What Is The Chihuahua Lifespan? How Long Can They Live?

Many people love their Chihuahuas and want to spend as much time with them as possible. The lifespan of a dog is 10 to 13 years and depending on the type of dog, you might get a little more than this. I did some research on the lifespan of a Chihuahua and came across the following answer:

So what is the lifespan of a Chihuahua? How long can you expect to enjoy their company? Chihuahuas live for about 12 to 20 years, which is significantly longer than the lifespan of an average dog. And in some cases, Chihuahuas have been known to live up to 22 years.

I know the thought of spending two decades with your Chi has you jumping for joy. And you should be since these tiny and energetic dogs make for great pets. However, for them to live long, there are a few things you need to know, and we will cover them in this article.

Why Do Chihuahuas Live So Long?

Image from Best Bully Sticks

The exact reason why Chihuahuas live so long is unknown, but there is some speculation as to why this is the case. The secret to their longevity is believed to be their small size. Basically, since they grow at a slower pace, the progression of age-related diseases is slow as well.

As you know, dogs age at an accelerated pace compared to humans.

For example, a 10-year-old Chihuahua in human years is actually 53 years old, and a similarly-aged Great Dane is actually 66 years old. So if you consider how long Chihuahuas live in human years (12 to 20 years), their Chihuahua years come to 61 to 93 years.

As for what age a Chihuahua dies, it largely depends on how well you’re taking care of the little pooch. There are many factors that affect the lifespan of a Chihuahua. Here are the most important ones to look out for:

  • Overall Health: A healthy Chihuahua with great oral health, is vaccinated, neutered and goes for regular check-ups will live longer.
  • Diet: A well-balanced and nutritious diet will prolong the lifespan of your furry friend.
  • Weight: Maintaining a healthy weight for your canine buddy will prevent life-shortening conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
  • Levels of Activity: Activities, such as playing fetch or taking a walk, will not only make your Chihuahua happy, but they will also prolong the canine’s life.
  • Gender: Female Chihuahuas usually live one to two years longer than males.
  • Genetics: “Good genes” will prolong the lifespan of your Chihuahua.

What Health Problems Do Chihuahuas Have?

As your Chihuahua grows, health problems will start to rear their ugly head. Due to their small size, there are specific problems that you have to be aware of. So what are Chihuahuas prone to? Here are their most common health problems:

Dislocating Kneecap

Also known as a luxating patella, a dislocating kneecap is a common problem among Chihuahuas and other small dog breeds. Your pooch might limp or hang one foot in the air to avoid the pain. This health problem will greatly affect your Chi’s quality of life.

Collapsed Windpipe

When your Chihuahua’s tracheal (windpipe) collapses, your little doggie will have trouble breathing. The biggest sign of this problem is a honking cough. A collapsed windpipe is an emergency, requiring you to act immediately to prolong your furry friend’s lifespan.

Low Blood Sugar

Also known as hypoglycemia, low blood sugar can cause anything from your Chihuahua feeling weak and dizzy to shivering and shaking a lot to having fainting spells. You need to act quickly when you notice symptoms of hypoglycemia before it becomes diabetes.

Valve Disease

Chihuahuas and other small dog breeds are also prone to a particular heart disease known as valve disease. If left unchecked, it can lead to heart failure. Early detection and treatment is the key to extending the Chihuahua’s lifespan.


Image from Dog.com

Common during the cold season, you might find yourself asking: why is my Chihuahua shaking so bad? Their small size and high metabolism cause rapid heat loss in their body. Although this is not really a health problem, this is something that can lead to one if you don’t warm up your pup.

What Can I Give My Chihuahuas For Their Health Problems

When your Chihuahua is experiencing health problems, there is usually something you can do. The quicker you act, the more likely it is that you will save your pup’s life. And even when they develop chronic conditions like arthritis, you can still give them something to improve their quality of life.

Leg Brace

While severe dislocating kneecap will require surgery before it develops to arthritis, many Chi owners have found that a leg brace helps delay the process. A leg brace, such as the AGON Small Dog Leg Brace, will keep your Chihuahua’s kneecap (patella) in place. This significantly improves their quality of life.

Glucosamine Supplements

Supplements also help with conditions like luxating patella (dislocating knee). A good supplement is Doggie Dailies Glucosamine. This supplement contains all the minerals, vitamins and nutrients needed to keep your pup’s joints strong and healthy. And since they are soft chews, your Chihuahua will definitely love them.

A Trip To The Local Vet Or Animal Hospital

For conditions like collapsing windpipe and low blood sugar, you need to visit the local vet or animal hospital when you notice the symptoms. If the collapsing windpipe is severe, the dog will require surgery. As for low blood sugar, a change of diet is what usually does the trick.

When it comes to valve disease, your Chi needs to get on a treatment plan immediately once they have been diagnosed. The vet will prescribe various drugs to keep your Chihuahua healthy. However, none of them are cures, as this is a chronic and progressive disease.

Sweater Or Blanket

In the case of shivering, just put a dog sweater or throw a blanket on your furry friend to keep them warm.

How To Take Care Of Chihuahuas? Preventive Care For Chihuahuas

With the numerous health problems that your Chi can experience, it can be worrying. However, there are a number of things you can do to ensure your pup lives a long and healthy life.

Healthy Diet

Every dog requires a specialized, dog-specific diet to live healthily. Ollie has got you covered on this front. They make nutritious meals with human-grade ingredients for dogs using a profile based on the information you provide.

Ollie’s meals contain high-quality meats, fruits and veggies, and superfoods filled with omega-3s. Plus, the food has zero preservatives and artificial flavors. They deliver regularly to your doorstep so your Chi always has enough to eat while maintaining a healthy weight and lots of vibrant energy.

Veterinary Care

Your little four-legged friend should be taken to the veterinary for regular checkups and vaccinations. Vaccinations, in particular, are a good idea since they prevent your pup from getting sick. Your pup will be around people and other dogs, making it easy to catch something if unvaccinated.


A sedentary lifestyle is not good for your Chi, as this type of lifestyle is known for decreasing lifespans in both humans and pets. Little-to-no physical activity can harm your Chihuahua’s health, from causing obesity to compromising their immune system. Take your pup out for a daily walk for 20 to 30 minutes.

Oral Care

Oral care for Chihuahuas is crucial. Due to the small size of their mouths and the presence of many teeth, their mouth is overcrowded. This makes it hard for your dear Chi to clean their own mouth, making it easy for plaque to build up.

The end result? Tooth and gum disease will develop. To avoid this from happening, brush your Chihuahua’s teeth at least twice daily.

What Do Chihuahuas Usually Die From?

There are a number of things that can cut the life of your beloved Chihuahua short. I know that if we lived in a perfect world, you wouldn’t be on the lookout for signs that your Chihuahua is dying. This just makes it all the more important to make sure that they remain healthy and safe.

Heart Disease

One of the biggest killers of Chihuahuas is heart disease. This disease will appear in many Chihuahuas once they reach their advanced years – 14 years old or older. Heart disease can come in the form of heart failure, arrhythmia and heart valve problems.

Excessive Trauma Or Impact

Another big killer of these lovely pups is some form of excessive trauma or impact. If you don’t watch your pooch closely, they can get into fatal accidents. Someone can step on them, a car can run them over or they can fall or be dropped from a dangerous height.

Bacterial And Viral Infections

Bacterial and viral infections have also robbed many Chihuahua owners of their beloved pets. The most common ones (for all dogs) include rabies, parvovirus, distemper, sepsis and leptospirosis. Any of these can lead to the untimely departure of your furry friend, so don’t take them lightly.

Infections From Tooth And Gum Disease

Image from ChomChom Roller

Chihuahuas and other small dogs are extremely vulnerable to tooth and gum disease, most commonly the Periodontal diseaseWhile tooth and gum disease won’t kill them, if left unchecked, the resulting infections will. One of the biggest infections is pneumonia with its high death rate among dogs.

Can Chihuahuas Die From A Broken Heart? Dogs, including Chihuahuas, are extremely loyal and can feel intense grief when separated from their owners, especially due to death. But can they die from this? Yes. Such grief can be intense that the dog will stop eating and their immune system will become compromised due to stress, contributing to the dog’s death.

What Is The Longest Living Chihuahua? One Chi has earned the title of the oldest Chihuahua in human and canine history. The honor of the longest lifespan of a Chihuahua goes to Megabyte. This 20-year-old Chihuahua lived a long and happy life. Megabyte almost made it to 21 years, too – Megabyte died at 20 years 265 days.

How Long Do Teacup Chihuahuas Live? A Teacup Chihuahua is not some special type of breed; it is just a Chihuahua that is smaller than a regular-sized Chihuahua. With that said, you can expect a Teacup Chihuahua to have the same lifespan as any other dog of its breed. That means these mini Chihuahuas still live for about 12 to 20 years.

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Pete Decker