Health Issues, Symptoms and Treatment

nadia chihuahua facts, chihuahua health concerns 86 Comments

A Healthy Chihuahua Puppy

To ensure the health and well-being of your chihuahua, you need to be aware of possible health concerns, especially during the first 16 weeks of their life.

The following health information is not intended to diagnose, treat, or replace the care of a veterinarian. It is also not intended to dissuade you from obtaining a Chihuahua. After about 6 months of age, Chihuahuas are generally healthy little dogs which live a long lifespan.


Even though Chihuahuas need to be socialized at an early age, it is best to avoid taking your pet to the park, on walks in the neighborhood, or around other unknown pets until it has been fully vaccinated and has a fully developed immune system (usually 16 weeks of age). This is because until your Chihuahua has had its full set of vaccinations, its immune system may not be properly equipped to handle diseases with which it could come in contact. Your puppy could easily get worms, parvovirus, or coccidia from contaminated feces or ground. Unfortunately, these diseases can live in feces and on the ground for many days and can be easily transmitted to a puppy. Puppies are very curious of their new surroundings and will go smelling around the ground and trees where another contaminated dog or cat may have left their markings.

Symptoms: Symptoms could vary widely, depending on which disease your puppy has come in contact with. Parvovirus often causes either depression, vomiting, diarrhea and/or cardiac problems (Myocarditis). Myocarditis usually results in the puppy stopping nursing, crying out, and gasping for breath. Coccidiosis can cause diarrhea, dehydration, appetite loss, and anemia.

Treatment: Seek veterinary treatment immediately if your puppy has come in contact with any of these diseases and has not been fully vaccinated, as they can cause death in your puppy. Of course, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Avoid contact with other animals and unknown places prior to full vaccination of your puppy. Have those people who handle the puppy wash their hands before handling. Since parvovirus can also be carried on the bottom of your shoes, it is a good idea to keep shoes that you wear outdoors from contacting any area where the puppy sleeps/plays.

Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia)

Because Chihuahuas have such a small fat reserve around their liver, they are prone to low blood sugar. Although this can occur at any time, it’s especially important to watch your new puppy due to his small size.

Symptoms: Lethargy, lack of coordination (stumbling, falling, staggering), followed by coma and death if not treated.

Treatment: Although you should always consult your veterinarian for the proper treatment of your particular Chihuahua, you can keep some sugar handy (e.g. Maple Syrup, pure honey) to boost your little friend’s blood sugar level stays when it starts dropping. The Vitacal supplement is essential for any pet owner’s medicine chest. It is specially formulated to give your pet the nutrition it needs and fast. It has been known to bring a puppy suffering from low blood sugar immediately out of the beginning stages of a coma. It also has high potency vitamins, minerals, fats, and carbohydrates which your puppy needs. Because it is high in B vitamins, Vitacal can actually stimulate your pet to start eating right again. We recommend it be taken home or purchased immediately after taking home a Chihuahua weighing less than a pound and a half. It can very easily save his life. It costs less than $5.00, much less than an emergency trip to the vet. VitaCal is especially beneficial for pets that are stressed (due to a change in environment or a new home) or recovering from illness or injury. It is also specially formulated to be gentle on sensitive digestive tracts, and can also be used for kittens. Each ounce provides 90 kiloCalories of usable energy. VitaCal can be ordered from Drs. Foster & Smith, R.C. Steel, or Becky’s Chihuahuas. Or you may be able to obtain it through your veterinarian.

For severe cases of low blood sugar, your veterinarian may need to give an IV of a sugar solution. As a precaution, you can always make sure that when you’re going to be away for a while that your little friend eats before you go and that you leave him food for when you’re gone. Don’t feed him candy, as this can cause the blood sugar level to surge and then drop drastically.

Slipped Stifle (Luxating Patella)

Slipping knee joints (also referred to as luxating patellas, slipped stifles) are a common problem in small breeds. In this condition, the kneecap slips out of its groove and moves against the thighbone (femur) instead of along its natural groove. Although this has been found to be a heritable condition, small, active breeds are likely to aggravate it through the course of their natural activities (jumping up and down) around taller objects such as furniture.

Symptoms: Rear leg lameness, shifting from one leg to another, hopping and/or skipping, and an inability to fully extend the leg, and can result in arthritis over time. Some breeders recommend doing one of the following when buying a puppy to determine if it may have a predisposition to a slipped stifle: (1) See if young puppy’s back legs cross at the ankles when lying on its back. (2) See if young puppy sits up straight, rather than leaning, when sitting on his haunches.

Treatment: See a good veterinary surgeon who can diagnose the severity of the problem and recommend the correct treatment. Treatment usually involves correcting the problem surgically, where the type of surgery is determined by the severity of the condition. If treated early enough, the condition can be repaired such that the pet can lead a normal, healthy life.

Stress (common)

Because Chihuahuas are such a small breed, stress (such as diet changes, moving to a new home, etc) can affect them physically.

Symptoms: Coughing, Diarrhea, Hypoglycemia, Infection

Treatment: Always check first with your veterinarian to rule out a more serious reason for these symptoms, but coughing, diarrhea, and low blood sugar are fairly common Chihuahua responses to stress. Many of these symptoms are temporary and will go away once the Chihuahua gets used to their new environment or situation. Of course, you need to treat low blood sugar as described above. Because stress can cause the immune system to become depressed, this may make the puppy susceptible to bacterial and/or viral infections. Your veterinarian will best be able to diagnose this and prescribe antibiotics in the case of a bacterial infection.


Because Chihuahuas are so small and because vaccine manufacturers recommend giving the same amount of vaccine to a Chihuahua as to a Saint Bernard, Chihuahuas may be more susceptible to vaccine related problems.

Possible Symptoms: Lethargy, depression, and possibly death

Treatment: Vaccines are a very controversial subject and one you should discuss with your veterinarian. The information presented here is just an opinion and not to be used as a substitute for proper veterinary advice. Many Chihuahua breeders were losing puppies a few days after giving vaccines (especially the tiny ones) and once they started giving half doses of vaccines (the killed vaccines rather than the modified live ones), and they quit losing their puppies. Logically, you would wonder: “Why give the same dose of a vaccine to a 90 pound dog that you would to a 3 pound dog?” Even within the breeding community, there is dissension about which vaccines to give. One breeder has quit giving the Leptospirosis Vaccine to their puppies based upon research at Kansas State University that suggests that there are more reactions to this vaccine than to others, and that Leptospirosis is pretty rare. Another breeder has not had any problems with this particular vaccine, although it is not given to their pups until 4 months of age. In the final analysis, the decision when and how much to vaccinate is left to the owner’s and their veterinarian’s discretion.

Follow Famous Chihuahua on Istagram
share this on social media!
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Email

Comments 86

  1. Amber

    Please help! My 10 week old chihuahua was smashe in the door 2 days ago. She weighs 1.7 lbs. she was bleeding through her nose I rushed her to the Vet which is thankfully 1 min away from my house. The vet gave her Vit K epinephrine and said she looks fine as long as the bleeding stops. The bleeding did stop he watched her for a few hours and told us to come get her. Today she hasn’t moved much. I know she is experienced a lot of trauma for her little tiny body. I called the vet today and said she hasn’t moved much and only had water out of a syringe. He said give her koro syrup and it may give her energy. Did nothing. She is now laying there shaking which she only does when she is scared . It’s almost 1 am and I feel like loading the kids up and bringing her to a 24 hour vet. I am not sure how to care for a tiny pup. The dr assured me she will be fine she just needs rest. If anyone has experienced this please help me. A part of me thinks she will die and another part is telling me she is ok. I’m scared what should I look for that would signal death soon?? This is my first ever little pup and experience with injury to an animal

  2. Santiago

    kimberly fitzpatrick: All I could get from your commentary is -me me me, completely egotistical. I did not came in to a house hold with silver spoons, and I have had to work hard in order to get a pet, that entailed being responsible about it, meaning having the responsibility to pay for a VET. If you can not have a vet then don’t have a pet, think about them, and not only about your egotistical self. Learn to be responsible, which entails making sacrifices such as forgoing the option of a pet, no matter how much you want one, doing the opposite is EVIL, BAD , WRONMG, INHUMANE and complete nonsense.

  3. kimberly fitzpatrick

    I just read a comment where someone made the statement that you should not have a pet if you could not afford a vet ,It must be nice to never have financial problems , and to be so judgemental as to how one must live ,I have noticed that most people that are like this have been born with a silver spoon,and are narsistic assholes !Everyone deserves the love and company of a loving pet!!!!

  4. Suzi

    My chihuahua mix delivered 7 puppies about a week ago and since she has had diarrhea with a strong odor,she doesn’t seem to be keeping a great amount of weight but she is keeping some and her appetite Is good & kids can be draining so I didn’t think much of it,she seems sluggish but again I was too with 4 kids and she had 7.At first I thought this may be normal after a large delivery.Should I help her with feedings? could that make a difference?I’m getting more concerned because something in the way she looks at me now tells me something may be seriously wrong with her or It could just be me freaking out so immediately I called my vet and first available appointment is Tuesday. So If they didn’t think it was an urgent matter then I should feel okay with that but even Vets can be wrong. Can anybody please tell me if something is seriously wrong?? I plan to take her IN TO her Vet in the morning instead of waiting because I am having panic attacks now and can’t wait until Tuesday and can only hope that they will see her. If not then it’s to the E.R so please any advice would/could help. Does this require a visit to the E.R.?? Speaking on my behalf only of course,mine or anybody else’s finances and common sense shouldn’t be something that’s focused/ commented on. I believe the purpose for the ” comment ” section is to get/give advice from anybody that’s had a similar experience and depending on that advice they can better determine whether this calls for( a very costly ) E.R visit when It could of waited until morning. It’s not whether we can afford It,It’s can we avoid It? It doesn’t make anybody irresponsible or negligent because they asked a question or two and would prefer to save the money from having to go to the E.R because I’m/their the ones freaking out. I have a very painful disability as well and If I can avoid making It even more painful I would love that someone would/ could help. Yes there are some that don’t have common sense so just give them some( If you can). Be helpful not hateful!

  5. Joan

    If you don’t have the common sense, or the money, to take your pet to a vet, you SHOULD NOT have a pet. Too many pets go to bad, uncaring, irresponsible homes, often having first come from bad, uncaring, irresponsible breeders.

  6. Ricardo

    I have a month old chihuahua how doesn’t move but is still alive.I don’t know what to do help fast I’m worried.

  7. Rihana

    I have a teacup chihuahua he’s pure blood and one day he’s ok the next day he stopped eating he hasn’t gotten his vaccinations yet but he’s drinking normally had or has diharrea but he wont eat. He hasnt eaten in 3 days im really worried please help fast

  8. Michael

    We have a 5 month old pure bread Apple Head Chihuahua. Our Vet game him a blood test and thinks our Louie has Liver Shunts? They want to do another type of blood test to confirm. Do you have any advice? Louie acts normal, no change in him at all.
    Thank you in advance.

  9. Jazmine

    I have a small chihuahua which is about five months old now and has weak back legs. I took her to the vet and they prescribed her steroids, muscle relaxers, and pain meds. Is there anything else I could possibly do to help her get back on her feet. ):

  10. Reach

    My teacup chihuahua that was 8 weeks but i think she was 6 weeks some cab guy gave me ger abd i had to pay for her the last second he was at the door. I had her for only 5 days her nake was snow flake she was a white chihuahua. 2 days later she stopped eating and drinking but the thing is i think she was sick wheb i got her because she had bad diarrea. I didnt have any money until the 11th she gotten worse and i woke up on a sun night at 9 and she started whining and gasping for air for everytime i held her she would stop and she couldnt pee or poop i cried so hard because i was hoping she could live until monday sp i could take ger to the vet because i got paid she didnt make it she died at 4:15 last week and i keep crying because she made me happy. Whatever she had its cruel and she didnt deserve it and it stold my happiness away

  11. Post
  12. Deb

    My dog is about 16 yrs old and she is having a hard time walking breathing, we took her out to go to the bathroom and she hardly could walk and didn’t go..she isn’t responding very well! Just wondering if you might know what is wrong with her? And she has some knots on her belly!

  13. kimberly

    Hi my puppy is only 4 weeks old her name is aries and their mothers not here shes having breathing problems its sounds funny. She has diarrhea and is barely active unlike her sister who is active and doing great. I cant aford a vet.. please please help me, im scared and dont want anything bad to happen.

  14. chip's mom

    I have a 2 year old male Chihuahua/rat terrier that occasionally gets diarrhea…he doesn’t act sick and does have regular bowel movements but right after get’s blood tinged diarrhea…I don’t know what to do…can I give him peptobismol or anything? it’s a love hate thing…I love him beyond belief and hate that he is messing in front of the door even though I let him out several times a day when I am home…I finally put puppy pads down but I worry about him…thank God for tile floors!! help!!

  15. kermin campos

    hey i have a female 3 mouth chipin she was weak and falling on her side not walking straight just plan not her shes a very active dog ….shes a bit better now put when i pick her up she gag like she about to throw up ….please help i dont know whats going on with her shes my baby ….

  16. shaughana

    hi i have a 10 month old chihuahua/ jack russell mix he always is hyper but the last two days he has been laying around yesterday he had some runny poop if hes sitting he kinda bobbles side to side. what could this be? thanks

  17. Hugosproblem

    My chihuahua is about 2 1/2 years old and all morning he has been lying on the side of the bed with me there (and even when I left,) and has been panickingly looking from side to side, turning his head nonstop, drooling or letting out some kind of liquid that is getting all over the side of the bed…I don’t know what’s wrong this is so unusual for him…probably the weirdest most concerning behavior he has ever displayed. Can anyone help with some good advice or knowledge of what is happening? He is also shaking. Thank you.

  18. Sheri

    My husband just brought home the tiniest Chihuahua I have ever seen. The people claimed she was 7 weeks old but she barely has teeth. Feeding baby food and some wet dog food. Thank you for the info about the vitacal. I will be buying that tomorrow. she was very sick from the heat and lack of food/water when she arrived at our home–the people who were selling puppies had them out on a hot day without food or water. she is doing better now. thanks for a great website!

  19. Danni Franklin

    My dog gets fleas easily and hard to rid of.he has since developed a severe skin condition that wont go away its red bumpy and itches andhe hs lost a lot of fur on his hind..what can I do he is miserable

  20. Rozy

    Please tell me wht meds do I need for my 8wk old applehead ,tiny, chihuahua , she just pooped worms ! Yuk ! Scared me , I’ve never seen anything like that ! I worried abt her !

  21. Amanda

    Hey, im amanda. I got my little teacup chihuahua on the 12th which was on a thursday… I woke up this morning and her and my other teacup was throwin up. I got worried and brought them to the vet as soon as i could. The on i got on the 12th her name is chica…the boy is chico. Chica hasnt been wanting to drink or eat. Chico eats everything n he doesnt have diarhia and hasnt thrown up anymore… Chica, wont eat her food so i fed her some hamburgar meat from mcdonalds…she loved it. But still wont drink anything. Shes the one im worried about. I have her on IV fluids and watch her all through the night…i havent seen her poop yet she hasnt pooped today…it confuses me bc she’ll be down & sometimes she’ll be playful. What is wrong with her????? Plzz…help me and save her life!!! Any advice besides the vet bc ive already been there!!! Thank u.

  22. mayra

    my chihuahua is almost 5yrs old and i WAS REAding about the kennel cough and it sounds like she has that it started when she was about 2yrs I thought it was asthma couse it looks like she cant breath, what can I do to help her? 🙁

  23. cassandra

    you can take your dog or animal to the local university and the students who are taking the vet courses they will only charge you for medicnes

  24. Holly

    Christina, maybe changing your dogs food might help. Maybe she us allergic or sensitive to something in that brand of food. Oh, & just take her to another vet. If your vet can’t figure it out, try a new vet for a second opinion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *