symptoms and signs of a sick chihuahua: know when to see a veterinarian!

famous chihuahua editor chihuahua facts, chihuahua health concerns 444 Comments

chihuahua doctor

your chihuahua can not explain its symptoms, so it’s your responsibility to keep him or her healthy and to determine whether or not they need veterinary care.  chihuahuas tend to want to hide their illness, so it is up to you to check your chihuahua for abnormalities.

you know your chihuahua best.  you will notice subtle early warning signs that someone else might not.  if any of the following chihuahua health care symptoms or signs of illness exist, call your veterinarian immediately.  do not wait – your chihuahua must be examined!

indications of a “sick chihuahua” include:

  • lethargy
  • disorientation
  • weakness
  • weight loss
  • seizure
  • lack of appetite
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • unproductive retching, straining to urinate
  • bloody urine
  • difficulty or inability to walk
  • bleeding, pale mucous membranes
  • difficulty breathing and persistent cough

oh no, teaka the famous chihuahua has a boo boo!

it is also a good idea to learn simple health tips that could potentially save your chihuahua’s life in an emergency.  this is a must for any chihuahua owner.  the ultimate guide to taking care of your chihuahua contains helpful chihuahua care information as well as valuable information for new chihuahua buyers and breeders.

be prepared: questions your veterinarian may ask

your veterinarian may ask additional questions to help localize or diagnose the problem. it may help to be prepared to answer some of the following questions:

  • how long have you owned your chihuahua?
  • where did you get your chihuahua (adoption center, breeder, previous stray)?
  • what other type of pets do you have?
  • what is the age of your chihuahua?
  • has your chihuahua experienced any previous illnesses?
  • is your chihuahua currently under treatment for an illness or disease?
  • what preventative medications is your chihuahua currently taking?
  • does your chihuahua receive consistent flea treatment?
  • are any other pets ill?
  • has he/she been vaccinated? if so, when? which vaccines?
  • have there been any recent pet acquisitions?
  • have there been any recent activities such as boarding, grooming, trip to the park?
  • is a majority of your chihuahua’s time spent indoors or outdoors?
  • have there been any recent changes in diet or eating habits?
  • what brand of food, how much and how frequently does your chihuahua eat?
  • what type of table scraps are offered and how frequently?
  • what type of treats are offered and how frequently?
  • how much water does your chihuahua typically drink per day?
  • have there been any recent changes in water consumption?
  • have you noticed any coughing or sneezing?
  • have you noticed any lumps or bumps on your chihuahua?
  • is your chihuahua urinating normally?
  • Is your dog having normal bowel movements?
  • when is the last time he/she had a bowel movement?
  • have you noticed any recent weight loss or weight gain?

after answering some general questions, more specific questions need to be answered. a brief cursory exam of your chihuahua at home can help you determine the answers. these questions are also commonly asked when chihuahua owners are seeking help over the phone.

know when to take your chihuahua to see a veterinarian!

be prepared to answer the following questions, depending on the problem with your chihuahua:

regarding the eyes

  • have you noticed an increase or decrease in tear production?
  • do the eyes appear cloudy or red?
  • have you noticed any discharge coming from the eyes?
  • do the eyes appear bloodshot?
  • are the pupils the same size in both eyes?
  • have you noticed your chihuahua rubbing or pawing at the eyes?
  • is your chihuahua squinting?
  • do the eyes appear to be sunken or excessively protruding?

regarding the ears

  • do you notice any swelling or discharge from the ears?
  • are the ears drooping when they normally stand erect?
  • are the ears red and inflamed?
  • do you notice any odor to the ears?
  • is your chihuahua rubbing or pawing at the ears?
  • have you noticed a lot of head shaking?
  • have you noticed any pain or crying when you rub or scratch your chihuahua’s ears?

regarding the nose

  • have you noticed any congestion, sneezing or coughing?
  • have you noticed any blood coming from the nose?
  • have you noticed any nasal discharge?

regarding the mouth

  • have you noticed any swelling of the lips or tongue?
  • have you noticed any bleeding from the mouth?
  • what color are the gums – tissue just above the teeth?

looking inside the mouth

  • are there any foreign objects such as bones or sticks stuck on the roof of the mouth or around the teeth?
  • is your chihuahua able to open and close the mouth normally?
  • is there any pain involved in opening or closing the mouth?
  • have you noticed any excessive drooling or foaming at the mouth?
  • is your chihuahua able swallow food normally?

regarding the chest

  • is your chihuahua experiencing any difficulty breathing?
  • have you noticed excessive panting?
  • is there any pain when the chest area is petted?
  • have you noticed any recent coughing?
  • is the heartbeat steady and consistent?
  • what is the heart rate?

place your hand or your ear on the left side of your chihuahua’s chest, just behind the elbow. you should be able to feel or hear the heartbeat. count how many beats the heart pumps in one minute.

regarding the abdomen/stomach area

  • has your chihuahua been having any diarrhea or vomiting?
  • is your chihuahua able to eat and drink normally?
  • does the abdomen/stomach area appear swollen or distended?
  • does your chihuahua appear to be in pain when the stomach area is petted?
  • is your chihuahua known to chew on non-food items such as clothing, towels, rocks, or other items?

regarding the urinary and reproductive systems

  • have you noticed any difference in urinating?
  • does your chihuahua seem to strain to urinate or cry in pain?
  • does your chihuahua repeatedly try to urinate with no urine produced?
  • is there any blood in the urine?
  • how frequently does your chihuahua urinate?
  • is your female chihuahua spayed?
  • has your female ever had puppies? if so, at what age?
  • if your female is not spayed, when was her last heat cycle and was she bred?
  • do you notice any discharge from the vaginal area?
  • is your male chihuahua neutered? if so, at what age?
  • do you notice any discharge from the penis?
  • if your chihuahua is not neutered, do you notice any swelling of the testicles?
  • have you noticed your chihuahua excessively licking or grooming the genital area?

regarding the musculoskeletal system – bones and joints

  • have you noticed any limping?
  • are any legs or joints swollen?
  • has your chihuahua been excessively licking at one area of his/her legs?
  • does your chihuahua show signs of pain when walking?
  • is your chihuahua able to walk normally?
  • does your chihuahua walk on his/her knuckles?
  • does your chihuahua drag any legs when walking?
  • does your chihuahua seem to be in pain when petting him or her?

by supplying the answers these questions, your veterinarian will be in a much better position to help your chihuahua. additional tests may be necessary to find out what the problem is, but the answers to the above questions can greatly narrow the area of concern.

chihuahua with veterinarian

please note that famous chihuahua is providing this information to chihuahua owners as a guide so you know when to take your chihuahua to see your veterinarian.

the editor of famous chihuahua would like to encourage chihuahua owners to follow this advice as their rule of thumb as to when to take their chihuahua to the vet:

if at any time your chihuahua is showing signs or symptoms of illness and discomfort, don’t wait, just go the vet!

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Comments 444

  1. Courtney

    I, just as many of you, found this site while searching for explanations and advice regarding recent behavioral changes in my 1year old chihuahua. I greatly appreciate the insight and experiences shared from chi owners that have detailed knowledge and sincere compassion for their fur-babies. That being said, I think it is quite pathetic when I unfortunately stumble upon a comment filled with contempt, criticism, and irrelevant speculation. Obviously, self-righteous and sympathetic pet owner are traits that don’t mesh well when possessed by classless and inappropriate individuals. So, I direct this to ‘NETTE’ who couldn’t help herself by commenting in extremely poor taste about the financial responsibility required of being a pet owner, and her discontent when people share that they are unable to afford vet costs. You, ‘NETTE’, have absolutely no business presuming you have the slightest clue about the financial constraints of a concerned pet owner while seeking resources and doing their due-diligence to inquire further on sites like this. People endure unforeseen hardships, the economy could be unstable, lay-offs and industry down-turn, personal loss of a family member, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera……The impact of life’s uncontrollable circumstances usually is quantified by financial loss. I bet it is a lovely place where these things are farm from concious thought or consideration as you insinuate flagrant and selfish is all that a person who can’t afford the vet visit amounts to…… Try advocating for positive initiatives rather than attempting to exploit a request for assistance by placing it on your lower level and swinging an insult at it.

  2. JoAnn Sadulski

    my 10 year old female CHIhuahua has been fine til 3 days ago. she just wants to lay in her bed, rest & sleep. no pain, no diarhea nor vomiting. just doesn’t want to be bothered. She won’t eat nor drink her water. She licks her paws and scratches her ears. Now and then shakes her head and snorts. Could her body be shutting down? i do NOT want to take her to a vet, they will either do $$$$ worth of things to her that may no help, and don’t want to put her down. I just want her to go on her own being not in any pain.

  3. JoAnn Sadulski

    our 10 year old chihuahua Weenie is 9 lbs and such a sweetheart. up until 2 days ago, she was normal, suddenly she just wants to sleep, won’t eat nor drink water. she is NOT in pain. she licks her paws a lot, scratches her ears, urinates and BM normal, but right back into her doggie bed. her nose is wet, she has NO SIGNS of illness, just looks at me, and does NOT want to be bothered. Could she be slowly dying, body parts shutt ing down?

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  5. Amber C. Johnson

    Nette: Your inconsiderate, insensitive, downright mean comments are not only uncalled for, they’re worthless to any loving pet owner here seeking a solution for their ailing 4-legged family member Have you no compassion? Do things remain absolutely static in your life to the point where you are unable to comprehend that, for most of us, things can and do change in our lives–things over which we have no control? How dare you insult people you know nothing about. Judgemental a bit?

    Veterinarians these days seem to be more concerned about making money than genuinely caring about the animal. It didn’t used to be that way. There were more animal doctors who put the animal first. Dr. Jeff Young is one of that dying breed. You are unlikely to be familiar with him..,

    So, for the sake of all the good people here, get off your high horse, open that narrow little mind, and cease speaking like an idiot about things you know so little.

    Thank you.

  6. Darlene Rangel

    I have a 12 year old chihuahua that just started drooling, his tongue hangs out on the left side. He can’t stand for very long and has to lay down. His tail now stays down between his legs. I just recently lost one chihuahua to old age and she was almost 14. Does this mean I’m about to lose another baby.

  7. Denise Barwick

    I got my 4 year old chihuahua from a friend sat. She’s use to her dog food and they fed her from the table. We haven’t been feeding her from the table. She haunt been eating her dog food, now she’s sick. White foam when she throws up she pooped good then it was very loose. What can I do?

  8. lanae

    My. sister dog 2years old she’s dragging her butt on the carpet also she also have a itch at a certain spot she had a flea bath a couple days ago

  9. Elizabeth

    my chihuahua is about 7 years but for the past 2 days hes not moving he looks weak not eating or drinking i forced a little water but im worried please advise

  10. Nette

    I see so many folks here who describe their dogs having some really scary symptoms that seem to me to be screaming at them, “Get to the VET, NOW!!!” But then I see those words I dread seeing…”I can’t afford a vet…”

    Those words often come with “I can’t stand to see my child suffer!” And they often immediately follow a description of the ways in which the dog is in pain and, well…suffering.

    I wish that people would consider vet visits as a mandatory expense, and if they can’t afford basic care for a suffering dog, perhaps they should pass on having a pet until they can. At the very least, study up on the kind of dog you want and see if there are common medical issues and if the dog would suffer when ill or injured. Specialty breeds these days can cause all sorts of problems, including some requiring puppy delivery via C-section at the Vet’s office.

  11. Karen Renken

    My 9 year old Chihuahua has been acting a little lethargic for the past 6 days. He won’t jump on the couch, bed, etc. like he normally does. He doesn’t seem to be in any pain and there are no sore spots on his body. He is eating, pooping, peeing normally but is just not acting like himself. What could this be?

  12. Barbara Tatum

    My 3 year old chihuahua (male) is looking into the air occasionally like he is watching a bug…but he never snaps at it. Sometimes he leans way back…maybe there’s an itch he can’t reach, (and his body is itchy) or his eye or ears itch. He does paw at his eye once in awhile. I do remember my foot accidentally hitting him while I was getting out of bed one night, but he didn’t yelp. No excess watering, no redness or swelling and only paws at it once in a while. I am on a fixed income, but if I should take him to a vet…I will do anything I have to for my baby.

  13. jessica

    My almost3 year old Chihuahuas head keeps shaking back and forth like uncontrollably doesn’t respond when I’m calling his name does anybody know what could be wrong with him. he was fine just few minutes ago .

  14. Delores. Bartel

    Mimi started out by being clingy, next she had diarrhea, still had appetite for her food. I saw she had weakness in her legs, like they looked rubbery, wouldn’t cooperate. I kept her hydrated with a little [1/2 tsp] per cup of water. What could her problem be?

  15. Natiya Barnes-Scott

    My morkie chihuahua is having a hard time when she gets really excited. It’s as though she can’t breath properly and is trying to force out air and sounds like deep heaving. She has also started showing signs of her right eye bothering her. She paws at it every now and then and it has started to produce little clear discharge. I am worried because she dry heaves almost every time she gets excited or runs alot. I have heard of chi’s having trachea problems so could that be the problem?

  16. jennifer

    my dog is old coughs and now wont hold his tail up …not has happy acting as normal …what this mean?

  17. DAN CADE

    My6mo old. Chihuahua was fine a hr ago .now he is very stiff hold ing he’s neck straight up shaken hard pretty harm .but he is very thirsty can enyone tell me something please

  18. Alia Fleming

    My Chihuahua has been throwing up for the past two days, and it worries me because of the fact that he normally is okay. The people I got him from didn’t say much but for the past month or so he has had serious coughing fits. I never thought anything of it because my two Labradors also sneeze a lot. Buddy is only 1 yr old and has a hotspot on the soft spot of his head. Yesterday I put some K9 Advantix flea medicine on him cause he ran away and is now covered. Could that be an issue?

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