more likely to live longer than their unaltered counterparts. Although there are dangers associated with surgery, they pale in comparison to the long-term health consequences of not having it performed.

Spaying and neutering aid in the prevention of infections and certain malignancies. Moreover, it assists with behavioral problems.

  • Dental Care

Chihuahuas are susceptible to dental disease, as are most tiny dog breeds. Their little mouths grow a great deal of bacteria, which leads to tartar development and dental disease if regular care is not taken. 

Untreated dental disease might result in severe health consequences. The key to maintaining your Chihuahua’s ideal oral health is prevention.

The 4 Life Stages of a Chihuahua


1. Puppy

The puppy stage begins at birth and typically lasts between 6 and 12 months. Due to their diminutive size, Chihuahuas mature more slowly than larger breeds, which mature more rapidly.

While the majority of puppies remain with their mothers for 8 to 12 weeks, after they are placed in their new homes, it is time for them to begin learning.

Teaching a dog at a young age is essential for producing a well-rounded pet. Keep in mind that this is a very entertaining and playful stage that might be harmful due to teething.


Adolescent

The adolescent stage will last until the age of 2 and begin between 6 and 12 months. Typically, they have reached their adult size at this point. Between 6 and 9 months, they will begin to develop sexually. This is often when hormone-related alterations in behavior begin to occur.

Discuss with your veterinarian the optimal time to spay or neuter your Chihuahua to prevent the undesirable habits associated with puberty.


Adult

Adulthood is attained between 18 months and 2 years of age, although full maturity is obtained by 1 year. At the adult stage, people have calmed down from adolescence and have become independent.


Senior 

Depending on your veterinarian’s statement, a Chihuahua is a senior between the ages of 7 and 10 years. Although Chihuahuas are longer-lived, they can be considered such for up to 10 years.

At this point, you will begin to observe graying around the muzzle, a decrease in their activity level, an increased demand for sleep, and the emergence of age-related health concerns.

How To Tell Your Chihuahua's Age

Unless you obtained your Chihuahua from a breeder or a someone with extensive knowledge of their history, you will need to estimate their age. Even if you have no idea when your dog was born, you can estimate its approximate age by observing its teeth, eyes, coat, and demeanor.

Despite the fact that each dog is unique, a senior can often be identified by graying around the muzzle and apparent eye issues. The teeth are the best indicator of age; here are some tips.

  • 8 Weeks of Age  At this age, your Chihuahua will have all of his or her baby teeth.
  • 7 Months of Age  All permanent teeth will have erupted by the age of 7 months and will seem white and clean.
  • 1 to 2 Years – By 1 to 2 years of age, teeth will get duller, and the rear teeth may begin to yellow.
  • 3 to 5 Years – By 3 to 5 years of age, tartar and symptoms of wear are likely to be present on all teeth.
  • 5 to 10 Years – If teeth have not been cleaned regularly during life, they will be much more worn and may even exhibit signs of dental illness between 5 and 10 years of age.
  • 10 to 15 Years – By the time a person reaches 10 to 15 years of age or older, their teeth will be worn and will exhibit signs of serious tartar buildup and possible dental disease. As dental problems are more prevalent in little dogs, some of their teeth may be missing.

Conclusion

How Long Do Chihuahuas Live?” by BestForPets (bestforpets.org) has concluded that the usual lifespan of a Chihuahua is 12 to 14 years, but they have been known to live up to 20 years.

Several factors impact a Chihuahua’s longevity. Unpredictable accidents and health problems can arise at any point during a Chihuahua’s life and may be beyond our control.

Owners must be aware of all the elements that can affect the longevity of their Chihuahua and do everything they can to give their dog the longest, happiest life possible.

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Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher

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